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The Advantages of Adding Diversity to Your Rotation
Different root systems have different abilities to break up subsoil compaction. When you are only growing one or two crops, you limit the number of root systems growing in your soil. If possible, Jodi DeJong-Hughes, an Extension educator at the University of Minnesota, recommends incorporating cover crops and alfalfa into your crop rotation.
“The tillage radish is known for poking through compaction layers,” she points out. “Things like clovers with fibrous root systems can also help alleviate compaction and build structure in the soil.
“If you have a market for it, alfalfa is the best thing you can grow,” DeJong-Hughes adds. “As a legume, it improves soil microbe populations. It pokes holes in the soil where new roots can go down and microbes can live. Because alfalfa grows for multiple years, it does a world of good.”