Diversifying agriculture by rotating a greater number of crop species in sequence is a pro- mising practice to reduce negative impacts of crop production on the environment and maintain yields. However, it is unclear to what extent cereal yields change with crop rotation diversity and external nitrogen fertilization level over time, and which functional groups of crops provide the most yield benefit. Here, using grain yield data of small grain cereals and maize from 32 long-term (10–63 years) experiments across Europe and North America, we show that crop rotational diversity, measured as crop species diversity and functional rich- ness, enhanced grain yields. This yield benefit increased over time. Only the yields of winter- sown small grain cereals showed a decline at the highest level of species diversity. Diver- sification was beneficial to all cereals with a low external nitrogen input, particularly maize, enabling a lower dependence on nitrogen fertilisers and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution. The results suggest that increasing crop functional richness rather than species diversity can be a strategy for supporting grain yields across many environments.

Increasing crop rotational diversity can enhance cereal yields

Onofri A.;Tei F.;
2023

Abstract

Diversifying agriculture by rotating a greater number of crop species in sequence is a pro- mising practice to reduce negative impacts of crop production on the environment and maintain yields. However, it is unclear to what extent cereal yields change with crop rotation diversity and external nitrogen fertilization level over time, and which functional groups of crops provide the most yield benefit. Here, using grain yield data of small grain cereals and maize from 32 long-term (10–63 years) experiments across Europe and North America, we show that crop rotational diversity, measured as crop species diversity and functional rich- ness, enhanced grain yields. This yield benefit increased over time. Only the yields of winter- sown small grain cereals showed a decline at the highest level of species diversity. Diver- sification was beneficial to all cereals with a low external nitrogen input, particularly maize, enabling a lower dependence on nitrogen fertilisers and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution. The results suggest that increasing crop functional richness rather than species diversity can be a strategy for supporting grain yields across many environments.
2023
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1548598
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 14
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact