Ian Kaplan

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Crop rotation is a standard part of vegetable crop production. At its core, crop rotation is a management tactic meant to disrupt pest lifecycles and decrease the incidence of economically damaging infestations of insects and pathogens. However, surprisingly little scientific research appears to have explored which rotations are most effective for breaking pest lifecycles and increasing crop yield. Most vegetable production guides, for example, do not provide any specific rotations, and just provide the general advice: “Separate similar crops or families of crops as much as possible.” If one digs around online, some rotations are recommended by some prominent organic vegetable growers, but the scientific justification of these rotations is not clear. To better understand the value of diversity in crop rotations, researchers in the Departments of Entomology at Purdue and Penn State University are collaborating to explore how crop species relatedness influences pest populations in crop rotations. At the[Read More…]