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Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to
extensive farming Extensive farming or extensive agriculture (as opposed to intensive farming) is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary ...
), conventional, or industrial agriculture, is a type of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of , whereby farming of species created food that enabled people to live in cities. The began thousands of ...

agriculture
, both of crop plants and of
animals Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular Multicellular organisms are organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the L ...
, with higher levels of input and output per unit of
agricultural land Agricultural land is typically land ''devoted to'' agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whe ...

agricultural land
area. It is characterized by a low
fallow Fallow is a farming technique in which arable land is left without sowing for one or more vegetative cycles. The goal of fallowing is to allow the land to recover and store Organic compound, organic matter while retaining moisture and disrupting ...
ratio, higher use of inputs such as
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
and
labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
, and higher
crop yield In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated specie ...
s per unit land area. Most
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

commercial
agriculture is intensive in one or more ways. Forms that rely heavily on industrial methods are often called industrial agriculture, which is characterised by
innovation Innovation is the practical implementation of that result in the introduction of new or or improvement in offering goods or services. in the standard ISO 56000:2020 defines innovation as "a new or changed entity realizing or redistributing ...

innovation
s designed to increase yield. Techniques include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years, and improving cultivars. It also involves increased use of
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
s, plant growth regulators, and
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pest (organism), pests. The term pesticide includes all of the following: herbicide, insecticides (which may include insect growth regulators, termiticides, etc.) nematicide, molluscicide, pi ...
s and
mechanised agriculture Mechanised agriculture is the process of using agricultural machinery Agricultural machinery relates to the machine (mechanical), mechanical structures and devices used in farming or other agriculture. There are list of agricultural machinery ...
, controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions, including weather,
soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms tha ...

soil
, water, weeds, and pests. Intensive farms are widespread in
developed nation Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN in 2008.A developed country, industrialized country (or post-industrial country), more developed countr ...

developed nation
s and increasingly prevalent worldwide. Most of the meat,
dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as ...
s,
eggs Egg An egg is the organic vessel containing the in which an develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from of an . Most s, (excluding s), and lay eggs, although some, such as s, do ...
, fruits, and vegetables available in
supermarket A supermarket is a self-service Retail#Types of outlets, shop offering a wide variety of food, Drink, beverages and Household goods, household products, organized into sections. This kind of store is larger and has a wider selection than earli ...

supermarket
s are produced by such farms. Some intensive farms can use
sustainable methods
sustainable methods
, although this typically necessitates higher inputs of labor or lower yields. Sustainably increasing
agricultural productivity Agricultural productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, ...
, especially on
smallholding A smallholding or smallholder is a small farm operating under a small-scale agriculture model. Definitions vary widely for what constitutes a smallholder or small-scale farm, including factors such as size, food production technique or technology ...
s, is an important way of decreasing the amount of land needed for farming and slowing
environmental degradation Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological facto ...
through processes like
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
. Since agriculture has such large impacts on climate change, Project Drawdown described "Sustainable Intensification for Smallholders" an important method for
climate change mitigation Climate change mitigation consists of actions to limit global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been , but the current cha ...
.
Intensive animal farming In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for form ...
involves large numbers of animals raised on limited land, for example by
rotational grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated speci ...
, or in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
sometimes as
concentrated animal feeding operation#REDIRECT Concentrated animal feeding operation In animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, ...
s. These methods increase the yields of food and fiber per acre as compared to extensive
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Ex ...
; concentrated feed is brought to seldom-moved animals, or with rotational grazing the animals are repeatedly moved to fresh forage.


History

Paddy-based has been practised in Korea since ancient times. A
pit-house A pit house (or ''pithouse'') is a large house in the ground (usually circular) used for shelter. Besides providing shelter from the most extreme of weather conditions Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the g ...
at the Daecheon-ni archaeological site yielded carbonized rice grains and radiocarbon dates indicating that rice cultivation may have begun as early as the Middle
Jeulmun Pottery Period The Jeulmun pottery period is an archaeological era in Prehistoric Korea, Korean prehistory broadly spanning the period of 8000–1500 BC. This period subsumes the Mesolithic and Neolithic cultural stages in Korea,Choe and Bale 2002 lasting c ...
(c. 3500–2000 BC) in the
Korean Peninsula Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korean Peninsula
. The earliest rice cultivation there may have used dry-fields instead of paddies. Agricultural development in Britain between the 16th century and the mid-19th century saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn contributed to unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, and thereby helped enable the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
. Historians cited
enclosure Enclosure or Inclosure is a term, used in English landownership, that refers to the appropriation of "waste" or "common land Common land is land owned by a person or collectively by a number of persons, over which other persons have certai ...

