Industrial farming also termed intensive farming or intensive agriculture is a type of agriculture for both crops and animals with higher levels of input and output unit of agricultural land.
It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs like capital and labor, and higher crop yields per unit land area.
More commercial agriculture is intensive in one or more ways.
The type which depends on industrial methods is termed industrial agriculture which is characterized by innovations designed to increase the yield of the crops.
These techniques include:
- planting multiple crops per year,
- reducing the frequency of fallow years
- and improving cultivators.
Moreover, it also involves an increase in the use of fertilizers. plant growth regulators and pesticides and mechanized agriculture controlled by an increased and detailed analysis of growing conditions, that includes weather, soil, weeds, and pests.
Intensive farms are widespread in developed countries and are increasing worldwide. Most of the meant dairy products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables available today are products of such farms.
Some Industrial farms use sustainable methods although they may have higher inputs of labor or lower yields.
Moreover, agriculture has a large impact on climate change.
Intensive animal farming involves a large number of animals raised on a limited piece of land, for instance, rational grazing or concentrated animal feeding operations.
This method increases the yields and fiber per acre as compared to extensive Manila husbandry, and the animals seldom move
Different Techniques and Technologies of Industrial Farming
There are a number of techniques and technologies in Industrial Farming.
For instance in livestock farming they implement:
- Pasture intensification
- Rotational Grazing
- Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
For Crops they implement:
- Crop Rotation
- Weed Control
Moreover, they have implications for aquaculture as well.
Let us discuss these step by step.
Intensive Animal Farming
Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production is a type of industrial farming that specific approach to animal husbandry designed to maximize production while minimizing costs.
To achieve this goal, the businessmen keep the livestock like cattle, poultry, and fish at high stocking densities, at a large scale, and using modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade.
This involves the improvement of pasture soils and grasses to increase the food production potential of Livestock Systems.
Is commonly used to reverse pasture degradation and decrease animal carrying capacity which results in overgrazing, poor nutrient management, and lack of soil conservation.
Degraded pastures have low productivity and higher Carbon Footprint than intensified pastures.
Moreover, management practices that improve soil health, and grass productivity include irrigation, soil scarification, and the application of lime, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Another technique to optimize the yield while maintaining the carbon balance is the use of Integrated Crop-Livestock ICL and Crop Livestock-Forestry ICLS systems.
These combine several ecosystems into one to optimize the agricultural framework.
This is a variety of foraging in which herds or flocks regularly and systematically move to fresh, resting graze the area, to maximize the quality and quantity of forage growth.
It involves the use of cattle with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other animals. The herd grazes over one area of the pasture while the other part recovers.
This allows the vegetation to renew energy reserves, rebuild shoot systems and deepen root systems resulting in long-term biomass production.
Rotational Grazing is effective as it thrives on more tender younger plant stems and parasites are also left behind to die off.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Concentrated Manila feeding operations hold a large number of animals often indoors. The essence of such farms is the concentration of livestock in a given space.
Moreover, they aim to provide maximum output at the lowest possible cost with the greatest level of food security.
CAFOs dramatically increase the food production from animals both in terms of food produced and efficiency.
In this system, food and water are deliver and therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents, vitamin supplements, and growth hormones are employed.
Intensive Crop Farming
This crop farming method includes the use of innovation in agricultural machinery, farming methods,genetic-engineering technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production and global trade.
Moreover, the identification of nitrogen and phosphorus as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers, making more intensive uses of farmland for crop production possible.
With time, scientists have been able to develop high-yielding varieties of maize, wheat, and rice. They have increased nitrogen absorbing potential than other varieties.
New varieties of these seeds are more effective in absorbing nitrogen that gives maximum yields.
Photosynthate investment in the stem is reduced in shorter plants and nutrients are more directed to grain production, amplifying, in particular, the yield effect of chemical fertilizers.
Moreover, Hybrid vigor is utilized in many important crops to greatly increase yields for farmers.
This is a practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space for benefits such as avoiding pathogens and pest buildup that occurs when a certain species of crops is frequently cropped.
