Submitted to: Dekker Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2002
Publication Date: February 27, 2004
Citation: Karlen, D.L. 2004. Rain-fed maize-soybean rotations of North America. Dekker Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. p. 358-362. Technical Abstract: The dominant land use throughout the U.S. Corn and Soybean Belt evolved into a two-year maize-soybean rotation during the last half of the 20th century. This change occurred primarily because of the public and private research and development efforts devoted to making soybean a truly "miracle crop" and towards the genetic improvement of maize hybrids. However, it also coincided with major changes in the livestock industry and the decreased demand for oats and alfalfa. This contribution to the encyclopedia of plant and crop science briefly reviews the soil, plant, weed, and insect management practices used to enhance the maize-soybean rotations. Economic, environmental, and social effects associated with the rapid expansion and domination of maize-soybean rotations are also discussed. The section concludes by asking if this rotation is really sustainable and if not what might be needed to encourage longer and more diverse crop rotations throughout North America.