Scientists found that crop rotation reduces greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published on May 23, 2018.
This study was conducted by the scientists at the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Researchers say that the method of crop rotation in the field of agriculture will increase the yield and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although there are many studies being conducted to find the link between crop rotation and greenhouse gas emissions, this study is unique in few ways. Greenhouse gas emissions from the fields that were maintained as continuous corn, continuous soybean, rotated corn-soybean or rotated corn-soybean-wheat under tillage and no-till management for 20 years were taken as samples by the researchers.
Gevan Behnke, research specialist said, “These long-term plots are very stable systems. Sometimes you don’t see the impacts of rotation or tillage for years after those practices are imposed. That’s one of the highlights of this study.” The yield obtained through a corn-soybean rotation and continuous corn were compared and yield benefit of 20 percent was observed. Moreover, around 35 percent reduction in nitrous oxide emissions was also observed.
Tillage had no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, however, it increased the yield of corn when compared to the corn in no-till management. Behnke says that location of farming also plays an important role. He said, “If you talk to people that work at the Monmouth research center, they’ll say it’s sometimes difficult to plant into the long-term no-till. Other places aren’t as blessed when it comes to biomass and organic matter return to the soil.”