Crop Rotation


Current biology : CB, Volume 32, 10 January 2022

The aim of this profile is to highlight the impact of George Washington Carver’s contributions to modern plant science and to celebrate his achievements as a pioneering interdisciplinary researcher. By discussing his work, in light of recent discoveries in legume symbioses and soil nutrition, the goal is to reveal his foresight and relevance, inspire new generations from diverse backgrounds and contribute to the decolonisation of the curriculum in higher education.
Agroecosystems make up a significant portion of terrestrial ecosystems and receive a disproportionally high amount of terrestrial nitrogen inputs from fertilizer, leading to nitrogen loss and associated environmental problems. Integrated crop livestock systems, such as pasture-integrated crop rotations, may be more environmentally sustainable however the long-term effects of this management practice on soil microorganisms and nitrogen transformations are not well understood.
A grand challenge facing humanity is how to produce food for a growing population in the face of a changing climate and environmental degradation. Although empirical evidence remains sparse, management strategies that increase environmental sustainability, such as increasing agroecosystem diversity through crop rotations, may also increase resilience to weather extremes without sacrificing yields.
The no-tillage system combining winter cover crops and crop rotation may increase the efficiency use of soil P and phosphate fertilizer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of three decades of different soil management systems and winter cover crops on the fractions of P in a clayey Oxisol of Paraná State, Brazil. The bi-factorial experiment with three replicates was established in 1986. The main plots consisted of seven winter cover crops. In the subplots, two tillage systems were used: no-tillage and conventional tillage.
Rising demand for renewable resources has increased silage maize (Zea mays L.)production characterized by intensive soil management, high fertilizer and pesticide inputs as well as simplified crop rotations. Advantages of renewable biomass production may thus be cancelled out by adverse environmental effects. Perennial crops, like cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.), are said to benefit arthropods. Substituting silage maize could hence increase biodiversity and foster ecosystem services.