Modeling Crop Rotation with Discrete Mathematics

By Jennifer Lorraine Cartier1, Kellen Myers, Victoria Ferguson, Yekaterina Voskoboynik

1. Unity College

Published on


This resource has been updated - find the current version here:

Module Summary: The production of crops is essential to human life. Producing these crops, however, comes with it a cost to the environment. The commonly used agricultural techniques in place in the United States rely on machinery and chemicals in order to keep up with the demand. However, over time, these methods strip the soil of nutrients which in turn require added inputs to produce the crops in the first place. In order to continue to produce crops at current levels of need and, by extension, to increase production, methods to counter these deficiencies must be utilized. One of these methods, used in both organic and 4conventional" agriculture, is that of crop rotation. Crop rotation may be as simple as the current corn/bean rotation in the conventional system, or more elegantly implemented with organic techniques such as intercropping, 4green manure,! and 4catch cropping.! Certain crops have characteristics which lend themselves to rotation. These crops are then rotated with crops which provide income or fodder for animals. However, the creation of a rotational schedule over a plot of subdivided land is a challenge which faces the agriculturist in planning the most efficient use of land so that demand is met, soils are sustained, and economic impact is reduced when leaving land off of a 4production schedule.! The module develops discrete mathematics models that allow for creation of schedules meeting a variety of needs.

This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants NSF DRL-1020166 and DMS-1053887. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • This module was written by Kellen Myers, Victoria Ferguson, Yekaterina Voskoboynik. One-Day Sustainability Modules for Undergraduate Mathematics Classes. DIMACS: Retrieved on March 11, 2015.