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Extensive Farming, Meaning, Examples, Advantages & Disadvantages

Extensive Farming

Extensive farming is a method of farming that employs large agricultural machinery, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and agricultural research and involves huge capital. It is practised where huge cultivable land is available for agriculture, and there is low population density. Hence, this type of farming is widely found in Argentina, Australia, parts of the U.S.A., Canada, Ukraine, and Russia, where the population is low and cultivable land is plenty. When compared to the quantity of land being farmed, extensive farming is an agricultural production approach that uses low labour, fertiliser, and capital inputs.

In agricultural economics, extensive agriculture is a method of crop production that consumes little labour and resources compared to the area being farmed.

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Extensive Farming Nature & Method of Cultivation

Extensive Farming is highly mechanized. Machines are involved, from ploughing to harvesting. This includes the work of ploughing, ground preparing, seeding, manuring, spraying insecticides, and even harvesting.

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Extensive Farming Examples of Crops Grown

In extensive farming, many crops are grown. However, the most popular crops grown on large-sized farmlands are wheat, maize, millets, corn, cotton, and fodders for animal rearing.

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Extensive Farming Areas of Practice

Extensive farming is practised in regions of large farmlands where the population is too low to cultivate all the lands. To solve the issues of limited labour, highly sophisticated agricultural machines and equipment are used to cultivate the land. This farming is found in the Prairies of the U.S.A. and Canada in North America, the Pampas of South America in Argentina, the Veld of South Africa, the Downs of Australia, and the Steppes of Eurasia., Thus, we see that it is widely practised in the temperate grassland regions of the world.

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Extensive Farming Characteristics

Extensive farming is, characterized by the following features:

  • Farmlands are extensive, covering over a few hundred hectares of land.
  • Due to the scarce populations, the labour supply is generally inadequate. Hence, cultivation mainly depends on the machine.
  • Extensive farming is, in fact, capital-intensive farming. It requires skilled labour, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and agricultural machines.
  • Labour wages are high because of the short supply of agricultural labour.
  • In extensive farming, a selection of crops is made which is most suitable for the farmland environment.
  • Per hectare yield is low, but per capita production is high.
  • This farming is highly market-oriented. Hence, the selection of crops depends on the demand of the market. Sometimes, international markets become the determinant factor.
  • Wheat is a major food grain; it is followed by maize and corn.
  • It has great importance for raising food and fodder crops. Often cotton is cultivated and raised in this farming as a cash crop.
  • Single cropping or monoculture is the most striking feature of the cropping pattern in extensive farming.
  • Sometimes, raising cattle and livestock becomes an important feature of this farming.
  • The cost of production is minimum; because machines do the work in the agricultural field.

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Extensive Farming Advantages

  • Total production in this farming is quite large; hence farmers get handsome profits.
  • Production cost is low; therefore, marginal profits are high.

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Extensive Farming Disadvantages

  • Extensive farming is capital-intensive; therefore, initial capital investment is high.
  • (Dearth of skilled agricultural labour often poses a problem in these lands of low population density.

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Extensive Farming and Intensive Farming

Extensive farming and intensive farming are two different types of agricultural practices. The main differences between the two are in the level of inputs and the amount of land used.

Extensive Farming Intensive Farming
  • Extensive farming refers to a type of agriculture where a large area of land is used to produce relatively low yields of crops or livestock.
  • Extensive farming methods typically involve minimal use of inputs, such as fertilizers or pesticides, and rely on natural rainfall for irrigation.
  • This type of farming is commonly found in areas where land is abundant, and labour is scarce. Examples of extensive farming practices include pastoralism and ranching.
  • Intensive farming, on the other hand, refers to a type of agriculture where a smaller area of land is used to produce high yields of crops or livestock.
  • Intensive farming methods often involve the use of high inputs, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation.
  • This type of farming is typically found in areas where land is scarce and labour is relatively abundant. Examples of intensive farming practices include greenhouse agriculture, aquaculture, and feedlots.

Differences Between Extensive and Intensive Farming

Some key differences between extensive and intensive farming include:

  • Land Use: Extensive farming uses a large area of land to produce relatively low yields, while intensive farming uses a smaller area of land to produce high yields.
  • Input Use: Extensive farming involves minimal use of inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides, while intensive farming involves high use of inputs to maximize yields.
  • Labour: Extensive farming requires relatively little labour, while intensive farming requires more labour to manage the high inputs and production levels.
  • Environmental Impact: Intensive farming practices can have a higher environmental impact due to the use of high inputs and the potential for pollution, while extensive farming practices often rely on natural resources and have a lower impact.

In summary, extensive and intensive farming are two different agricultural practices that vary in the amount of land and inputs used to produce crops or livestock. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of farming method depends on local conditions, resources, and goals.

Extensive Farming UPSC

The quantity of labour and capital inputs required to grow farms determines the difference between extensive farming and intensive farming. Compared to the quantity of land it uses, intensive farming requires a lot of labour and resources. Extensive farming, on the other hand, entails growing big farms with comparatively fewer labour and capital inputs.

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Other Indian Geography Topics

Seasons of India Mountains of India
Mangrove Forests in India Important Mountain Passes in India
Monsoon in India
Indus River System
Climate of India
Rivers of India
Tributaries of Ganga
National Parks in India
Important Dams in India
Wildlife Sanctuaries of India
Tiger Reserves in India
Northern Plains of India
Physiography of India
Important Lakes of India
Wetlands in India
Biodiversity in India
Natural Vegetation in India Earthquakes in India
Types of Soil in India
Ramsar Sites in India
Brahmaputra River System
Hydropower Plants in India
Nuclear Power Plants in India
Major Ports in India
Biosphere Reserves in India
Waterfalls in India

Other Fundamental Geography Topics

Solar System Types of Clouds
Structure of the Atmosphere Himalayan Ranges
Component of Environment
El Nino and La Nina
Coral Reef
Continental Drift Theory
Endogenic and Exogenic Forces
Indian Ocean Region
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean Dipole
Air Pollution
Environmental Impact Assessment
Tropical Cyclone
Western Disturbances
Types of Rocks

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What is intensive farming and extensive farming?

Intensive farming is an agricultural system that makes extensive use of labour and capital in relation to land area. Extensive farming is a farming system that cultivates large farms with moderately lower inputs, such as capital and labour. It is observed in densely populated areas.

What is extensive farming also called?

Commercial grain farming is another name for extensive agriculture. It entails growing grains such as wheat, rice, oats, and maize for market sale.

Can you explain the difference between extensive and intensive farming?

Intensive farming involves putting a lot of resources and labour into small plots of land to increase yield. Extensive agriculture, on the other hand, uses larger areas of land and less labour and resources.

What is the extensive farming example?

Extensive farming is most commonly associated with raising sheep and cattle in areas with low agricultural productivity, but it also includes large-scale wheat, barley, cooking oils, and other grain crops in areas such as Australia's Murray-Darling Basin.

What are the three main features of extensive farming?

● Crops are grown on large plots of land
● Extensive agriculture is practised in areas with low population density.
● Typically, extensive agriculture focuses on a single crop.


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