Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2007
Publication Date: 6/5/2007
Citation: Hanson, J.D., Liebig, M.A., Merrill, S.D., Tanaka, D.L., Krupinsky, J.M., Stott, D.E. 2007. Dynamic cropping systems: increasing adaptability amid an uncertain future. Agronomy Journal 99:939-943. Interpretive Summary: Future trends in population growth, energy use, and climate change will challenge agriculturists to develop novel production systems that are highly productive and environmentally sound. Furthermore, future agricultural production systems must possess an inherent capacity to adapt to change in order to be sustainable. Adoption of dynamic cropping systems would be expected to result in more sustainable crop production systems over time. The inherent adaptability ascribed to this crop sequencing approach allows producers to take full advantage of environmental and market conditions that would otherwise be limiting under less flexible sequencing approaches. Furthermore, given the significant challenges facing agriculture in the future, flexible cropping systems will be necessary to adapt to increasingly uncertain conditions. Until long-term evaluations of dynamic cropping systems are conducted, there will be no way of determining if the purported benefits of this crop sequencing approach can be realized.
Technical Abstract: Future trends in population growth, energy use, and climate change will challenge agriculturists to develop novel production systems that are highly productive and environmentally sound. Furthermore, future agricultural production systems must possess an inherent capacity to adapt to change in order to be sustainable. Given this context, adoption of dynamic cropping systems is proposed to meet multiple agronomic and environmental objectives through the enhancement of management adaptability to externalities. Dynamic cropping systems are inherently complex, possessing larger crop portfolios and greater crop diversity and sequencing flexibility as compared to monoculture and fixed-sequence cropping systems. Greater crop diversity and sequencing flexibility within dynamic cropping systems may result in multiple benefits relative to other types of cropping systems. Potential benefits include reduced weed and disease infestations, greater nutrient- and precipitation-use efficiency, decreased requirements of exogenous inputs, and lower production risk. Because of multiple interactions among management components in space and time, dynamic cropping systems will likely demand greater management intensity than monoculture and fixed-sequence cropping systems. Long-term evaluations of dynamic cropping systems are needed to determine if this approach managing crop production systems is more sustainable.