enclosure
,
mechanization Mechanization is the process of changing from working largely or exclusively by hand or with animals to doing that work with machinery. In an early engineering text a machine is defined as follows: In some fields, mechanization includes the ...
, four-field crop rotation, and
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding Animal breeding is a branch of animal science Animal science (also bioscience) is described as "studying the biology Biology i ...
as the most important innovations. Industrial agriculture arose in the Industrial Revolution. By the early 19th century, agricultural techniques, implements, seed stocks, and cultivars had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
. The industrialization phase involved a continuing process of mechanization. Horse-drawn machinery such as the
McCormick reaper Cyrus Hall McCormick (February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) was an American inventor and businessman who founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which later became part of the International Harvester Company The International Harve ...
revolutionized harvesting, while inventions such as the
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
reduced the cost of processing. During this same period, farmers began to use
steam-powered from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...
and
tractor A tractor is an engineering vehicle Heavy equipment or heavy machinery refers to heavy-duty vehicle Truck classifications are typically based upon the maximum loaded weight of the truck, typically using the gross vehicle weight ratin ...

tractor
s. In 1892, the first gasoline-powered tractor was successfully developed, and in 1923, the
International Harvester The International Harvester Company (often abbreviated by IHC or IH, or simply International (colloquialism, colloq.)) was an American manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment, automobiles, commercial trucks, lawn and garden produ ...
Farmall Farmall was a model name and later a brand name for tractor A tractor is an engineering vehicle specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort (or torque) at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a Trailer (vehicle), trailer or m ...

Farmall
tractor became the first all-purpose tractor, marking an inflection point in the replacement of draft animals with machines. Mechanical harvesters (), planters, transplanters, and other equipment were then developed, further revolutionizing agriculture. These inventions increased yields and allowed individual farmers to manage increasingly large farms. The identification of
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
,
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical el ...

phosphorus
, and
potassium Potassium is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, b ...

potassium
(NPK) as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
s, further increasing
crop yields In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated specie ...
. In 1909, the method to synthesize
ammonium nitrate Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held together ...

ammonium nitrate
was first demonstrated. NPK fertilizers stimulated the first concerns about industrial agriculture, due to concerns that they came with side effects such as
soil compaction In geotechnical engineering Geotechnical engineering, also known as geotechnics, is the branch of concerned with the engineering behavior of . It uses the principles of and for the solution of its respective problems. It also relies on k ...
,
soil erosion Soil erosion is the displacement of the upper layer of soil File:Stagnogley.JPG, Surface-water-Gley soil, gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that togeth ...

soil erosion
, and declines in overall
soil fertility Soil fertility refers to the ability of soil File:Stagnogley.JPG, Surface-water-Gley soil, gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support li ...
, along with health concerns about toxic chemicals . (ebook } The discovery of
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, ...
s and their role in
nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. It includes ingestion, Absorption (biology), absorption, Assimilation (biology), assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion. ...
, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which in the 1920s allowed some livestock to be raised indoors, reducing their exposure to adverse natural elements. Following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
synthetic fertilizer use increased rapidly. The discovery of
antibiotic An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial An antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system t ...
s and
vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity The adaptive immune system, also referred as the acquired immune system, is a subsystem of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological process ...

vaccine
s facilitated raising livestock by reducing diseases. Developments in logistics and refrigeration as well as processing technology made long-distance distribution feasible.
Integrated pest management Integrated pest management (IPM), also known as integrated pest control (IPC) is a broad-based approach that integrates practices for economic . IPM aims to suppress pest populations below the economic injury level (EIL). The UN's defines IPM as ...
is the modern method to minimize pesticide use to more sustainable levels. There are concerns over the
sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is ...

sustainability
of industrial agriculture, and the environmental effects of fertilizers and pesticides, which has given rise to the
organic movement The organic movement broadly refers to the organizations and individuals involved worldwide in the promotion of organic food Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but ...
and has built a market for sustainable intensive farming, as well as funding for the development of
appropriate technology Appropriate technology is a movement (and its manifestations) encompassing technological Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of Art t ...

appropriate technology
.


