8 Intensive Agriculture Best Practices - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

With new advancements in farming technology, it is important to dive deeper into intensive agriculture best practices to best drive higher and more efficient yields over time. As farmers look to increase their crop in a smaller surface area, many in the industry use harmful chemicals and hazardous living conditions in order to maximize results. In fact, a study by the Center for Biological Diversity found that over 200 million pounds of pesticides are used by U.S. factory farms per year. Not only does this sterilize previously diverse grasslands, but these chemicals can harm the organisms living in and feeding on the soil. Therefore, it is crucial for crop growers and livestock raisers to stay informed on these innovative intensive agriculture best practices.

1. Rotational Grazing

A more traditional form of intensive agriculture, rotational grazing involves dividing a single pasture into smaller sections. Once divided, livestock on the rangeland will be moved systematically among them. The livestock then graze in one section for a specific period before the rotation continues, allowing time for the grazed land to regenerate. Not only does this system promote sustainable land management, but also help to deepen roots and improve soil health. In fact, according to a 2022 study by the USDA, rotational grazing increases efficiency from 35% to 65%, showcasing why this method has grown rapidly in popularity amongst the farming community.

2. Conservation Agriculture

This method is based on three core principles: minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover, and crop rotation and diversification. First, by reducing tillage, soil structure is preserved and erosion is minimized . These two traits help to improve soil fertility and nutrient availability, which in turn enhances crop productivity. Next, by maintaining a continuous cover of vegetation on the surface, agronomists can conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Lastly, diverse crop rotation helps to break pest and disease cycles, as well as reduces the reliance on fertilizers and pesticides. 

3. Precision Farming

As the name suggests, this method uses advanced technologies to optimize agricultural practices. By employing techniques such as remote sensing, GPS, and variable rate technology, farmers can precisely manage essential inputs like water and fertilizers. According to successful agronomist and agricultural technology expert Dr. Jon Smith, “Precision farming helps reduce resource wastage, improves crop yields, and minimizes negative environmental impacts.” Many growers are catching on to this efficient way of farming, as the precision agriculture market size is expected to grow dramatically to 2030 at a 12.6% CAGR from roughly $9.5 billion in 2022 (according to Grandview Research).

4. Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM uses various pest control strategies to minimize reliance on harmful chemical pesticides. By combining cultural, biological, and chemical control methods, farmers can effectively manage pests while reducing environmental risks. As both growers and professional farmers begin to adopt this technology, we are seeing a boom in the IPM market. According to a report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the IPM market is projected to grow from $116.04 billion in 2022 to $153.31 billion in 2026, growing annually at a projected 7.2%!

5. Agroforestry

By integrating trees, crops and livestock in the same farming system, Agroforestry provides a multitude of sustainable and production benefits. For instance, trees offer shade for livestock, windbreaks for crops, and additional income through timber. Dr. James Brown, an agroforestry expert, emphasizes, “Agroforestry sequesters carbon, enhances biodiversity, conserves soil moisture, and improves microclimates, contributing to resilient and sustainable farming.” Beyond the crops, agroforestry fosters a positive relationship with the soil, as the roots provide nutrients for the organisms living underneath.

6. Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems (ICLS)

These systems are quite unique as they create symbiotic relationships, where waste from one component becomes a valuable resource for another. While livestock provide manure for nutrient-rich organic fertilizer, crops supply feed for animals. Sarah Foster, an agricultural economist, explains, “Integrated systems promote sustainable resource use, improve farm profitability, and enhance resilience in the face of climate variability.” As emphasized by Dr. Foster, this approach improves nutrient cycling while reducing waste, enhancing soil fertility, and diversifying income streams for farmers. 

7. Controlled-Environment Agriculture (CEA)

CEA refers to the production of crops within enclosed structures such as hydroponic systems, indoor grow rooms, and vertical farms. Providing precise control over environmental factors like temperature, humidity, light, and nutrients, CEA enables year-round crop productions. Additionally, this method maximizes resource efficiency and minimizes pesticide use. To demonstrate the magnitude of this method, Equilibrium – a leader in CEA infrastructures – exceeded its targeted $500 million funding round by closing at $1.022 billion. This goes to show just how important and opportunistic CEA is for global food systems.

8. Integrated Aquaculture

By combining fish farming with other agricultural practices like crop cultivation or livestock rearing, integrated aquaculture promotes various species cultured together all using a shared water source. This optimizes water conservation, thus sustainably increasing efficiency while still raising output. However, the limited aquatic space optimization does not stop there. Using the same premise as integrated crop and livestock systems, many agronomists grow plants and fish together in the same water. This results in fish waste creating nutrient-rich water, which then acts as fertilizer for the plants all within the same ecosystem.


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