Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Agriculture – Deficiencies in Food Production."— Presentation transcript:
The Nature of Agriculture – Deficiencies in Food Production
Agriculture Agriculture depends on the interactions among a number of natural systems.
Climate The first natural system, climate, contributes two factors in how successful farming will be. One factor is the amount of heat that is available. This factor explains why bananas can be grown in the Caribbean, but not in North Bay. The amount of heat is described by measures like the length of the growing season.
Climate The second climatic factor relates to the amount of moisture available. Most often this is measured in terms of precipitation levels. It is more accurate to consider the relationship between the amount of precipitation and the demand for moisture.
Soils The second natural system that is fundamental to agriculture is the soil system. Soil is a complex substance that includes minerals, living organic materials like earthworms and bacteria, and decaying materials like rotting plants, water, and air.
Soils If there is a shortage of moisture, the amount of plant growth, will be less than it might otherwise be. The soil that develops in these conditions will be relatively infertile. If there is an excess of moisture, fertility will be reduced because vital nutrients will seep out of the soil.
The Land The third system that has an impact on agriculture is the land, and whether it is level. If an area is too hilly, there is the potential for the loss of vital topsoil through erosion. On the other hand, land that is very flat, especially if it has fine soil materials and a high water table, could be too wet for farming.
Biology The fourth important natural system is biological. Some organisms are highly beneficial for farming. Earthworms, for example, improve the movement of air through the soil, while bees are vital for effective plant pollination. Other insects are highly destructive. The growth of unwanted plants, generally called weeds, can also interfere with the productivity of agriculture.
Correcting Deficiencies Few places in the world have the perfect combination of conditions for farming: a long growing season, not too much and not too little moisture, rich soils, level land, and just the right mix of biological conditions. Unfortunately, most areas suffer from one or more deficiencies. For thousands of years, people have worked to overcome the shortcomings of the land that they farm. For each of the deficiencies, adjustments have been made. Samples of agricultural deficiencies are listed below.
Agricultural Deficiency Human Adjustment Growing season too short or too cool Grow a crop with a shorter growing season. Develop varieties that mature more quickly. Provide additional energy input Infertile soilsAdd natural fertilizers (e.g., manure, compost) Add chemical fertilizers Use appropriate plant rotations Excess of harmful insects Use chemical insecticides Introduce predator insects Use cropping methods that limit insects Grow genetically modified, insect-resistant crop varieties
Intensive Agriculture Intensive agriculture involves farming a relatively small amount of land in a concentrated fashion with the use of a great deal of labour and, often, other inputs, such as machinery.
Intensive Agriculture Typical forms of intensive farming in Canada would include fruit and vegetable growing, vineyards, livestock feedlots, where animals are penned in a small field area and fattened, and hog factory farms.
Extensive Farming Extensive farming uses large amounts of land with limited amounts of labour and other large inputs. Examples in Canada of extensive farming would include prairie grain and oilseed farming, ranching, and most forms of mixed farming.