Fallow periods are often beneficial in reducing losses from plant diseases, especially soilborne diseases. For disease management, fallowing is generally more effective in combination with rotations. Both dry and flood fallowing should be considered in planning plant disease management.
Fallowing has been practiced for thousands of years. In what is now Iraq, the ancient Sumerians, one of the world's oldest civilizations, practiced fallowing for cereal fields (La Placa and Powell 1990). A sabbatical year was mandated in ancient Jewish religious law; in that for one year farmers were not allowed to plant crops. Exodus 23:10-11 reads: "For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow." The ancient Romans, Chinese, Incas, Mayas, Arabs, and many other peoples historically used fallowing to a greater or lesser degree as one of their major agricultural practices.
Fallow land on a hillside near Chulumani, Bolivia (Courtesy of Robert W. Hoopes)
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More traditional agricultural methods :
| Mulching |
| Slash/Mulch | Frijol Tapado / Web Blight |
| Manipulating Shade | Burning | Flooding |
| Multiple Cropping | Using Organic Amendments |
| Rotations | Fallow | Raised Beds |
| Crop Diversity | Storage Practices |
| Multistory Systems |
Comments and suggestions welcomed ...