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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Crop Choices and Rotation Principles

Authors
item Baumhardt, Roland
item Anderson, Randal

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Monograph Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 26, 2003
Publication Date: August 15, 2006
Citation: Baumhardt, R.L., Anderson, R.L. 2006. Crop choices and rotation principles. In: Peterson, G.A., Unger, P.W., Payne, W.A., editors. Dryland Agriculture. American Society of Agronomy Monograph Series No.23. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy. p. 113-139.

Interpretive Summary: In this chapter, we discuss various crop adaptations, crop rotation sequences, and rotation benefits. Best crop choices for growth under water stressed dryland conditions are compared based on each crop's unique adaptation strategy. Various cultural practices used in dryland production in semiarid regions, common crop sequences, and crops planted in annual rotation or with intervening fallow (idle) periods are described. The principal benefit of dryland crop rotations is to conserve precipitation as soil water as shown in several examples of cropping sequences. That is, we illustrate crop rotation mechanics for conserving soil and water, while maintaining productivity. The impact of altering the crop rotation sequence on production intensity is contrasted with production risk. We describe the effects of various crop rotation benefits, such as, N2 fixation and contrast them with the associated cropping hazards, such as, competition for water that are unique to dryland production.

Technical Abstract: In this chapter, we describe and contrast various crop adaptations that render possibly a best crop choice for growth under water stressed dryland conditions based on each crops unique adaptation strategy. Cultural practices used with dryland production in semiarid regions commonly vary the sequence and types of crops planted in annual rotation or with intervening fallow (idle) periods. Crop rotations, therefore, are principally used in dryland production to conserve precipitation as soil water. We describe various cropping sequences as examples to illustrate crop rotation mechanics for conserving soil and water, while maintaining productivity. The impact, of changing crops and the production sequence used in various rotations, illustrates common practices to increase potential crop production intensity and concurrently control increased production risk. While water conservation is a critical concern under dryland conditions, several other rotation benefits, e.g., N2 fixation, ar described, discussed, and contrasted for the various crop rotations introduced.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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