If you think of the country life of the past, you will surely be thinking ofextensive agriculture.
In its traditional meaning, the termextensive agriculturesees the limited use of machinery and minimal investments for plant protection products and machinations. This type of agriculture prefers thehuman laborand is the antithesis ofintensive agriculture.
L'intensive agricultureprovides for the use of extensive soils or even small plots of land which, however, are not exploited to the maximum as part of the soil must be left to rest (fallow).
Today, unfortunately, it is no longer possible to talk aboutextensive agriculturein its traditional meaning. There are few agricultural realities that manage the soil "as it once was ".If you exclude small farmers and agricultural laborers, examples ofextensive large-scale agricultureso much so that even themeaningof the term has been "distorted".
When the term "extensive agriculture" refers to large-scale production, it is referred to as a set ofagronomic techniqueswhich aim to produce the maximum yield per unit of people employed. We speak of "guaranteed profit" because it involves the use of a large vastness of land.
L'extensive agricultureon a large scale it is in use only indeveloping countries of African, Asian, of Eastern Europe and Latin America. More than a choice, that of developing areas is a need induced by low investments for the purchase of agricultural vehicles.
In our country, the rare examples concern only forage or cereal crops which, by their nature, do not require particular techniques.intensive.
Small businesses that practice extensive agriculture, in general, can also associate farming with livestock.
Commercial examples ofextensive agriculturethey come from countries such as Australia or the Murray-Darling Basin: in these areas the available soil is very high. Hectares and hectares of flat land with very large farms. Here the land is not particularly worked and the yields are significant only because the available area is very high.
Not onlycultivation. When it comes toagriculturewe only think of the fields but there are other aspects related to agriculture: livestock breeding and pastoralism.
Nomadic herding is one of the oldest forms of farming and can be seen as an extreme example of extensive agriculture: shepherds move sheep over large areas, sheep feed on occasional feed, and water is mostly guaranteed by rainfall. .
What are the advantages?
The environmental benefits are immediate and obvious. The only disadvantage is linked to the need for large areas in which to operate, while the economic advantages include:
- Completely absent terracing and other soil works
- Use of weighted agricultural machinery
- Greater work efficiency
- Animal welfare guaranteed in the case of a farm associated with agricultural activity
- Low need for fertilizers
A definition that can really satisfy the meaning of this extensive agricultural practice is missing. For those looking for a definition we say that:
"L'extensive agricultureit's acultivation system which involves low investments and scarce manpower in proportion to the cultivated land. "
If theintensive agriculture aims to make the most of every cm of soil, with the extensive model much is left to chance. Intensive agriculture sees a completely different economic model. The investments are huge and are aimed at:
- Ensure maximum manpower
- Apply ferilizers and insecticides on a large scale
- Use of herbcides and fungicides to protect crops
- Frequent tillage
- Harvesting and other operations are mechanized
Since theextensive agricultureproduces alower yieldper unit of land, hiscommercial useit requires large amounts of land. In practice, one can point to extensive agricultural techniques when thesoil is not very fertile but it is extensiveand there is little capital to invest. From a commercial point of view, theextensive agricultural modelit is practiced both in developing countries (due to lack of investors) and in countries where population density is low and therefore there is a low demand for primary goods.
Integrated and sustainable agriculture
Two agricultural models that can be consideredethicalthey are that of integrated agriculture and sustainable agriculture. Both models differ from the much acclaimed and talked about biological agriculture.
L'biological agriculture it can be compared more easily to intensive agriculture than to the extensive model. Similarly to intensive agriculture, the organic method uses plant protection products (albeit less aggressive) and fertilizers in order to maximize production at any cost. For more information on ethical agricultural techniques:
- Sustainable agriculture
- Integrated agriculture