Techniques and technologies


Livestock


Pasture intensification

Pasture intensification is the improvement of
pasture Pasture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

pasture
soils and grasses to increase the food production potential of livestock systems. It is commonly used to reverse pasture
degradation Degradation may refer to: Science * Degradation (geology), lowering of a fluvial surface by erosion * Degradation (telecommunications), of an electronic signal * Biodegradation of organic substances by living organisms * Environmental degradation i ...
, a process characterized by loss of
forage Forage is a plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, se ...

forage
and decreased animal
carrying capacity The carrying capacity of an Natural environment, environment is the maximum population size of a biological species that can be sustained by that specific environment, given the food, habitat, Drinking water, water, and other resources available. T ...
which results from
overgrazing Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary hum ...

overgrazing
, poor nutrient management, and lack of
soil conservation Soil conservation is the prevention of loss of the top most layer of the soil from erosion In , erosion is the action of surface processes (such as or ) that removes , , or dissolved material from one location on the , and then it to anoth ...
. This degradation leads to poor pasture soils with decreased fertility and water availability and increased rates of erosion, compaction, and acidification. Degraded pastures have significantly lower
productivity Productivity is the efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do th ...
and higher
carbon footprint A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent Global warming potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhou ...

carbon footprint
s compared to intensified pastures. Management practices which improve soil health and consequently
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...
productivity include
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in seden ...

irrigation
, soil scarification, and the application of
lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime may also refer to: Botany * Austra ...
, fertilizers, and
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pest (organism), pests. The term pesticide includes all of the following: herbicide, insecticides (which may include insect growth regulators, termiticides, etc.) nematicide, molluscicide, pi ...
s. Depending on the productivity goals of the target agricultural system, more involved restoration projects can be undertaken to replace
invasive Invasive may refer to: *Invasive (medical) procedure *Invasive species *Invasive observation, especially in reference to surveillance *Invasively progressive spread of disease from one organ in the body to another, especially in reference to cancer, ...
and under-productive grasses with grass species that are better suited to the
soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms tha ...

soil
and
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
conditions of the region. These intensified grass systems allow higher stocking rates with faster animal weight gain and reduced time to slaughter, resulting in more productive, carbon-efficient
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
systems. Another technique to optimize
yield Yield may refer to: Measures of output/function Computer science * Yield (multithreading) is an action that occurs in a computer program during multithreading * See generator (computer programming) Physics/chemistry * Yield (chemistry), the amou ...
while maintaining the carbon balance is the use of integrated crop-livestock (ICL) and crop-livestock-forestry (ICLF) systems, which combine several ecosystems into one optimized agricultural framework. Correctly performed, such production systems are able to create synergies potentially providing benefits to pastures through optimal plant usage, improved and fattening rates, increased soil fertility and quality, intensified
nutrient cycling A nutrient cycle (or ecological recycling) is the movement and exchange of organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), organ Chemistry * Org ...

nutrient cycling
, integrated
pest control Pest control is the regulation or management of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often def ...
, and improved
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
. The introduction of certain
legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can ...

legume
crops to pastures can increase and
nitrogen fixation Nitrogen fixation is a chemical process by which molecular nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific st ...
in soils, while their digestibility helps animal fattening and reduces
methane emissions Increasing methane emissions are a major contributor to the rising concentration of greenhouse gas A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas that Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorbs and Emission (electromagnetic radia ...
from
enteric fermentation Enteric fermentation is a digestive process by which carbohydrates are broken down by microorganisms into simple molecules for absorption into the bloodstream of an animal. Because of human agricultural reliance in many parts of the world on animals ...
. Conversely, grazing animals can also be integrated into crops to increase land efficiency. An example is the integration of sheep into viticulture production. ICLs require a relatively high level of farmer knowledge and have been underrepresented in applied research. ICLF systems yield beef cattle productivity up to ten times that of degraded pastures, additional crop production from
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be ...

maize
,
sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circum ...

sorghum
, and
soybean The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation ...

soybean
harvests, and greatly reduced
greenhouse gas A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorbs and Emission (electromagnetic radiation), emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhou ...
balances due to forest carbon sequestration. In the Twelve Aprils grazing program for dairy production, developed by the
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
- SARE forage crops for dairy herds are planted into a
perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, thr ...
pasture.


