It is the spatial-spectral arrangement of crops, as well as the management of soil, water, including vegetation, that is used to maximize biomass/agronomic yield per unit area, time, as well as input. Cropping systems are divided into three categories: annual, perennial, and annual perennial. Soil quality refers to the inherent characteristics of soil that influence biomass productivity as well as the ability of the soil to moderate the environment. It refers to the soil’s ability to execute certain activities that are of relevance to people. Three parts of soil quality (e.g., physical, chemical, and biological) are controlled by inherent soil properties, some of which may be adjusted by management. Health and well-being, chemical as well as biological components, are determined by inherent soil qualities. Soil quality as well as soil resilience, are two properties that are connected yet distinct from one another. High soil quality is associated with resilient soils, which would have the potential to reestablish their quality after a disturbance. The converse is true for low soil quality.
The advantages of crop rotation are undeniable, but in order to be competitive in today’s global commodities markets, farm companies have been forced to specialize in the production of usually two crops (rarely three), and many have chosen to specialize in a single crop or closely related crops, including such various market classes of wheat and rice, to maintain their competitiveness. It has become more clear that the benefits of specialization, such as employing the very same planter, harvester, as well as marketing infrastructure for various crops, outweigh the dangers associated with placing “all of your eggs in one basket.” The more applications for primary commodities sources such as maize and soybeans (for example, biofuels), combined with the shrinking land base engaged in agricultural uses, the further intensively these crops would be grown and the more fields they can share with constant or near-continuous monocultures will indeed be accessible.
When we plant cover crops in both of our various agricultural rotations, we reap several advantages from doing so, including supplying habitat for beneficial creatures. A few examples of beneficial creatures include weed seed predators as well as pollinators, to mention a few things. They can assist in keeping some herbivore pests under control. Generalized integrated pest management (IPM) is our goal at our site, and we want to avoid using limited herbicides such as atrazine wherever possible.
Canola is cultivated in both cycles to supply fuel for just a 100% vegetable oil-driven tractor as well as meal as just a protein source again for dairy cows, as well as cover for the cows during the winter months. Both rotations include canola, but the sequence in which it is planted is different, allowing us to determine whichever rotation sequence is the most effective for incorporating canola into the dairy crop rotation.