Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation
ENTRY DATE: 16 April 2015| LAST UPDATE: 16 April 2015
Categories: Agriculture | Cropping techniques
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:

Farmers, NGOs

Needs Addressed
  • Increases yields
  • Maximises land use
  • Increases soil fertility
Adaptation Effects
  • Optimises water and nutrient use
  • Minimises disease, pest and weed problems
  • Heightens yields
  • Builds soil fertility
  • Preserves the environment
  • Boosts economic returns to enhance household security
  • Adds to crop and market diversity
Overview and Features

Crop rotation involved harvesting different crop types in rotation on the same piece of land. This is a traditional practice harnessed and expanded to aid adaptation processes


Commodity price for seed varieties 

Energy Source

Human labour

Ease of Maintenance

Continuous cropping that incorporates organic matter is better than fallow periods for the soil meaning that continuation of crop rotation is more beneficial

Technology Performance

The 'best' rotation depends on available moisture and nutrients, diseases and weed levels, herbicide use records, equipment availability, commodity prices, ability and desire to accept risk, and can vary from field to field on the same farm and from year to year for the same field

Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)

Need to maintain accurate agricultural chemicals use records for crop and variety selection for rotations

Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Can reduce GHG emissions and contribute to increasing soil carbon in the long run e.g. corn and sorghum rotation with rain fed rice has lower methane emissions than continuous rice-rice cultivation and also exemplifies better carbon sequestration potential
  • Enables increased biomass resources for biofuel and bioenergy with no impact to food crops
  • Increasing market opportunities for alternative crops to rice. Alternative crops have been shown to provide economic advantages to farmers in Thailand in terms of income, particularly rotation of sorghum where yield and price are high.
  • Rotation with energy crops is a good strategy for low carbon agriculture as rice rotation with energy crops not only can help reducing GHG emissions and enhance carbon sink but it can also provide farmers with improved income and an opportunity for job creation at local level. There remains a need to improve irrigation facilities for implementation of sustainable rotation practices with energy crop in some parts in the region.
  • The current status of farming management practices and communications with local farmers are important barriers.
Information Resources

Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN). (2013). Strategic Rice Cultivation for Sustainable Low Carbon Society Development in South East Asia. Available from: [10 November 2014]

Baldwin, K.R. 2009. Crop Rotations on Organic Farms. Centre for Environmental Farming Systems. Accessed from: [09 November 2014]

Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. 2005. Principles and Practices of Crop Rotation. Accessed from: [09 November 2014]