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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Land Use

..Permanent Pasture

...New Leys
...Hay
...Silage
...Fertilisation of Grassland
...Farmyard Manure
...Cultivation
...Ploughs
...Tractor
...Make or Buy?
>..Crop Rotation
...Why Rotate?

To aid effective cultivation, many farmers follow a system of crop rotation.

Rotation has been practised in Britain for hundreds of years. The aims of rotation are to keep the land as fertile as possible by deep manuring and cultivating a root crop using the humus and nitrogen build-up from grass seeds.

Control of weeds is assisted by one year planting in the autumn, another in the spring and so on. This kind of alternate cultivation eradicates many stubborn weeds that would become a major problem if one crop were continuously grown. By alternating the types of plants grown, parasitic organisms are destroyed as their hosts are removed.

Traditionally rotations were planned to spread labour requirements as effectively as possible throughout the year. An example of a six-year rotation is:

  • wheat
  • roots
  • cereal
  • seeds (grass)
  • cereal a different variety
  • potatoes

As grass seeds are expensive and modern plants perform well for several years, it is becoming common to run the seeds part of the rotation for two or three years. When this is intended, the seed mixture comprises several different grasses, clovers and other seeds. If the seeds are only for one year, then Italian ryegrass is often used as it is a heavy yielder.

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