8 Difference Between Intensive And Extensive Farming

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What Is Intensive Farming?

Intensive agriculture also referred to as intensive farming is a type of farming whereby there are higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labor and high crop yields per unit land area. This farming technique is generally practiced in the densely populated areas where the population is high but the agricultural land is limited and expensive.

The techniques involved in intensive farming include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years and improving cultivars. It also involves increased use of fertilizers, plant growth regulators, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions, including weather, soil, water, weeds and pests; and often harvest mechanically. Intensive farms are widespread in developed nations and increasingly prevalent around the world. Most of the fruits, vegetables available in groceries are produced by such farms. 

Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, especially on smallholdings is an important way of decreasing the amount of land needed for farming and slowing environmental degredation through processes like deforestation.

What You Need To Know About Intensive Farming

  • Intensive farming refers to an agricultural system where there is high level of labor and capital, in comparison to the land area.
  • In this system of farming, the size of land holdings is small.
  • It is practiced in the densely populated areas where the population is high but the agricultural land is limited and expensive.
  • It has a higher level of input and production per square unit (hectare) of agriculture land area.
  • Crop yield in intensive farming depends primarily on heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • The farms under intensive farming are located near the market area, which minimizes the cost of transportation and distribution.
  • This type of farming is commonly practiced in Japan, India, Nigeria, UK, Mediterranean region etc.
  • Common example of crops produced via intensive farming include: vegetables, fruits, corn etc.

What Is Extensive Farming?

Extensive farming also referred to as extensive agriculture is an agricultural production system that uses small inputs of labor, fertilizers and capital relative to the land area being farmed. The crop yield in extensive farming depends primarily on the natural fertility of the soil, the terrain, the climate and the availability of water. It does not involve heavy use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals.

Given that extensive agriculture produces a lower yield per unit of land, its use commercially requires large quantities of land in order to be profitable. This demand for land means that extensive agriculture must be carried out on where land values are low in relation to labor and capital, which in turn means that extensive farming, is practiced where population densities are low and thus usually at some distance from the primary markets.

hat You Need To Know About Intensive Farming

  • Extensive farming is a farming technique in which large farms are being cultivated with relatively lower inputs i.e capital and labor.
  • In this system of farming, the size of land holdings is small but the cultivation is intense.
  • It is practiced in areas where population density is low, but the agricultural land is plentiful and inexpensive.
  • The yield or production is more, but it is less per square unit (hectare) of agriculture land area.
  • Crop yields in extensive agriculture depend primarily on the soil’s natural fertility, relief, climate and water availability. It does not involve heavy use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals.
  • In extensive farming, land under cultivation is located in remote areas, a factor which increases its cost of transportation and selling it to the market.
  • This type of farming is commonly practiced in Russia, USA, Canada, Australia etc.
  • Common example of plants produced via extensive farming include: Wheat, barley,  rice, grain crops etc.

Also Read: Difference Between Hydroponics And Aquaponics

Difference Between Intensive And Extensive Farming In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON INTENSIVE FARMING EXTENSIVE FARMING
Description Intensive farming refers to an agricultural system where there is high level of labor and capital, in comparison to the land area.   Extensive farming is a farming technique in which large farms are being cultivated with relatively lower inputs i.e capital and labor.  
Land Size In this system of farming, the size of land holdings is small.   In this system of farming, the size of land holdings is small but the cultivation is intense.  
Area Of Practice It is practiced in the densely populated areas where the population is high but the agricultural land is limited and expensive.   It is practiced in areas where population density is low, but the agricultural land is plentiful and inexpensive.  
Yield It has a higher level of input and production per square unit (hectare) of agriculture land area.   The yield or production is more, but it is less per square unit (hectare) of agriculture land area.  
Nature Crop yield in intensive farming depends primarily on heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides.   Crop yields in extensive agriculture depend primarily on the soil’s natural fertility, relief, climate and water availability. It does not involve heavy use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals.  
Land Location The farms under intensive farming are located near the market area, which minimizes the cost of transportation and distribution.   In extensive farming, land under cultivation is located in remote areas, a factor which increases its cost of transportation and selling it to the market.  
Country Of Practice This type of farming is commonly practiced in Japan, India, Nigeria, UK, Mediterranean region etc.   This type of farming is commonly practiced in Russia, USA, Canada, Australia etc.  

Advantages of Intensive Farming

  • With intensive farming, supervision of land becomes easier.
  • Farm yield is extremely high on comparatively smaller piece of land.
  • It has reduced the need for large tracks of land for farming.

Disadvantages Of Intensive Farming

  • Requires heavy use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
  • It has a considerable effect on environment due to heavy use of fertilizers and chemicals.
  • High labor and inputs are employed on smallholdings.

Advantages Of Extensive Farming

  • The use of machinery and scientific methods of farming produce a large quantity of crops.
  • Local environment and soil are not damaged by overuse of chemicals.
  • Lower requirement of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Less labor and inputs are required to farm large areas.

Disadvantages Of Extensive Farming

  • Yields tend per square unit tend to be lower when compared to intensive farming.
  • Use of large tracks of land for farming limits the habitat of wild species.

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