Farming is a system, with imputs into the farm, processes taking place on the farm and outputs from the farm.
- Human Imputs; Capital (money) Buildings, Labour, Machinery, Fertilizer, Pesticides,
- Pysical Imputs; Rainfall, Sunlight, Soil type, Frost
- Processes; Sowing, Harvesting, Spaying, Dipping, Shearing, Storage
- Outputs; meat, milk, cheese, butter, capital, flour, new seeds, eggs
Types of farming
- Arable: Crop growing
- Pastoral: Rearing animals
- Mixed: Both Arable and Pastoral
Subtypes; Diary, pollutry, fruit, cattle, horticultural, Market gardening, pig, Intensive farming, Extensive farming, Organic, Substinence farming, Commercial farming.
Farming in the UK
The four major types of farming in the UK;
1) In the North West; Hill sheep farming is popular in the Highland areas. The cold weather, thin soils and steep loads make it unappropriate for Arable.
2) In the East (East Anglia); Arable farming is predominate because the East of England has a warm climate, long sunshine hours in the summer, fertile soils (from boulder clay), flat land for machinary and enough but not too much rainfall.
3) In the South East; Market gardening is found around large cities, often in glass houses because the land if fairy fertile and the products can be sold to the city population.
4) In the South West: Dairy farming is most common. There are warm wet, prevailing south west winds, land not too high, not too cold, rich grass makes creamy milk.
Hill sheep farming
Where: Upland areas
Why: Too wet for crops, too cold or wet for most cattle, too steep for machinery, soils too thin for most crops
Problems: fall in the price of lamb/sheep, rise in the cost of fuel, rise in the cost of animal feed, cold winters, poor summers. These factors, along with general difficult conditions in upland areas, have to led to many farms abandoning their farms.
Changes; the government encourages diversity amoung failing sheep farmers, some sugsestions are;
- Some amalgamation of smaller farmers (joining together)
- Some marginal (barely usuable) land that is no longer being used can be sold
- Fewer famhands needed (due to increased machanisation) and so farmers can rent out farmer cottages as holiday homes
- The opening of a caraven and camping site
- Pony treking
- Tea rooms or ice cream shops
Hill sheep farming Diversification
In national parks like the lake district farmers have started to provide facilities for visitors such as campsites, old barns converted into holiday homes, bed and breakfast, farm visits, pony trekking and farm shops. Other types of diversification include fish farms, small wood workshops and footpaths in woodlands.
Grants from the Government for improvements and conservation;
- Up to 25% for land improvement, fencing, fertilizers, food protection and drainage
- Up to 50% payed for handling and treating waste.
- From 35% to 50% to work on hedges, stone walls, forestry, braken cotrol and heather burning
- Hill livestoke conpensatory Allowences - £6.75 for each breeding Ew, up to £54.50 for each breeding cow.
- EU sheep and suckler cow premiums
- Country Side and Tourism grants
- Up to 25% (31% aged under 40) available for farm diversification schemes
- Forestry grants, up to £1575 per hectare paid to farmers for planting woodland
Problems for Farmers in the UK
- Such as loss of hedgerows for large machinery
- Loss of habitats for plants and animals, loss of ponds
- Soil erosion because trees and hedgerows are gone
- Nutrients lost from growing one crop in one field all the time
- Problems from chemical fertilizers and Pesticides
- Family business are lost, as farmers reluctant to carry on the tradition
- Loss of labourers needed as machinery takes over
EU effect on farming; 60% of the EU agricultural budget is spent on storing surplus food as too much food is produced. The government helps farmers when markets slump by providing subsides, a minimum garunteed price and solutions eg the aside policy where a % of land must be left empty. In the UK since 1980 farm land can be sold for other uses. Quota limits are used to keep prices high for example on milk.