This chapter discusses the resistance to crop rotation for managing pests. The modern concept of crop rotation goes back to the four-crop Norfolk rotation that was popular in 18th-century England. In the United States, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington experimented with a variety of rotational schemes on their farms. Rotation, along with artificial addition of lime and soil minerals, became nearly universal in England by the middle of the 19th century; immigrant farmers brought these practices to the United States where many different rotational systems were developed and used extensively during the 19th century. The discovery that a mutualism between leguminous plants and the common soil bacterium Rhizobium fixed atmospheric nitrogen that was then available to successive crops provided an explanation for some of the benefits of crop rotation. Corn grown in a 2-year rotation with soybean yields 5-20% more than corn grown in a continuous cultivation. In addition to the obvious fertility benefits, soil organic matter can be increased and soil structure may be improved when crop rotation is practiced. The best example of insect pest management using crop rotation involves control of diabroticite corn rootworm beetles in the US Corn Belt. Stephen A. Forbes suggested that because the northern corn rootworm (NCR), Diabrotica barberi, depended on availability of corn roots as food for the relatively immobile larvae, rotating production of corn with a plant that NCR larvae could not eat would destroy rootworm populations by depriving newly emerged NCR larvae of the corn roots.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)