Submitted to: Agricultural Sciences
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2011
Publication Date: April 27, 2012
Citation: Bruns, H.A. 2012. Concepts in crop rotations. In: G. Aflapui (ed). Agricultural Sciences. InTech Publications. Rijeka, Croatia. pp. 26-48. Interpretive Summary: An in-depth literature review was completed that looked at crop rotations beginning with some of the known early history from the Middle Ages on crop production. Crop production as practiced in Colonial America and up to the Civil War is included. Comparisons of crop rotations vs. continuous cropping are made and their implications on yield, pest control, and soil and water conservation. Specific discussions regarding crop rotations are then made about the unique problems associated with rice production and climate change, corn-soybean rotations, forage crops, summer fallow, organic farming, biofuels, and conservation tillage.
Technical Abstract: Crop rotations have been a part of civilization since the Middle Ages. With colonization of what would become the United States came new crops of tobacco, cotton, and corn, the first two of which would play significant roles in both the economic beginnings and social fabric of the new country, how they were important in western expansion, the country’s Civil War and its eventual growth into a major food, feed, and fiber exporter. Rotating crops helps to control pests, helps maintain plant nutrient levels, reduces soil erosion, conserves water and results in higher yields. This literature review closely examines some of the history of crop rotations, the comparison of mono-cultured crops vs. crop rotation, the unique problems of rice production and climate change issues, the corn-soybean rotation as practiced in the United States, rotations of forage crops and particularly pasture renovations, summer fallow for semi-arid regions, organic farming and issues surrounding crop rotations, biofuels and their effect on grain production and the lignocellulosic crops for ethanol production, and finally conservation tillage and how crop rotation is used in those systems.