Rotational grazing

Rotational grazing is a variety of foraging in which herds or flocks are regularly and systematically moved to fresh, rested grazing areas (sometimes called paddocks) to maximize the quality and quantity of forage growth. It can be used with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other animals. The herds graze one portion of pasture, or a paddock, while allowing the others to recover. Resting grazed lands allows the vegetation to renew energy reserves, rebuild shoot systems, and deepen root systems, resulting in long-term maximum
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position ...

biomass
production. Pasture systems alone can allow grazers to meet their energy requirements, but rotational grazing is especially effective because grazers thrive on the more tender younger plant stems. Parasites are also left behind to die off, minimizing or eliminating the need for de-wormers. With the increased productivity of rotational systems, the animals may need less supplemental feed than in continuous grazing systems. Farmers can therefore increase stocking rates.


Concentrated animal feeding operations

Intensive livestock farming or "factory farming", is the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density.Kaufmann, Mark
"Largest Pork Processor to Phase Out Crates"
''The Washington Post'', January 26, 2007.
"EU tackles BSE crisis"
BBC News, November 29, 2000.
"
Concentrated animal feeding operations In animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock ...
" (CAFO), or "intensive livestock operations", can hold large numbers (some up to hundreds of thousands) of cows, hogs, turkeys, or chickens, often indoors. The essence of such farms is the concentration of livestock in a given space. The aim is to provide maximum output at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest level of food safety. The term is often used pejoratively. CAFOs have dramatically increased the production of food from animal husbandry worldwide, both in terms of total food produced and efficiency. Food and water is delivered to the animals, and therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents, vitamin supplements, and growth hormones are often employed. Growth hormones are not used on chickens nor on any animal in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. Undesirable behaviors often related to the stress of confinement led to a search for docile breeds (e.g., with natural dominant behaviors bred out), physical restraints to stop interaction, such as individual cages for chickens, or physical modification such as the
debeaking Debeaking, beak trimming (also spelt beak-trimming), or beak conditioning is the partial removal of the beak of poultry, especially chicken, layer hens and domesticated turkey, turkeys although it may also be performed on quail and ducks. Most com ...
of chickens to reduce the harm of fighting. The CAFO designation resulted from the 1972 U.S.
Federal Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Its objective is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters; recognizing the responsibilities ...
, which was enacted to protect and restore lakes and rivers to a "fishable, swimmable" quality. The
United States Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. President Richard Nixon pro ...
identified certain animal feeding operations, along with many other types of industry, as "point source"
groundwater Groundwater is the water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known form ...

groundwater
polluters. These operations were subjected to regulation. In 17 states in the U.S., isolated cases of
groundwater contamination Groundwater pollution (also called groundwater contamination) occurs when pollutants are released to the ground and make their way down into groundwater Groundwater is the water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparenc ...
were linked to CAFOs. For example, the ten million hogs in North Carolina generate 19 million tons of waste per year. The U.S. federal government acknowledges the
waste disposal Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthles ...

waste disposal
issue and requires that animal waste be stored in
lagoons Garabogaz-Göl lagoon in Turkmenistan A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, such as reefs, barrier islands, barrier peninsulas, or isthmuses. Lagoons are commonly divided into ''coast ...
. These lagoons can be as large as . Lagoons not protected with an impermeable liner can leak into groundwater under some conditions, as can runoff from manure used as fertilizer. A lagoon that burst in 1995 released 25 million gallons of nitrous sludge in North Carolina's New River. The spill allegedly killed eight to ten million fish. The large concentration of animals, animal waste, and dead animals in a small space poses ethical issues to some consumers. Animal rights and
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as ...
activists have charged that intensive animal rearing is cruel to animals.


Crops

The
Green Revolution The Green Revolution, or the Third Agricultural Revolution (after the Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrel ...

Green Revolution
transformed farming in many developing countries. It spread technologies that had already existed, but had not been widely used outside of industrialized nations. These technologies included "miracle seeds", pesticides, irrigation, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.Brown, 1970.


Seeds

In the 1970s, scientists created high-yielding varieties of maize,
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common wheat (''Triticum aestivum'' ...

wheat
, and rice. These have an increased nitrogen-absorbing potential compared to other varieties. Since cereals that absorbed extra nitrogen would typically lodge (fall over) before harvest, semi-dwarfing genes were bred into their genomes.
Norin 10 wheat is a semi-dwarf wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common whe ...
, a variety developed by Orville Vogel from Japanese varieties, was instrumental in developing wheat cultivars. IR8, the first widely implemented high-yielding rice to be developed by the
International Rice Research Institute The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international agricultural research Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that ar ...
, was created through a cross between an Indonesian variety named "Peta" and a Chinese variety named "Dee Geo Woo Gen". With the availability of molecular genetics in
Arabidopsis ''Arabidopsis'' (rockcress) is a genus in the family Brassicaceae Brassicaceae () or Cruciferae () is a medium-sized and economically important Family (biology), family of flowering plants commonly known as the mustards, the crucifers, or the c ...

