fallow land, cropland that is not seeded for a season; it may or may not be plowed. The land may be cultivated or chemically treated for control of weeds and other pests or may be left unaltered. Allowing land to lie fallow serves to accumulate moisture in dry regions (see dry farming) or to check weeds and plant diseases. As a method of restoring productivity, rotation of crops is now preferred to fallowing, which is considered wasteful of humus and nitrogen.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.