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Featured Resource: The benefits of crop diversification: New research from Dr. Stuart Grandy and colleagues

Updated: Jan 3

Dr. Stuart Grandy of the University of New Hampshire’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the Center of Soil Biogeochemistry and Microbiology (Soil BioMe) was a recent guest on the 4 The Soil: A Conversation podcast. In the course of the conversation, Dr. Grandy shared many insights about the four core soil health principles (i.e., Keep soil covered, Minimize soil disturbance, Maximize living roots, and Energize with diversity) and what research and farmers' observations are telling us particularly related to nutrient and carbon cycling. 


The 4 The Soil team is featuring a 2020 publication by Dr. Stuart Grandy and his colleagues on the importance of crop diversification in relation to corn yield but also other measures of how soils and crops function under adverse growing conditions included excess rain and drought. Although a bit technical, the research highlights the various benefits of rotation diversification including yield increases for corn even in drought conditions, yield benefits across all growing conditions, and the effect of diverse rotations on corn yield through time. Additionally, the authors emphasize how systems-based approaches that provide multiple benefits to ecological sustainability and yield resilience are critical and must be considered in present and future practices and policies.

Bowles, T. M., Mooshammer, M., Socolar, Y., Calderón, F., Cavigelli, M. A., Culman, S. W., Deen, W., Drury, C. F., Garcia y Garcia, A., Gaudin, A. C. M., Harkcom, W. S., Lehman, R. M., Osborne, S. L., Robertson, G. P., Salerno, J., Schmer, M. R., Strock, J., & Grandy, A. S. (2020). Long-Term Evidence Shows that Crop-Rotation Diversification Increases Agricultural Resilience to Adverse Growing Conditions in North America. One Earth2(3), 284–293.


If you are interested in additional publications on soil microbial life and ecosystems, a list of Soil BioME publications can be found on the Center's Google Scholar page at

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