Process of Farming

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Farming

Types of Farming
In the Standard Grade Geography exam there are three types of farming you need to know about − arable, livestock and mixed.
• Arable farms are ones where the main way of making money is by growing crops • Livestock farms are where animals are the important part of the farm • Mixed farms are where animals and crops are both important to the farmer

Only British examples are used in the exam questions.

Inputs, Outputs and Processes

Inputs are what go into the farm. There are two types of input. The natural or physical inputs include weather, climate, relief (height, shape and aspect), soil, geology and latitude. Farmers have little or no control over these. Changing the natural inputs can sometimes be done but it usually involves a lot of expense. For example areas with not enough rainfall get water from irrigation schemes, steep slopes can be cut into terraces and the climate can be greatly altered by using greenhouses.

Examples of human inputs include machinery, fertiliser, pesticides, seeds, livestock, animal feed, workers and buildings. These usually have to be paid for, although farmers can save some money by producing some of these themselves, e.g. grass is grown as a fodder crop and animals are bred. Outputs are what the farm produces e.g. grains, eggs, milk, meat etc. Processes are the types of work that are carried out on the farming. It varies with the type of farm e.g. ploughing, seeding and harvesting are important on an arable farm, whereas a major activity is milking on a dairy (livestock) farm.

Farms as Businesses
Like shops and factories, a farm is a business. Like all other business it has to make money to survive. Its profits are made when the money the farmer makes by selling his or her outputs is more than is spent on the inputs. Like other business people farmers want to make a substantial profit. Most of the recent changes in farming can be explained by the farmer's desire for a good profit.

Types of Farming

1

Farming

Arable Farms
Arable farms are mainly found in the eastern side of the U.K. Here the land is lower and flatter, the soil more fertile and the climate drier and sunnier. The ten main crops grown in Britain in 1996 were

Wheat

1,976

Barley

1,267

Fodder crops

362

Oilseed rape

356

Sugar beet

199

Potatoes

177

Vegetables grown in the open

132

Oats and Other Cereals

114

Other crops not for stock feeding

78

Arable Farms

2

Farming

Orchard Fruit

28

All figures are in 1,000 hectares.
Source The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Livestock Farms
In Britain the location of livestock farms depends on the main animal that is being kept. Sheep are usually found in the upland areas. They are suited to these parts as • Sheep are hardier (tougher) than other animals, and can cope with the colder, wetter and windier conditions

• They are more surefooted than cattle, so don't mind the steep slopes • The land certainly can't be used for arable farming

Dairy cattle are more common in the wetter west of Britain as the heavier rainfall helps in the milk production. Lowland areas are favoured as these have warmer temperatures. The south−west of England and Ayrshire in Scotland are particularly suited as the mild winters mean a longer growing season, which in turn means the farmers are less reliant on providing winter feed for the cattle. Dairy farms are also located nearer the larger settlements. This was important in the past when transport was slower and milk needed to get to the market quickly to still be fresh. This location is less important today with refrigerated transport.

The total number of the different types on animals were (1995) Cattle

11,733

Pigs

7,534

Sheep

42,771

Livestock Farms

3

Farming

Fowls (chickens and hens)

125,981

Ducks and geese

2648

All figures are for 1,000 animals.
Source The Ministry of Agriculture,...
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