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Computational Model Evaluates How Crop Rotation Affects Yields

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology developed a new computational model to evaluate crop rotation patterns in terms of yield, reports Science Daily. The research was published in PLOS Computational Biology. Specifically, the model investigated crop yields when cash and cover crops are alternated year to year, in the presence of a pathogen that affects the cash crop. This revealed that regular rotations that switch every other year may not be optimal for yield in the long term. Crop rotations must meet the dual goals of maintaining soil quality and diminishing the impact of pathogens. The model can be adapted to consider other crops and specific pests, or to consider crop rotation in conjunction with other practices.