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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Benefits of Crop Sequencing

Author
item Anderson, Randal

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 26, 2004
Publication Date: January 26, 2004
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2004. Benefits of crop sequencing. Proceedings: No-Till on the Plains Alliance Winter Meeting, January 26-28, 2004, Salina, Kansas. pp. 9-17.

Interpretive Summary: Producers can accrue a natural benefit in improving yield by appropriate sequencing of crops in rotations. In some sequences, yield has been increased almost 50%. Because producers are actively seeking to add more crops to their rotations, we summarized yield trends among corn, soybean, sorghum, and winter wheat as affected by crop sequence, with the goal of helping producers plan crop rotations. The yield benefit with crop sequence is enhanced by longer rotations and more crop diversity. Also, with some crops, the yield benefit persists for 2 years. The sequence of crops can affect crop growth efficiency diferently. Some crops are more efficient with resource use in diverse rotations whereas other crops increase yield in rotations by consuming more resources. Corn especially appears to be favorable for improving growth efficiency of following crops. For example corn improves water-use-efficiency (WUE) of winter wheat 30 to 45% compared to proso millet as a preceding crop. Corn similarly improves WUE of soybeans. Improved WUE will help producers in semiarid regions in adjusting to drought. Crop diversity and no-till are transforming production practices in the semiarid Central Great Plains. Potential yields of some crops have been more than doubled; this trend reflects the impact of appropriate crop seuqencing as well as no-till and nutrient management.

Technical Abstract: Producers of the Great Plains are seeking to diversity their crop rotations. Therefore, they are asking for guidelines with sequencing crops to improve yield. This paper summarizes yield trends among corn, soybean, sorghum, and winter wheat as affected by crop sequence, with the goal of helping producers to sequence crops within rotations. Trends in the Great Plains indicate that with favorable sequences, grain yield may increase 15 to 20%, with yield further improved by longer rotations and more crop diversity. With some crops, such as soybean and wheat, the rotation effect persists for 2 years. Yet, crops respond differently to the rotation effect. Some crops are more efficient with resource use whereas other crops increase yield by consuming more resources. Corn especially is favorable for improving growth efficiency of following crops. For example, corn improves water-use-efficiency (WUE) of winter wheat 30 to 45% compared to proso millet as a preceding crop. Corn also improves WUE of soybeans. This trend is especially helpful in the semiarid areas of the Great Plains, where we have noted a surprising impact of crop diversity and no-till on crop yield. Potential yields of winter wheat and proso millet have more than doubled, even with the same cultivars. The doubling of potential yields reflects numerous factors such as non-till and nutrient management, but crop sequencing also is key component.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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