What is the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture?

What is the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture?

What is the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture?

As in some terms, aspects, etc. There are different types, in agriculture it also happens the same. In this case, there are several models of this and two of them are the most used in terms of production: intensive and extensive. However, knowing the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture is not easy, especially when you don’t have much idea what we are referring to.

If you want to dedicate yourself a little more thoroughly to agriculture, these terms you should know what they mean because they can help you decide the type of agricultural production method that you are going to carry out. We tell you more below.

Let’s talk about intensive agriculture

green and plowed field

green and plowed field

Before introducing you to the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture, it is important that you know what each term implies.

The Intensive agriculture is a production method with which production is maximized in the short term.. That is, it seeks to achieve a high amount of production. And for this, different means are used for this purpose. For example, use of special seeds, special irrigation, specialized machinery, fertilizers and fertilizers, phytosanitary products and pesticides…

The objective is get the land cultivated twice a year; one for spring and summer; and another for autumn and winter.

Among the advantages that this method offers us, there is no doubt that one of the first is the possibility of increasing crop production. That is, to get more products per harvest. In addition, they are less expensive in the sense that, being faster, they consume less. And they require less time since crops are influenced to shorten their production time (thus sacrificing quality).

The problem, which you have surely noticed, is that this can have consequences in the medium and long term on earth. As desertification can be when abusing it (the land ends up consuming its nutrients and in the end it stops being productive). In addition, with the use of chemical products, the soil can be damaged or a resistance to the products can be ended, which makes it necessary to use more powerful ones (which can alter the crops).

This type of agricultural production is the one that is used above all in developed countries and by farmers since it seeks to maximize production to obtain more crops and with it a practically constant remuneration.

All about extensive agriculture

panorama of a rice field

panorama of a rice field

If we now focus on extensive agriculture, you should know that it is based on a production model that follows the natural rhythm of natural resources. In other words, the usual life cycle of the crops is followed, as well as the land.

In this case, the means of production that speed up the process are not used, nor is production the objective, but rather quality and care for the environment.

To carry out, natural techniques are used (planting, care, etc.) trying not to affect it with chemical products and giving the crops their time so that they develop naturally (not accelerating them). By not using machinery abusively, or using chemical products, much less exploiting the soil, it remains healthier, allowing it to recover between harvests and promoting biodiversity.

For the consumer too There are advantages since the products that reach the stores are of higher quality, health and flavor. But that entails a higher price because they are foods that cannot be found all year round and have needed more care in the time they have been in the field.

In summary, The advantages of extensive agriculture are the following:

  • Not so much machinery is needed, in fact manual work prevails over mechanics.
  • The soil doesn’t need that much work. If it is well nourished, you just have to patiently let it do the work.
  • Fertilizers are not used, nor are pests and diseases to be treated (and if they are, less harmful and invasive treatments are used).

now also It has disadvantages, such as not getting a high production, nor to be able to exploit the fields two or more times. This implies that the crops take longer to be ready, which implies a lower profit from each harvest.

The difference between intensive and extensive agriculture

field of apple trees with fruit

field of apple trees with fruit

Now that you have known what intensive and extensive agriculture is, it is possible that it is clearer to you what is the difference between the two. But just in case, we summarize below the differences between them.

  • Intensive agriculture is based on an invasive method, since it seeks to maximize the production of the soil and for this it applies treatments to achieve its objective. On the other hand, with extensive agriculture, resources are respected and time is left for each crop.
  • The intensive agriculturedue to this maximization of production, requires more labor and machinery than the extensive
  • There’s a increased consumption of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides in intensive agriculture than in extensive. Where respect for the environment and organic farming and without the use of chemical products, but natural ones, are prioritized.
  • Regarding land, in intensive agriculture It seeks to make the most of it in the shortest possible time., having to be very aware of him to prevent him from becoming infertile. On the other hand, in the extensive one, by not influencing it, it can last much longer.

Currently, extensive agriculture is spreading in all countries because they seek not to harm the environment and at the same time obtain better quality food.

Even so, not all countries carry it out yet. For now, only in the United States, Argentina, Africa and Asia have they been the ones that are betting on this method of agricultural production. Sometimes even combining it with the intensive.

Of the crops, the ones that stand out the most are cereal and forage plants.

Now that you know the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture, which of the two would you choose?

What is the difference between intensive and extensive agriculture?

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