Crop rotation is an important consideration in a no-till or conventional tillage rotation. The most common rotation we use on planted acres is a corn/soybean rotation.
Good for the Land, Good for the Farmer
We can produce crops with fewer inputs when we use rotation. Planting corn-after-corn continuously requires increased use of fertilizers. Plus, corn residue causes seedling emergence problems over time.
Corn planted after soybeans will cost less than continuous corn by decreasing fertilizer and insecticide costs. Because of the narrow profit margins in crop production, these yield increases and reduced production costs affect profitability.
We like to plant an occasional wheat rotation in a corn/soybean rotation. Wheat increases organic matter, aids in weed control and increases stored moisture available for the following crop. No-tilling wheat into soybean stubble also provides a disease-free seedling environment, but wheat planted behind corn can be prone to Head Scab disease.
Reduced-Tillage and Crop Rotation
A large percentage of acres we farm are in a no-till/minimum-till cropping system. Crop rotations play an important role in the success of most crop-production systems, but especially in conservation-tillage ones.
No-till/minimum-till crop production is especially advantageous in difficult soil types. The timeliness and reduced-labor benefits of a minimum-tillage system combined with yield advantages and reduced inputs from a good crop rotation significantly increases profits associated with crop production.
Making these crop rotations work effectively takes planning and initial investments in machinery. We consider crop rotation an essential part of a successful reduced-tillage cropping system.