The term intensive farming, and macro-farming refers to the production of livestock or crops in order to maximize production and minimize costs.It is also known as industrial livestock production or macro-farming.
This makes it possible to produce large quantities of meat quickly, efficiently, and at a very low cost, all year long.Though the profit margin is high, It is not always the best or even the only way to farm, and intensive farming is not always the best option.
In this article, I am going two explain what it is. And what are the advantage and disadvantages of this farming method?
What does Intensive Farming Mean?
Industrial farming or conventional farming is a form of agriculture that produces a higher output per unit of agricultural land area than intensive agriculture. Often, these methods are used to increase market share by overproducing products.
As a result, farmers must continue to overproduce to remain economically viable, and government subsidies are often used as compensation for low profits. But, to meet the needs of modern food processing and distribution, intensive systems require a high degree of technical and managerial skill.
According to agricultural economics, this farming method refers to that uses large amounts of capital and labor in relation to the size of the fields.
It is common to keep large numbers of animals on intensive farms, commonly indoors, at high densities, like cows, pigs, turkeys, geese, or chickens. The system specializes in producing meat, eggs, and milk in large quantities at a low cost. This includes providing commercial feeds and supplements to gain more weight and grow faster.
On the other hand, this technique uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides to prevent pests and diseases from spreading. Sometimes this also includes the use of machinery and chemicals that boost yield too.
What Are the Characteristics of Intensive Agriculture?
Features and Characteristics of Intensive Farming
In the following sections, we will present some characteristics of intensive farming in India. Here’s what you need to know.
- Commercial farming involves raising animals and crops. Unlike subsistence farming, commercial agriculture cultivates crops and raises animals for profit rather than for domestic consumption.
- In order to meet the demand, the land is continuously used. As a result of small plots, they use labor-intensive technology.
- This system uses fertilizers to ensure higher crop yields. Using modern and scientific farming methods results in high yields per unit area. This results in commercial farming being practiced in areas with high population pressure or limited land.
- Animal feed is supplied by factories to livestock (factory farming). Due to the aim of profit, intensive commercial farming uses factory food to increase cattle yields and ultimately profits.
- A significant amount of capital is invested in intensive commercial farming to facilitate high yields and productivity.
Intensive Agriculture Examples
Factory farms in the world produce more meat, dairy, or eggs for less money by using a variety of intensive methods. An example of one such method is to confine the animals in small spaces and deliver their food. Their growth is accelerated and their space requirement is reduced.
Selectively bred animals that grow more rapidly than natural breeds and reach slaughter size in a shorter timeframe are another example of intensive methods in animal agriculture. As a result, animals often experience breathing problems, walking problems, and standing problems.
Farmers who grow crops can increase their yields by using intensive agriculture in several ways. Genetically modified seeds, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, irrigation, and fertilizers are just some of the tactics used here.
Pisciculture (Fish Farming)
There are three types of fish farming: extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive. The density of fish in intensive farms makes it impossible for them to obtain sufficient food from the environment. To maintain oxygen levels and remove waste, the fish must be fed and the water must be replenished at a high rate. Depending on the feed inputs and water management, the density of fish can be stocked.
Aquaculture is no exception to intensive agriculture, which is evident throughout the industry. In artificial tanks, farmers house to fish in extremely high densities, increasing yields by controlling feed levels, oxygen levels, and other factors.
Animals are also confined in factory farming incentive programs. This method involves raising animals for meat, milk, and eggs for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, cages and crates are always used to confine animals. As a result, animals live shorter lives due to poor living conditions.
What Are the Problems With Intensive Agriculture?
- Inhumane treatment of animals — there are billions of animals to suffer on farms. There is not much room for them to move in their confined spaces.It is common for these procedures to occur without sedation, causing animals a great deal of suffering and pain.
- Deforestation — Before considering animal feed sources, intensive agriculture can often drive deforestation because it is no longer aimed at maximizing productivity on small plots of land. Instead, it applies to farms spanning thousands of acres.
- Its impact on human health— Human health can be adversely affected by pesticides used in intensive agriculture. In addition, there are negative effects on the nervous system and endocrine systems, such as irritation of the skin and eyes.
- Phytoresistance to insects and weeds — Many pest species, including both plants and animals, can develop resistance to a particular pesticide or herbicide after repeated applications. To destroy target species, stronger chemicals are often used, or the chemicals are applied in larger amounts or higher concentrations.
- Degradation of the soil — In this farming, the soil is degraded because it is repeatedly planted without a break for it to regain its nutrients. Consequently, fertilizers are used more often to compensate for soil deficiencies.
- Poisoning of water — This farming method causes significant water pollution. The waste from these disposal systems sinks into groundwater or makes its way into rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water, resulting in water pollution.
Intensive Versus Extensive Agriculture: Which one is Best?
There are two approaches to food production, depending on the circumstances and values involved. The aim of intensive farming is to maximize output by any means necessary, regardless of the cost to the environment. When this practice is practiced, farmers can sell food for a cheaper price.
A methodological approach
An intensive farm uses many resources and labor to increase the yield on a small plot of land. In contrast, extensive agriculture uses a larger area of land and fewer resources and labor.
It is traditionally thought that intensive agriculture produces more yield closer to the market because it requires less land. The majority of modern farms using intensive methods are large, often covering thousands of acres, and located far from consumers.
The area of farmland
Since chemicals, machinery, and labor aren’t used to increase yield, extensive farming requires more land than intensive agriculture. In spite of these changes, both intensive and extensive farming techniques today use large amounts of land due to the shift in farming techniques favoring intensive methods on larger tracts of land.
There is a significant difference between intensive and extensive farming in terms of investment. It is common for intensive farms to use more labor and agrochemicals, as well as special breeds of animals or seeds. Agriculture based on extensive farming relies heavily on the natural fertility of the land and the natural behavior of the animals.
Food is produced in massive quantities at a low-cost today due to intensive farming. As a result, many food items are overproduced, resulting in reduced market prices. To make extensive farming profitable, you need a lot of lands. As a result, extensive methods are most commonly used in areas with low population density and inexpensive land.
Due to integrated agriculture’s goal of maximizing land productivity, its yield per hectare tends to be higher than that of extensive agriculture.
Effects on the environment
There are negative environmental impacts associated with both extensive and intensive farming. Intensive farming involves chemicals that negatively impact the environment and native species, while extensive farming requires large amounts of arable land and often results in deforestation. In addition, intensive farming contributes to deforestation. The world is deforested to grow the food used to feed animals in intensive farming.
Final Verdict on Intensive Animal Farming
Research suggests that establishing intensive, high-yield agriculture is the most efficient means of meeting rising food demand while preserving biodiversity. There are reports that intensive agriculture produces more greenhouse gases and damages the environment than organic agriculture.
However, due to the heavy use of chemicals and inhumane treatment of animals and workers, modern-day intensive farming has countless negative impacts on the environment, health, animal life, and neighborhoods.
Hopefully, now you know what intensive cultivation is and how it can be done. Stay tuned with Animal Farming How for more information about farm management, farming news, and more.