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The long-term agronomic and economic effects of crop rotations in western Canada

Date

1990-02-22

Authors

Zentner, R.P.
Campbell, C.A.
Bowren, K.E.
Janzen, H.H.
Tinline, R.D.
Cutforth, H.W.
Brandt, S.A.
Lafond, G.P.
Townley-Smith, L.

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Agriculture Canada Research Stations in western Canada have conducted more than 68 long-term crop rotation experiments since the early 1900's; twenty of these are still ongoing. A committee of scientists, representing all Research Stations on the Prairies has just completed an in-depth review and summary of the major findings from these studies. Based on their findings, they also developed recommendations that can be used by managers in decision making and rationalization of resource use for current and future studies of this kind. The resulting two publications which will be released in early 1990 include: i) a bulletin entitled 'Benefits of Crop Rotation for Sustainable Agriculture in Dryland Farming', 'Which presents producer recommendations on how to run an efficient, economical, and environmentally responsible cropping operation, and ii) a detailed technical book entitled 'Crop Rotation Studies on the Canadian Prairies', which is directed at the scientific community but is also useful for extension personnel and producers. This paper highlights some of the main aspects reported in these publications and attempts to give a coherent and broader interpretation of the underlying principles and processes of crop production. The discussion focuses on the effects of rotation length, crop sequence, substitutes for summerfallow, and N and P fertilizer, on crop production, grain and forage quality, soil moisture conservation and moisture use efficiency, N and P uptake by the plants, nutrient losses, soil quality, profitability, nonrenewable energy efficiency, and crop pests.

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Part Of

Soils and Crops Workshop

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