While this is ‘the first study of its kind’ study by this university (lol 😀 ), this is ancient wisdom for my land, my culture.
Unfortunately, Britishers injected Cotton greed in forefarmers. Same greed based farming continued. Cash-crops and monocropping sucked land for last 70 years.
Unless soil is rich by microbes, (which is not possible in land treated by chemicals), nutrients in our food will deplete year by year. We already see consequences. From iron to calcium to B12.
Crop rotation is a time tested agricultural strategy that has been in use for centuries. Once can find its reference in many ancient scriptures.During the Green Revolution, this traditional practice of crop rotation was replaced by the practice of monoculture or single crop cultivation where in chemical inputs are provided to the soil for supplementing the nutrient loss. However the drawbacks of monoculture farming have become apparent today, notably from the perspective of sustainable agriculture and the risk of catastrophic crop failure.
Crop rotation boosts soil microbes, benefits plant growth
Researchers tested five combinations of three crops – soy, wheat, and corn – and two cover crops – red clover and rye. They also planted a crop of only corn, while minimizing the effects of other management practices such as variable fertilizer and pesticide inputs that interfere with the crop rotation effect. Researchers observed a 33 percent increase in soil carbon by increasing rotational diversity. An indication of soil organic matter, the carbon content of soil is a major factor in its overall health and improves the physical properties of soil. Researchers also found that as crop diversity increased, so did total nitrogen concentrations, a sign of soil fertility.
“The data we present are the first to support the hypothesis that increasing rotational diversity fundamentally changes microbial community structure and activity, with positive effects on aggregate formation and soil organic matter accrual,” Tiemann said. “These findings provide further support for the use of rotational diversity as a viable management practice for promoting agroecosystem sustainability.”
A byproduct of increased pressure on soils due to agricultural intensification is a negative impact on microbial diversity and function. This is a problem worldwide and can lessen soil’s ability to perform important ecosystem functions. Results may include threats to long-term food security, increases in greenhouse gas emission, and a reduction in water quality.