Moreover, crop rotation also aims to balance the nutrients demands of various crops to avoid soil nutrient depletion.
A component of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of legumes and green manure in sequence with cereal and other crops.
It also improves soil structure and fertility by altering deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. A more related technique is to plant multi-species cover crops between commercial crops.
This combines the advantages of intensive farming with continuous cover and polyculture.
Crop irrigation accounts for 70% of the freshwater of the world. Moreover, flood irrigation is the oldest and common type, which uses excess water to deliver a sufficient amount of nutrients to the plants.
Overhead irrigation uses center pivot or lateral moving sprinkles that provide a more equal distribution of water.
Drip Irrigation is, however, an expensive and lead-used method but delivers water to plant roots with minimal losses.
Water Catchment includes recharge pits that capture rainwater and runoff and use it to recharge groundwater supplies. This helps in the replenishment of groundwater wells and reduces soil erosion.
This technique uses multiple terraces, giving a step appearance. Rice cultivation in these farms is mostly observable in Bali, Bacue, Philippines, Peru, and Inca Islands.
Weed control is an important part of systematic agriculture and is often performed by machines such as cultivators or liquid herbicide sprayers.
Herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the crop unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and on plant hormones.
It is made more difficult when weed becomes resistant to the herbicide. Solutions include Cover Crops, multiple herbicides, tilling, ground cover, manual removal, mowing, grazing, or burning the weed.
5 Things You Should Know About Industrial Farming
There was a time when industrial farming was beneficial for the fast-growing population of the world.
Synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, and high yield cereal hybrids effectively reduced hunger, accommodated growing populations, and stimulate economic prosperity.
But not everything goes as planned. It has taken a heavy toll on the environment and raised serious concerns about the future production of food.
Here are the 5 things you should know about industrial farming
1. It is not As it Seems
According to some estimates, industrial farming producers greenhouse gas, thereby polluting air and water and destroying wildlife.
Moreover, it costs the environment the equivalent of US $3 trillion every year.
External costs like funds companies need to purify the contamination in the drinking water or to treat diseases to poor nutrients.
This means the community and taxpayers are picking up the tab without even realizing it.
2. Spread of Viruses
Genetic diversity provides animals with natural disease resistance, however, intensive livestock farming can produce genetic similarities within flocks and herds.
This makes them even more suspectable to pathogens nad if kept in close proximity, viruses can spread easily among them.
This farming can effectively serve as a bridge for pathogens allowing them to pass from wild animals to farm animals and then to humans.
3. Zoonotic Diseases
Clearing forests i.e. deforestation and killing wildlife to make space for agriculture and moving farms near the urban centers can destroy the natural buffers that protect humans from different viruses that the circulating in the wildlife.
According to the UNEP assessment, increasing demand for animal protein, unstained agricultural intensification, and climate change are among the human factors that are affecting the emergence of zoonotic diseases.
4. Antimicrobial Resistance
In addition to preventing and treating diseases, antimicrobials accelerate livestock growth.
With time, microorganisms develop resistance and make antimicrobials less effective than medicine. More than 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year, according to a study.
According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance “threatens the achievements of modern medicine” and may precipitate “a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can kill.”
5. Adverse Health Effects of Pesticides
This results in adverse health effects to the body of a human, according to WHO.
Moreover, studies show that some pesticides act as endocrine disruptors affecting reproductive functions, increasing the chances of breast cancer, causing abnormal growth patterns and developmental delays in children, and altering immune functions.
To Conclude It
Academics point out the intensive growth in agriculture farming was not only due to an increase in demand for more food from less land, there are many other options to increase productivity without mistreating the environment and the livestock.
One of these is Regenerative Farms that use less amount of fertilizers and pesticides while improving soil health and diverse crop rotations. These factory farms use natural resources and fossil fuels causing water pollution, dead zones, and health impacts.
Moreover, low-confinement systems of animal production not only benefit the health and well-being of livestock but also offer significant environmental benefits. You can take steps like the United States to reduce the harmful effects on the environment.