Forty or fifty years ago, farmers around here started to plant the same crops on the same field year after year, usually cash crops. Adding the proper amount of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides allowed the crops to flourish for many years. However, Mother Nature and monoculture farming do not get along. Even with the additions of chemicals, crop yield decreased and input costs skyrocketed. Crop rotation is absolutely necessary to maintain the precious soil that sustains our earth. It also is an aid to another growing problem, herbicide resistance.
We have all heard about antibiotic resistance bacteria affecting our health centres. The same thing is happening in the plant world where the herbicides, having been used for years, are no longer effective in weed control. This is especially true in many US states and the problem is heading toward Canada as well. The answer is not in finding new herbicides but in crop rotation and other farm management techniques that have been around for centuries.
Crop rotation can reduce the impact of insect and diseases leading to higher yields, lower input costs, manage crop residue and provide diversified marketing options, as well as decrease herbicide resistance. And there are excellent resources to aid as you decide how to adapt to these changes. One excellent Canadian resource is www.mixitup.ca which outlines the problem of resistance as well as solutions and practices. A couple more resources are from Penn State: http://tinyurl.com/k4o6g75 and from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://tinyurl.com/ophh7z6 There are many other resources available on-line and in print.
Now, while your crops are growing in the fields is the time to be planning for next year and to make the necessary changes to keep your operation efficient as well as profitable.