cover crops in alleys

Study Shows Diverse Crops Help Plants Thrive

University of Kansas researchers published a study in the journal Nature Communications that shows crop diversity can help boost yields by preventing soil pathogens from thriving. Using field and greenhouse experiments and computer modeling, scientists demonstrated how diverse agricultural plantings limit development of specialized pathogens. A significant advantage of rangeland diversity is that less biomass is consumed by pathogens, and this study explains why this is also true of diverse crop plantings. “Regarding monoculture practices, the philosophy of promoting plant diversity seems to counter prevailing practices,” said corresponding author James Bever. “Monoculture—planting vast areas with a single crop—is driven by technological reasons rather than biological ones.”