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What Is the Difference Between Extensive and Intensive Farming?

From small-scale family farms to large-scale commercial farms, farming is the activity of growing agricultural products or raising livestock for profit or personal use. Agribusiness leaders have embraced new and different farming practices over time in order to increase crop production for a growing global population. Others have turned to traditional methods to improve soil health, protect waterways, or increase biodiversity.


A Brief History of Farming

The earliest signs of agriculture date back to the Ice Age; since then, plant cultivation and animal domestication have taken many forms. Early farming can be classified into three broad categories:

1. Nomadic farming: Nomadic farming refers to the practice of moving herds from one location to another in search of water and plants for the animals to eat. Nomadic farmers can use animal products such as milk, fiber, blood, and dung for the duration of an animal's life and then slaughter the animal when its usefulness dwindles, or during times of scarcity or celebration.

2. Sedentary farming: Sedentary farming dates back to ancient humans and simply refers to farmers growing crops on the same land for an extended period of time. Some humans moved from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to permanent settlements as a result of this type of agriculture.

3. Subsistence farming: Subsistence farmers grow food for their families with no intention of selling or trading any surplus.


What Is Sustainable Farming?

Any farming method that promotes the long-term health of the land is considered sustainable. From the deforestation required to create arable land to soil erosion caused by a lack of cover crops to the emission of methane (a greenhouse gas) from livestock and the runoff of animal waste and chemicals into waterways, industrial agriculture is one of the leading contributors to climate change.

Sustainable practices include increasing biodiversity and soil health through crop rotation and intercropping, reducing reliance on synthetic fertilizers derived from fossil fuels in favor of compost and manure, and avoiding pesticides that are harmful to pollinators. Sustainable farmers consider their land to be a component of a larger ecosystem.


What Is the Difference Between Extensive and Intensive Farming?

Extensive and intensive farming are two methods of increasing agricultural output. Intensive farming involves producing more food in less space, whereas extensive farming refers to land that produces little for its size.

One example of intensive agriculture is industrial corn farming. Corn is also high in calories, which makes it an extremely efficient crop. However, efficient corn farming necessitates the purchase of costly equipment, labor, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.

Traditional shepherding is an example of extensive agriculture. Sheep have unrestricted access to a large area of land. The output of dairy, wool, and meat is small in comparison to the large amount of land required by sheep, but this method is ideal for areas where intensive agriculture is impossible.


What Does Arable Mean?

The term "arable" refers to land that is suitable for plowing and tillage. Arable farming entails growing cereal crops rather than raising livestock or growing fruits and vegetables on land. India, the United States, Brazil, and Canada all have a lot of farmland.

Author: Wispaz Technologies