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Using crop rotation to manage pests

There are many important decisions to be made on a farm and choosing a proper crop rotation is one of them. Some growers select a wide range of crops to grow, others only grow the two most profitable.

The general agronomic and long-term economic recommendation is to have a minimum of a four-year rotation with at least three crops from different families, such as cereal-oilseed-cereal-pulse. A proper crop rotation is an excellent preventive tool against specific weeds, insects and diseases. Growing a various selection of crops year after year encourages the use of herbicides with different modes of action, which delays the development of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Alternating crop families interrupts insect and disease cycles, which promotes a healthier crop. Proper crop rotation also presents soil health benefits by improving its structure, through different root systems, and its nutrient profile. In the long term, adopting a suitable crop rotation plan reduces pest pressure and increases yields and profit on the farm.

Isabelle Thibout is a marketing communications specialist at Corteva Agriscience. She is based in Calgary, Alta.

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