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Study Shows Environmental, Economic Value in Crop Rotation

A new study from researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University found in a large-scale, long-term field experiment at Iowa State University’s Marsden Farm that diversifying crop rotations can greatly reduce negative environmental and health impacts, while maintaining profitability for farmers. The experiment, initiated in 2001, compares the performance characteristics of a two-year corn-soy rotation with those of a three-year corn-soybean-oat rotation and a four-year corn-soybean-oat-alfalfa rotation. Adding small grains and forages to the conventional corn-soybean rotation resulted in less fertilizer use, less fossil fuel use, and lower greenhouse-gas emissions.