Diverse crop rotations are an integral component of sustainable agriculture. The objectives were to investigate row and forage crop rotation effects on stover biomass, grain yield, and mineral nutrient concentrations of maize (Zea mays L.) grown under a maize–soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] 2-yr rotation (C–S); maize–soybean–spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 3-yr rotation (C–S–W); maize–soybean–oat/pea (Avena sativa L./Pisum sativum L.) hay 3-yr rotation (C–S–H); and maize–soybean–oat/pea hay underseeded with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) – alfalfa – alfalfa 5-yr rotation (C–S–H/A–A–A). Rotations were established in 1997 and maize plots were sampled in 2008–2011. Across the 4 yr of the study, grain yield was 10% greater (1.0 Mg ha-1) in C–S–H/A–A–A and C–S–W rotations compared with C–S with C–S–H intermediate. Under C–S–H/A–A–A, kernel N concentration was 7% greater, kernel P was 17% less, and kernel K was 7% less compared with C–S–W. Kernel Zn concentration was 16% lower in C–S–H than in C–S and C–S–H/A–A–A. Thus, diversification of the C–S rotation with wheat (C–S–W) increased yield while conserving kernel P and K concentration, whereas diversification with oat/pea hay alfalfa (C–S–H/A–A–A) increased grain yield and kernel N concentration but decreased both kernel P and kernel K concentration.
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