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Transcript of Agriculture
Types of farming
From the Syllabus Document:
3.1 Agricultural systems
Candidates should be able to:
• Describe in general terms the main features of an agricultural system:
inputs, processes and outputs
• Describe the influence of natural and human inputs on the processes and outputs of the two agricultural systems listed in the syllabus (a large-scale system of commercial farming and smallscale subsistence farming).
Studies should include natural inputs (
relief, climate and soil
) and human inputs (
economic, social and sometimes political
Their combined influences on the scale of production, methods of organisation and the products of each system should be studied.
Reference may be made to an example such as plantation agriculture or extensive commercial cereal farming or extensive livestock production, etc., to illustrate a large-scale system of commercial farming.
Examples such as intensive subsistence rice cultivation or shifting cultivation, etc. could profitably illustrate a system of small-scale subsistence farming. Other illustrations might be selected rather than the above. In each case reference should be made to a detailed case study.
• Recognise the causes and effects of food shortages. Shortages of food may be related to natural problems such as soil exhaustion, drought, floods, tropical cyclones, pests, disease, etc. There should be an awareness of the effects of these natural problems on selected areas within LEDCs. Economic and political factors and their effects upon food shortages should be noted, for example low capital investment, poor distribution/transport difficulties, wars, etc.
The effects of food shortages in encouraging food aid and measures such as those of the ‘Green Revolution’ to produce more food should also be considered.
Agriculture and Farming is a SYSTEM
What affects the type of Farm?
Money is vitally important
when setting up a farm, or trying to run one.
Subsidies and government policies
have helped in some cases but they have also meant that farming is having to become more efficient and technological to survive.
As prices fall for farm products
, so the
farmer's profits also fall,
meaning he can employ less people and buy less seeds and animals for the following year.
It is a vicious downward trend experienced in many farming communities.
The farmer may have a number of choices over which type of farming he is going to follow.
Normally this is determined by the
climate, soils and the relief.
However farmers are increasingly having to turn to farming crops or animals that will bring them the
rather than which ones may be best suited to the area.
One of the most important factors in
deciding what type of farming might occur in a certain area.
The important considerations for farmers are:
hours of sunshine
* The amount of
The market is very important for a
farmer. He must know that he is going to
be able to sell his produce at a good price, in order to make a profit.
Quotas and subsidies have been brought in to try to help farmers as the prices of their produce have fallen over the last twenty years.
Farmers increasingly have to decide exactly what they are going to grow by the price that they will get for their produce.
Government and International farming policies have had a huge impact on many farms around the world. In Europe the Common Agricultural Policy and EU regulations have meant that farmers are protected and that their produce will be bought.
However they have also meant some farmers have had to completely change what they are growing to suit the new regulations.
Genetically Modified Foods and Plants
The relief of the land is a very important factor in determining the type of agricultural activity that can take place on it.
areas are usually best for crops as it is easy to use machinery and there will be the best climatic conditions for crop growth.
are more likely to be used for
sheep and cattle farming
, such as in the valley of South Wales. However in countries such as Indonesia the steep slopes have been terraced to allow rice to grow.
Thick, well-irrigated, often alluvial (deposited by a river) soil is usually the best for crop farming.
In Britain the best soil for arable farming can be found in Norfolk and other Eastern areas of the country.
In hilly areas the soil tends to be thinner and less fertile, meaning it is more suitable for pasture farming.
Every farm needs workers, and so farms need these sources of labour.
In the old days there would have been many people doing very labour intensive jobs around the farm.
However, with farming becoming increasingly mechanised the numbers of people working on farms has diminished and many of those people tend to be more like farm managers rather than actually getting out and doing the dirty work.
Farming for a profit.
The farmer is growing crops or rearing animals to sell for as much money as possible.
These farms can be arable (just growing crops), pastoral (just rearing animals) or mixed (both arable and pastoral).
Increasingly farms are becoming more mixed (DIVERSIFICATION) due to the impact of farming subsidies and regulations.
Most of the farming in MEDC's is commercial farming of one type or another.
The arable farms of East Anglia are a good example of commercial farming, as are the cereal farms of the central United States and the Canadian Prairies.
This type of farming:
Generally takes up a fairly
small area of land
, but aims to have a very
of capital and labour.
to become as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
Intensive agriculture can be seen in many places around the world, such as the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand,
pig farming in Denmark
in the countries of South East Asia.
to their country to enable them to get the highest yields from their land.
Extensive farming is the direct opposite of intensive farming.
The farms are large in comparison to the money injected into them or the labour used.
The cattle ranches of central Australia area good example of extensive agriculture, where often only a few farm workers are responsible for thousands of acres of farmland.
only produce enough
and their family,
without having any more to sell for profit.
This is the most common form of farming in LEDC's.
Some subsistence farmers are
, meaning that they move around the country using a piece of land for a while and then moving on.
This type of subsistence farming is also called
The traditional tribes of the Amazon rainforest use system of shifting cultivation.
Farmers chop down a clearing in the
trees and use it for a few years before
moving on and allowing the soil and
vegetation to recover.
For thousands of years this form of
agriculture has allowed the people to
live, without the rainforest being unduly damaged.