Pastoral farming (also known in some regions as ranching, livestock farming or grazing ) is a form of agriculture aimed at producing livestock, rather than growing crops. Examples include dairy farming, raising beef cattle, and raising sheep for wool. In contrast, arable farming concentrates on crops rather than livestock. Finally, Mixed farming incorporates livestock and crops on a single farm. Some mixed farmers grow crops purely as fodder for their livestock; some crop farmers grow fodder and sell it to pastoral farmers.
Pastoral farmers are also known as graziers (in Australia) and in some cases pastoralists (in a use of the term different from traditional nomadic livestock cultures). Pastoral farming is a non-nomadic form of pastoralism in which the livestock farmer has some form of ownership of the land used, giving the farmer more economic incentive to improve the land. Unlike other pastoral systems, pastoral farmers are sedentary and do not change locations in search for fresh resources. Rather, pastoral farmers adjust their pastures to fit the needs of their animals. Improvements include drainage (in wet regions), stock tanks(in dry regions), irrigation and sowing clover.
Pastoral farming is common in [Argentina], [Australia], [Brazil], [Great Britain], [Ireland], [New Zealand], and the [Western United States] and [Canada], among other places.
There are many factors that are taken into account to decide what type of farming should take place on a certain area of land including, topography, altitude, exposure, and rainfall. Soil plays a large role in determining how land will be used. [Mollisol] lands are typically described as semi-arid to semi- humid areas that are grassy. This is where most intensive cattle operations occur which produce beef and dairy. Although a majority of pastoral farming is conducted in Mollisol lands, pastoral farming can also be found in areas with soil made up of Entisol, Aridisol or Alfisol. Aside from soil order, pastoral farming is more likely to be found than arable farming in areas with steep slopes, cold strong winds and a wet climate. All of these conditions are more advantageous to raising live stock than crops. Raising of sheep is often found in cooler regions with steep hills and above average rain fall. The wetness of the area and incline would make it unsuitable to grow crops. A similar conclusion is drawn by looking at dairy farms which are often found in warm wet climates.
Intensive farms generally take up a fairly small area of land, but aim to have a very high output, through massive inputs of capital and labour. These farms use machines and new technologies to become as efficient and cost-effective as possible, an example being the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.
Intensive agriculture can be seen in many places around the world, such as the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand, pig farming in Denmark and rice cultivation in the countries of South East Asia. All use technology appropriate to their country to enable them to get the highest yields from their land.It is labour-intensive, capital intensive and machine intensive.
Extensive farming is the direct opposite of intensive farming. The farms are large in comparison to the money injected into them or the labour used. The cattle ranches of central Australia are a good example of extensive agriculture, where often only a few farm workers are responsible for thousands of acres of farmland.
Another example of extensive farming can be seen in the massive cattle ranches of Brazil. These involve clearing vast areas of rainforest (the trees are often burnt rather than chopped down and sold) to make way for the cattle ranch. The cattle quickly eat the remaining vegetation and begin to cause massive problems of soil erosion. Extensive farming is also the production of livestock and crops on large piece of land having small output in return. Less attention is given here as compared to intensive farming.
Excerpt from Wikipedia