What is Intensive Farming?

Intensive farming is a type of agriculture that relies on large amounts of capital and labor to increase output per unit area. It is characterized by the high use of inputs such as land, water, and fertilizer, with low fallow ratios. Advocates argue that it allows farmers to raise more food from less land than traditional methods do, which helps feed the world’s growing population. 

However, critics argue that intensive farming has negative environmental impacts such as soil erosion and depletion and health concerns related to pesticide use.

Large Amounts of Capital and Labor are Used to Increase Output Per Unit Area

Intensive farming is a type of agriculture where large amounts of capital and labor are used to increase the amount of output per unit area. This form of farming is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as labor cost and capital, and higher crop yields per unit area. 

Intensive farming is practiced in both low-capital-intensive subsistence agriculture and high-capital-intensive industrial agribusinesses.

Intensive farming has been criticized for many reasons, including production costs, environmental impact, nutrient loss through leaching and soil erosion, water pollution from chemical runoff or manure lagoons, animal welfare concerns, and food safety issues due to the lack of sanitation.

Low Fallow Ratio

The intensive farming system is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labor, and higher crop yields per unit area.

Fallow ratio: To grow crops, some land must be left open for periods called fallow periods. These are times when no cultivation takes place, and the soil is allowed to recover from any exhaustion caused during previous years or seasons of cultivation. 

The length of these periods depends on the crop being grown; however, generally, they last between one and five years. The length of time required for a fallow period depends on many things, including climate conditions and soil composition; therefore, different types of the farm may require different lengths of time between plantings depending on local conditions. 

An example would be that an organic vegetable farm may need longer than a conventional field where chemical fertilizers have been used extensively over many years before they can be planted again due to depletion caused by nutrient loss through drainage systems.

Higher Yields from the Same Area of Land

As you can see, intensive farming is a contentious topic. While advocates claim it’s the way of the future and that it allows for higher yields from the same area of land, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this. 

Many studies have shown that intensive farming actually results in lower yields. This may be because when farmers try to raise their livestock as quickly as possible by feeding them antibiotics and hormones, they become more susceptible to disease outbreaks like mad cow disease or bird flu.

This doesn’t mean that all intensive farms are bad—some are doing good things for their animals and their communities (but those usually aren’t run by factory farms). 

Lower Yield Per Hectare is Compensated by the Relatively Low Price of Land

Advocates argue that the lower yield per hectare is compensated by the relatively low price of land in underdeveloped countries. According to this view, it is possible for farmers to produce considerable amounts of food for their populations using a small amount of land.

plants store starch

Negative Environmental Impacts

The practice of intensive farming has been criticized for its negative environmental impacts. This includes:

  • High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil can result in soil erosion and other problems.
  • Soil compaction from heavy machinery results in decreased water infiltration and increased runoff. This can lead to flooding when it rains and drought when it doesn’t (both harmful to crops).
  • Increased greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

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Intensive Farming can be Good or Bad Depending on Context.

In order to understand the environmental impact of intensive farming, it’s important to understand what it is. Intensive farming refers to any method that uses a high level of technology in order to produce more food per unit area. This can include things like greenhouse farming, hydroponic systems, or livestock being raised indoors. 

Intensive farms can be good or bad depending on context. For example, if you live in an area where people are starving and you have no other options for feeding them, then using an intensive method may be better than letting people starve. However, if there are plenty of other options available then using an intensive method probably isn’t going to help anyone out very much.

Intensive agriculture is actually very complex and difficult to pin down with concrete numbers because every farm has its own unique set of variables. Climate conditions will affect water usage (or lack thereof), and soil composition will determine whether fertilizer needs to be applied. 

But generally speaking, we know that intensive farming requires lots of money upfront before any profit comes back–and that’s not even considering how much energy goes into operating these facilities either!

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Intensive Farming

Intensive farming is a type of agriculture that uses high capital and labor inputs to increase crop yields per unit area. Proponents argue it leads to higher yields from the same area of land, but critics say it has negative environmental impacts.

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