Crop Rotation Monitoring

Growing plants take up soil nutrients, so the mitigation of soil depletion and nutrient imbalance is a primary agronomic effort. Crop rotation efficiently keeps up soil fertility and allows farmers to get high yields longer. Yet, in order to choose a suitable sequence, agriculturalists have to understand rotation specifics for each individual field. Satellite monitoring of crop rotation patterns essentially simplifies the complicated task, contributing to effective practice implementation.

Crop Rotation & Nutrient Cycling

Every crop type requires a certain set of minerals for its development, and when grown continuously, it takes the same nutrients from the soil year by year. Another point is the excessive accumulation of minerals that the plant releases or doesn’t need. Continuous farming of the same species is referred to as monocropping, or monoculture. The primary reason to opt for it is the desire to maximize output with minimal labor involved. Nonetheless, numerous studies and first-hand farming experience prove that continuous monoculture inevitably leads to a decline in yields since, in this case, nutrient depletion and imbalance occur faster.

soybean vegetation boost in 2021 compared to 2019e
A two-year crop rotation alternating soybeans and corn that resulted in soybean vegetation boost in 2021 compared to 2019 (based on NDVI data).

Does Crop Rotation Increase Nutrients In The Soil?

Yes, it can. Fallow periods in rotation help restore the used minerals. Soil possesses the property of self-restoration, so leaving the field unsown for a year allows replenishing nutrients in a natural way.

How Does Crop Rotation Slow Down Nutrient Depletion?

Different species absorb different minerals, so rotation decreases the risks of soil depletion. If the field productivity does tend to drop, it means that the soil cannot provide enough nutrition for healthy vegetation development. However, farmers can restore the balance of soil minerals by rotating species, which helps enrich the field with lacking nutrients and reduce the amounts of excessive ones. Multiple studies attest to this rotation benefit. In particular, by adding mung beans or chickpeas alternatively to the sequence of maize and wheat, Indian agriculturalists managed to increase the nutrient uptake in maize:

Nutrient uptake rate / included plant Mung beans Chickpeas
Nitrogen 33.9% 18.2%
Phosphorus 46.4% 19.1%
Potassium 36.3% 21.7%
Sulfur 55.5% 32.1%

How Does Crop Rotation Increase Nutrients?

Crop rotation can increase minerals with various agricultural techniques, each of which contributes to soil fertility in its own way:

  • N-fixing plants (particularly legumes) release nitrogen into the soil.
  • Rotation of shallow-rooted and deep-rooted types prevents compaction and improves soil aeration.
  • Minimum or no-tillage practices allow biomass accumulation and mineral retention.
  • Cover crops can serve as green manure.

With these techniques, farmers can enrich the soil naturally, without adding fertilizers. However, it is critical to know what minerals the next species can either give or take from the earth and match the rotation sequence correctly. It will help avoid both nutrient excess and deficiency.

History Of Rotation Data On EOSDA Crop Monitoring

The history of crop rotation is very important, especially when a farmland owner wants to buy a new field. In this case, EOSDA Crop Monitoring can be useful both for the new and the current owners by providing satellite crop rotation analytics. With a stack of vegetation indices and NDVI trends on the platform, the seller can show the field state while the buyer can check the claimed field productivity. Besides, the buyer needs to know the historical data to assess the field’s potential productivity, as well as to decide on a suitable species to sow within the area. You can add new seasons in the Edit Field settings of the Monitoring section, selecting plant types from an extended list. EOSDA Crop Monitoring allows keeping all field records in one place to review whenever needed, so the rotation patterns are also convenient to check.

rotating winter wheat - spring oats - lentils
Crop rotation history of the field on EOSDA Crop Monitoring.

How Does Crop Rotation Increase Field Productivity?

Crop rotation impacts the overall field performance, and by monitoring the sequence, agriculturalists understand how to avoid drops in yields. By monitoring the NDVI value changes over time, the user also can see how the rotation pattern has affected the field’s health. The EOSDA Crop Monitoring software allows controlling field productivity remotely thanks to satellite-based analytics. In particular, it assists in scheduling the cropping sequence for each individual field to prevent:

  • Soil infertility. Monocropping over years leads to nutrient depletion.
  • Pest infestation. Many pests attack specific host plants, so monoculture agriculture provides pests with favorable conditions to thrive. Increased pest populations reduce field productivity and take additional efforts for pest control.
  • Soil erosion. Planting the same species repeatedly makes the soil more sensitive to erosion. Conversely, alternative rooting patterns improve soil structure while high residue or cover plants protect the soil from destruction by water and wind.

With EOSDA Crop Monitoring, users can develop a crop rotation plan for the field, monitor the field history to predict yields, and analyze the field state after each species. This data is useful for effective farm management since it assists in choosing appropriate agricultural activities to fix the detected issues. Try EOSDA Crop Monitoring now and don’t hesitate to contact our sales team for more details at