B4h: Farming

Organic farming has become more widespread but intensive farming techniques are more common. This item looks at the issues concerning sustainable food production. Discussing different farming methods provides many opportunities to investigate why decisions about science and technology are made and the ethical issues raised. This can be developed to look at the social, economic and environmental effects of such decisions. 

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What do pesticides kill?
Pests (organisms that damage to crops.)
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Give three examples of pesticides, and what they kill.
Insecticides (insects), fungicides (fungi) and herbicides (plants,weeds).
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What does intensive farming mean?
Trying to produce as much food as possible from the land, plants and animals available.
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Name four intensive farming methods.
Fish farms, glasshouse, battery farming and hydroponics.
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Describe organic farming methods. (2)
No artificial fertiliser and no pesticides.
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What is biological control?
By releasing a natural predator into the crop growing area, the no. of pests can be reduced. This can have unforeseen consequences as the no. of organisms in the food web are changed. The predator can become a more serious problem than the original 1
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What are the three disadvantages of using pesticides?
Pesticides may enter and accumulate in food chains, may harm organisms which are not pests, and some are persistent.
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What is a hydroponic?
Where soil is replaced by a mineral solution pumped around the plant roots.
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What are two possible uses of hydroponics?
Glasshouse tomatoes and plant growth in areas of barren soil.
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Intensive farming may be efficient but what do they raise?
Ethical dilemmas.
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What is the advantage of hydroponics?
Better control of mineral levels and disease.
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What are the disadvantages of hydroponics? (2)
Lack of support for plant and required addition of fertilisers.
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How does intensive food production improve the efficiency of energy transfer?(2)
By reducing transfer to: pests, including competing plants (weeds) and as heat from farm animals by keeping them penned indoors (battery farming) so that they are warm and move around less.
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Describe organic farming techniques. (4)
Use of animal manure and compost, crop rotation including use of nitrogen-fixing crops, weeding and vary seeding planting times.
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What does manure, crop rotation, weeding and nitrogen-fixing crops replace?
Fertiliser, single crop, herbicides and nitrogen fertilisers.
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Advantages (2) and disadvantages (2) of using manure?
A: Recycles waste, improves soil structure. D: Difficult to apply and cannot control mineral content.
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Advantages (2) and disadvantages (2) of crop rotation?
A: Reduces disease and damage to soil composition. D: Less productivity. Less efficient to grow different crops.
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Advantages (2) and a disadvantage of weeding?
A: Less environmental damage, or health risk. D: Labour intensive.
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Advantages (2) and a disadvantage of using nitrogen-fixing crops?
A: Cheaper, longer lasting. Reduces area available for growing crops if part of a crop rotation.
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What are the advantages of biological control?(2)
No need for chemical pesticides, does not need repeated treatment.
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What are the disadvantages of biological control?(4)
Predator may not eat pest, may eat useful species, may increase out of control, may not stay in the area where it is needed.
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Explain how removing one or more organisms from a food chain or web may affect other organisms. (In the context of biological control.)
If you remove a pest insect, you are removing a source of food from all the organisms who usually eat it. These might die out, and another animal they usually eat could breed, and because a pest instead.
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What are the three actions taken by intensive farmers?
Removing competing plants from the crop growing area, removing animals/insects that feed on the crop and keeping animals indoors.
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How is 'removing competing plants from the crop growing area' treated? and can you explain how, and the side effect?
By herbicides, which allows more energy to be transferred to the crop. However, this reduces biodiversity and may have harmful effect on health.
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How is 'keeping animals indoors' treated? and can you explain how, and the side effect?
By battery farming, which reduces energy transferred to environment so more energy available for growth. However, there is an increased risk of disease, lower quality product and ethical concerns.
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How is 'removing animals/insects that feed on the crop' treated? and can you explain how, and the side effect?
By pesticides, which prevent energy being transferred from the crop to consumers. However, this reduces biodiversity and may poison helpful organisms.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Give three examples of pesticides, and what they kill.

Back

Insecticides (insects), fungicides (fungi) and herbicides (plants,weeds).

Card 3

Front

What does intensive farming mean?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Name four intensive farming methods.

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Describe organic farming methods. (2)

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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