Arabidopsis
and rice the mutant genes responsible (''reduced height (rht)'', ''gibberellin insensitive (gai1)'' and ''slender rice (slr1)'') have been cloned and identified as cellular signalling components of
gibberellic acid Gibberellic acid (also called gibberellin A3, GA, and GA3) is a Plant hormone, hormone found in plants and fungi. Its chemical formula is C19H22O6. When purified, it is a white to pale-yellow solid. Plants in their normal state produce large amou ...

gibberellic acid
, a phytohormone involved in regulating stem growth via its effect on cell division. Photosynthate investment in the stem is reduced dramatically in shorter plants and nutrients become redirected to grain production, amplifying in particular the yield effect of chemical fertilizers. High-yielding varieties outperformed traditional varieties several fold and responded better to the addition of irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers. is utilized in many important crops to greatly increase yields for farmers. However, the advantage is lost for the progeny of the
F1 hybrids An F1 Hybrid (also known as filial 1 hybrid) is the first filial generation of offspring of distinctly different parental types. F1 hybrids are used in genetics, and in selective breeding, where it may appear as F1 crossbreed. The term is sometimes ...
, meaning seeds for annual crops need to be purchased every season, thus increasing costs and profits for farmers.


Crop rotation

Crop rotation or crop sequencing is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space in sequential seasons for benefits such as avoiding pathogen and pest buildup that occurs when one species is continuously cropped. Crop rotation also seeks to balance the nutrient demands of various crops to avoid soil nutrient depletion. A traditional component of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of legumes and green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. A related technique is to plant multi-species cover crops between commercial crops. This combines the advantages of intensive farming with continuous cover and polyculture.


Irrigation

Crop irrigation accounts for 70% of the world's fresh water use. Surface irrigation, Flood irrigation, the oldest and most common type, is typically unevenly distributed, as parts of a field may receive excess water in order to deliver sufficient quantities to other parts. Irrigation#Overhead (sprinkler) irrigation, Overhead irrigation, using center-pivot or lateral-moving sprinklers, gives a much more equal and controlled distribution pattern. Drip irrigation is the most expensive and least-used type, but delivers water to plant roots with minimal losses. Water catchment management measures include recharge pits, which capture rainwater and runoff and use it to recharge groundwater supplies. This helps in the replenishment of groundwater wells and eventually reduces soil erosion. Dammed rivers creating reservoirs store water for irrigation and other uses over large areas. Smaller areas sometimes use irrigation ponds or groundwater.


Weed control

In agriculture, systematic weed management is usually required, often performed by machines such as cultivators or liquid herbicide sprayers. Herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often based on plant hormones. Weed control through herbicide is made more difficult when the weeds become resistant to the herbicide. Solutions include: * Cover crops (especially those with allelopathic properties) that out-compete weeds or inhibit their regeneration * Multiple herbicides, in combination or in rotation * Strains genetically engineered for herbicide tolerance * Locally adapted strains that tolerate or out-compete weeds * Tilling * Ground cover such as mulch or plastic * Manual removal * Mowing * Grazing * Burning


Terracing

In
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of , whereby farming of species created food that enabled people to live in cities. The began thousands of ...

agriculture
, a Terrace (agriculture), terrace is a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments, like contour ploughing, are a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines. In Peru, the Tahuantinsuyu, Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by building drystone walls to create terraces known as Andéns.


Rice paddies

A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other Aquatic plant, semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice-growing countries of East Asia, east and southeast Asia, including Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. They are also found in other rice-growing regions such as Piedmont (Italy), the Camargue (France), and the Artibonite Valley (Haiti). They can occur naturally along rivers or marshes, or can be constructed, even on hillsides. They require large water quantities for irrigation, much of it from flooding. It gives an environment favourable to the strain of rice being grown, and is hostile to many species of weeds. As the only draft animal species which is comfortable in wetlands, the water buffalo is in widespread use in Asian rice paddies. A recent development in the intensive production of rice is the System of Rice Intensification. Developed in 1983 by the France, French Jesuit Priest, Father Henri de Laulanie, Henri de Laulanié in Madagascar,Intensive Rice Farming in Madagascar
by H. De Laulanié, i
Tropicultura
2011, 29, 3, 183–187
by 2013 the number of smallholder farmers using the system had grown to between 4 and 5 million.


Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the cultivation of the natural products of water (fish, shellfish, algae, seaweed, and other aquatic organisms). Intensive aquaculture takes place on land using tanks, ponds, or other controlled systems, or in the ocean, using cages.


Sustainability

Intensive farming practices which are thought to be Sustainable farming, sustainable have been developed to slow the deterioration of agricultural land and even regenerate soil health and ecosystem services. These developments may fall in the category of organic farming, or the integration of organic and conventional agriculture. Pasture cropping involves planting grain crops directly into grassland without first applying herbicides. The perennial grasses form a living mulch understory to the grain crop, eliminating the need to plant cover crops after harvest. The pasture is intensively grazed both before and after grain production. This intensive system yields equivalent farmer profits (partly from increased livestock forage) while building new topsoil and Carbon sequestration, sequestering up to 33 tons of CO2/ha/year. Biointensive agriculture focuses on maximizing efficiency such as per unit area, energy input and water input. Agroforestry combines agriculture and orchard/forestry technologies to create more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems. Intercropping can increase yields or reduce inputs and thus represents (potentially sustainable) agricultural intensification. However, while total yield per acre is often increased, yields of any single crop often diminish. There are also challenges to farmers relying on farming equipment optimized for monoculture, often resulting in increased labor inputs. Vertical farming is intensive crop production on a large scale in urban centers, in multi-story, artificially-lit structures, for the production of low-calorie foods like herbs, microgreens, and lettuce. An integrated farming system is a progressive, sustainable agriculture system such as zero waste agriculture or integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, which involves the interactions of multiple species. Elements of this integration can include: * Intentionally introducing flowering plants into agricultural ecosystems to increase pollen-and nectar-resources required by natural enemies of insect pests * Using crop rotation and cover crops to suppress nematodes in potatoes * Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture is a practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
s, food) for another. Holistic management was originally developed for reversing desertification. Holistic planned grazing is similar to rotational grazing but accentuates the four principles of the water cycle, the mineral cycles (including the carbon cycle), Energy flow (ecology), energy flow and ecology.


Challenges

The challenges and issues of industrial agriculture for society, for the sector, and for animal rights, include the costs and benefits of both current practices and proposed changes to those practices. This is a continuation of thousands of years of invention in feeding growing populations.


Population growth

Very roughly: * 30,000 years ago hunter-gatherer behavior fed 6 million people * 3,000 years ago primitive agriculture fed 60 million people * 300 years ago a more intensive agriculture fed 600 million people * Today industrial agriculture attempts to feed 8 billion people Between 1930 and 2000, U.S. agricultural productivity (output divided by all inputs) rose by an average of about 2 percent annually, causing food prices to decrease. "The percentage of U.S. disposable income spent on food prepared at home decreased, from 22 percent as late as 1950 to 7 percent by the end of the century."


Other impacts


Environmental

Industrial agriculture uses huge amounts of water, World energy resources and consumption, energy, and Chemical industry, industrial chemicals, increasing pollution in the Land pollution, arable land, Water pollution, usable water, and Air pollution, atmosphere. Herbicides, insecticides, and
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertilizer
s accumulate in Groundwater, ground and surface waters. Industrial agricultural practices are one of the main drivers of global warming, accounting for 14–28% of net Greenhouse-gas emissions. Many of the negative effects of industrial agriculture may emerge at some distance from fields and farms. Nitrogen compounds from the Midwest, for example, travel down the Mississippi to degrade coastal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, causing so-called oceanic dead zones. But other adverse effects show up within agricultural production systems—for example, the rapidly developing resistance among pests renders herbicides and insecticides increasingly ineffective. Agrochemicals have been implicated in colony collapse disorder, in which the individual members of bee colonies disappear. (Agricultural production is highly dependent on bees to pollinate many varieties of fruits and vegetables.) Intensive monoculture increases the risk of failures due to Pest (agriculture), pests, adverse weather and disease.


Social

A study for the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment concluded that regarding industrial agriculture, there is a "negative relationship between the trend toward increasing farm size and the social conditions in rural communities" on a "statistical level". Agricultural monoculture can entail social and economic risks.


See also

* Convertible husbandry * Dryland farming * Environmental issues with agriculture *
Green Revolution The Green Revolution, or the Third Agricultural Revolution (after the Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrel ...

Green Revolution
* Industrial crop * Pekarangan * Small-scale agriculture *
Intensive animal farming In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for form ...


References


External links


Fall 2012 Farm Values Report
* {{Industries Intensive farming, Commercial farming