Organic Farming: Benefits and Importance of Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation should be a priceless Instrument in the Hands of Organic Farmers. Rather than thinking of how to switch from Artificial Fertilizers to Organic Fertilizers, or how to prevent pest and diseases without violating the concept of Organic Farming; Crop Rotation simply prescribes a Technique.
What is crop rotation?
A major aspect of crop rotation is the compulsory intrusion of Legume Plants because of their Nitrogen fixing capabilities. Legumes plants could either be Plants intended to feed live stocks or human food crops.
Crop Rotation is an Agricultural practice whereby different types of plant crops are cultivated on a single piece of Land in sequential series. Crop rotation can be said to be the Hybrid of Symbiosis and Commensalism because even though majority of the participating crops are known to introduce specific Characters that are advantageous to other Crops, there are some crops that simply benefit from the process without bringing anything to the Table.
Crop rotation can be an interchange between crops that bears their food above the ground and those that stores theirs below ground level (Tubers). An example of this is a crop rotation that is dedicated to two seasons of planting two different types of Tubers, and another two seasons of cultivating vegetables and Legumes. This is a typical example of interchanging heavy feeders with light feeders. The Farmer could plant Potatoes the first season, Carrot the second season, Cow-pea the third season, Spinach the fourth season, and return to cultivating Potatoes the fifth season. Season in this case is a planting period and may derail from geographical Season.
Video: The importance of crop rotation
Advantages of crop rotation in organic farms
Crop Rotation simply simplifies organic farming. It caters for the important aspect of organic Farms and Gardens in a way that the compliance with the Rules associated with this type of farming becomes an addictive Habit. And this brings a whole lot of Advantages as presented below.
1. Fertilizer - The most important aspect of crop rotation is the introduction of Legumes. The root nodules of Legumes contain Nitrogen fixing Bacteria (Nitrobacter) that converts Atmospheric Nitrogen to usable soluble soil Nitrogen.
2. Pesticide - The contineous Interchange between Plants of different types helps to distabilise pest and diseases in terms of change in Habitat, source of food, and other factors.
3. Disinfectant - Crops like Allium (Onions) are known for their disinfectant properties. Substituting Allium for the place of Tuber Crops during crop rotation, could help to sterilize the soil of Diseases. A farmer can cultivate Allium the first season, Potatoes the second season, Brassicas the third season, Cowpea the forth season, and start the fifth season with the Onion.
4. Cost effective - Crop rotation removes the cost associated with disease prevention and pest control.
5. Flexible - Crop rotation give farmers the opportunity to explore different types of Crop. It takes away the fatigue that might result from continuous planting of one type of Crop.
6. Crop Rotation protects the Environment by stabilising the immediate Ecosystem. It helps to discourage the introduction of foreign materials (Organic and Inorganic) to the immediate Environment.
7. Crop Rotation is Secure and Safe. It takes away future liabilities that might be the consequence of farming Activities.
Crop rotation in developing Countries
Crop rotation goes beyond Organic farming to a way to ensure food security amidst a growing population with Cities encroaching into Lands that should be used to cultivate Crops. Crops that are mostly consumed in this area can also be organised into a viable sequence. A typical example could be: Spinach, Melon, Maize, Tomatoes, and then Spinach. Cassava, coco-yam, Yam, Sorghum, and other crops could also be substituted for healthy and good yield. Again, farmers can also be encourage by economical nature of Crop Rotation.
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