Should you try a stacked rotation? A stacked rotation is where crops, or crops within the same crop type, are grown in succession (normally twice) followed by a long break. Wheat-Wheat-Corn-Corn-Soybeans-Soybeans or Barley-Wheat-Pea-Canola are examples.
Stacked rotations are the way plants sequence in nature, says Dwayne Beck, manager of Dakota Lakes Research Farm.
"A species dominates a space for a period of time and is succeeded by another species. Eventually (after many such successions) the original species will again occupy the space. The time frame for these 'rotations' is much longer than the one usually considered in annual crop production, but the principles are the same," Beck says.
"Humans tend to operate in a different time frame than other species. Days, hours and years have a totally different meaning to a bacteria or fungi than they do to a tree. Some species have very fast growth curves, once they are given the opportunity, while others take a long time to build population. Each species has a 'survival strategy' designed to increase the chances that it will continue to exist," he says.
In the stacked Wheat-Wheat-Corn-Corn-Soybean-Soybean rotation, the sequence for corn and the interval between corn crops is unpredictable in the time frame of an insect or weeds, even though it looks very predictable to humans, Beck says.
Read more about stacked rotations in the February 2014 Dakota Farmer magazine. See "Stacked rotations mimic nature," page 30. It is also is available online.