Enhancing Field Productivity With The Help Of Crop Rotation

Photographer: Colin Watts

What is a crop rotation? It is an agricultural practice involving growing different crops systematically in a given area over a certain period. It is one of the most ancient practices in agriculture. The first civilizations of the Middle East applied it to keep the soil fertile. 

Farmers use this sustainable method to improve soil fertility. It also enables growers to deal with the main threats to the crop: diseases and harmful insects. Increasing the natural stability of the soil and changing plants also helps to reduce the consumption of pesticides, which can pose a threat to the environment. Furthermore, with the help of this practice, the depletion of certain nutrients can be prevented and the balance maintained. Moreover, the effectiveness of this agricultural practice is increasing thanks to different modern technological solutions, including the classification of crops using satellite technology


Crop Rotation Pros

This sustainable practice has many benefits. It helps to increase fertility and enhance soil health, which are crucial steps to better yields. The development of healthy plants in the fields depends a lot on the structure of the soil, as it affects how the roots will expand in the ground and how they will receive water, nutrients and air. The poor structure of the earth causes plants to fail to develop healthy roots. Subsequently, this can lead to erosion and crop loss. Growing crops with different root systems can help to solve this problem and prevent adverse effects.

Crop rotation maintains the water-retaining function of the soil. It is essential to ensure rapid and complete absorption of water. This natural ability enables plants to absorb some of the incoming fluid instantly. Some remain deeper for absorption by the root system during periods of drought, when water may not be enough. Thus, this practice saves water by reducing the need for irrigation. Soil acts like a sponge to prevent flooding, erosion, and nutrient leaching.

Alternating plants helps to interrupt the life cycle of pests and their habitat. It can help to avoid infecting plants with the same pathogens year after year. Infection usually occurs during a specific season, so farmers can choose a crop rotation chart to plant a host crop when the risk of infestation is low. This practice reduces the risk of infection and the consumption of pesticides to reduce the negative environmental impact.


Types Of Crop Rotation

There are several types of plant rotation systems. The growers can select the most suitable one depending on their needs. Traditionally, it assumes that other crops will be grown in the same fields in the established sequence for several years.

A three-field method application includes dividing the field into three sections between which farmers rotate crops yearly. When using the intercropping method, growers can choose two or more types of crops to plant in the same field. One of the most common crop rotation examples involves the combination of cereals and legumes in one area. 

As part of crop rotation practices, different types of manure can also be used for additional benefits. For example, using green manure, farmers can combine it with planting cover crops. Animal manure or compost can also be used as a natural fertilizer rich in valuable elements to keep the soil healthy.


Crop Type Classification for Yield Prediction and Management

Classifying crop types is a fairly common task in farming. The main goal is to create images or maps where each dot will display a class of what is growing there. Many ways exist to solve this problem, but remote sensing technologies are the most effective. Classifying field crops is an essential part of agribusiness, and traditional methods for completing this task can be complicated.

EOS Data Analytics is a satellite imagery analytics provider with deep experience and expertise, developing its technology solutions and software products for many industries, including agriculture. The company offers a simple and fast way to classify crop types by applying its profound knowledge of precision farming and remote sensing in combination with AI-based algorithms.

Combining optical images with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data allows a class to be assigned to each crop type. The trained neural network recognizes crops in any area of interest. A crop-type map can then be built according to the client’s needs.

EOSDA deep learning algorithms perform pixel-based segmentation that enables getting more data quickly. In addition, crop classification can be done faster with complete and accurate ground data for the area of interest. The EOS SAT satellite constellation, which will have seven optical satellites in orbit soon, will help EOS Data Analytics complete tasks even faster.


How Satellite Technology Improves Crop Rotation

Farmers can maintain and even increase soil fertility and reduce the risks, including diseases and pests, by knowing what crop rotation is. This practice positively affects the soil’s condition and the crop’s quality.

Satellite technology makes this method even more efficient. Remote sensing helps to stay informed of all events in the field. Change analysis ensures the timely detection of crop problems. Tracking weather data, combined with satellite data analytics, helps to make effective decisions to ensure crop and soil health, grow a particular crop, or switch to crop rotation. 

Based on remote sensing data, farmers can develop a sustainable farming strategy. With access to historical data, growers can implement precision farming practices that consider climatic patterns and other factors influencing productivity.