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Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming

Last updated date: 22nd Mar 2024
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An Introduction to Intensive and Extensive Farming

In order to understand the difference between Intensive and Extensive farming, one must be aware of farming, its purpose, and its types.

Meaning of Farming

Crop farming and animal husbandry include raising animals for food and raw resources. Agriculture includes farming.

Although no one is certain of the exact age, agriculture likely began thousands of years ago. The Neolithic Revolution was sparked by the advent of farming, which led to a shift away from nomadic hunting and towards urban settlement.

Purpose of Farming

By supplying everyone with nutritious food, farming helps to secure national food security. Growing crops that are particularly designed to supply nutrients that many people lack, such as Vitamin A, iron, and other essential minerals, also lowers malnutrition. Additionally, farming contributes to environmental sustainability by preventing pollution and deterioration of natural resources like water and soil, which, if unchecked, would harm human existence.

Types of Farming

On the basis of the method employed, the raw material being used, and the final product being obtained, farming can be classified into various types. These include-

  • Subsistence Farming

  • Commercial Farming

  • Intensive and Extensive Farming

  • Plantation Farming

  • Mixed Farming

  • Nomadic Farming

This article aims to explain intensive and extensive farming in detail.

What is Intensive and Extensive Farming?

Intensive Farming: Using a lot of labor and resources in order to increase agricultural output is known as intensive farming (also known as intensive agriculture). The intense use of insecticides, fertiliser , and other agricultural production inputs, as well as medicine and concentrated feeding of the animal stock, are characteristics of this system. With high-input techniques, the practice focuses more on producing the most in each area.

Benefits of Intensive Farming

1. Enhanced Crop Yield: High crop yields are one of the key benefits of intensive farming. The modern world's food markets, including restaurants and supermarkets, have a strong demand for agricultural goods including meat, eggs, milk, fish, and grains.

2. A Wider Range of Food Can be Produced: There is a greater variety of food available for human consumption because intensive farming mostly concentrates on mass food production in a particular food crop or animal production. Since intensive farming involves a lot of labor, money, and resources, concentrating on only one type of output is more realistic.

3. It is More Productive: Intensive farming is more efficient since it uses less land and agricultural inputs per unit of product generated.

Extensive Farming: The term "extensive farming" refers to a type of farming that uses expensive equipment, chemical fertiliser s, pesticides, and agricultural research. It is practiced in areas with large agricultural landmasses and low population densities. In countries with low populations and an abundance of arable lands, such as Argentina, Australia, portions of the United States of America, Canada, and Russia, this style of farming is very common. Extensive farming is a method of agricultural production that consumes less manpower, fertiliser s, and money compared to the amount of land being farmed.

Benefits of Extensive Farming

1. Increased Income: Since there is a sizable overall yield in this farming, farmers make good money.

2. More profitable: Marginal profits are large because the cost of production is low.

3. Creates less pollution: The amount of insecticides and pesticides used is less, so the soil does not get highly polluted.

Intensive and Extensive Farming Difference 



Intensive Farming

Extensive Farming



An agricultural practice known as "intensive farming" uses a lot of labor and resources compared to the amount of land it occupies.

Extensive farming is a farming method that involves cultivating huge farms with comparatively smaller inputs, such as cash and labor.


Land size

Small but costly. 

Large but inexpensive. 



The output per hectare of land is large.

The output per hectare of land is small. 


Region of practice

These practices are followed in densely populated regions. 

These practices are followed in regions with low populations. 



India, Japan, United Kingdom.

United States of America, Canada Australia. 



Because of the extensive use of pesticides and fertiliser s, it has a detrimental effect on the ecosystem.

Due to the little use of pesticides, fertiliser s, and other chemicals, it does not cause environmental pollution.


High labor, money, and fertiliser  inputs are used extensively in intensive farming in order to achieve high yields on a small plot of land. Low labor, money, and fertiliser  inputs are used in extensive farming to generate poor yields over a big area of land. The amount of input used per unit of land is the primary distinction between intense and extensive agriculture.

FAQs on Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming

1. What are the characteristics of Intensive Farming?

A form of agriculture known as "intensive farming" has higher levels of input and output per cubic meter of agricultural land. Efficiency increased agricultural yields, and more meat and dairy from fewer animals in smaller places are its defining traits.  Additional traits of intensive farming include:

  • Raising both crops and animals is a part of commercial farming.

  • The land is regularly utilised to provide for the need.

  • To assure increased agricultural yields, this strategy makes use of fertiliser s.

  • Factory farming is the practice of feeding animals using animal products.

  • To enable high yields and productivity, a sizable amount of cash is spent on intensive commercial farming.

2. What are the characteristics of Extensive Farming?

Since extensive farming is done for a small population over a large area of land, its characteristics include:

  • Livestock is more likely to be the main focus of extensive farms than crops.

  • Farmers that live in dryer, drier, more arid environments are more likely to engage in vast agriculture.

  • Profitability Extensive farms are more likely to be subsistence or agritourism-focused farms.

  • Mobility Communities that are nomadic are more likely to engage in extensive farming than intensive farming.

3. Explain the difference between Extensive and Intensive Farming.

Less labor, money, and fertiliser inputs are used in extensive farming to spread out poor yields over a broad amount of land. It is often employed in low-population density areas and for low-value crops. In comparison to the amount of land, intensive farming uses a lot of labor and money. It is frequently used to high-value crops and in densely populated areas. Compared to vast farming, intensive farming consumes more resources faster. While extensive farming is not environmentally friendly agriculture, intensive farming is sustainable.