We all have a general idea of what a farm is, but do you know what really goes on, on a farm? On a farm there are continuous activities of growing crops and rearing animals which all eventually feed the farmers, their families, and the nation. There are three categories of farms which are classified worldwide as:
A Mixed Farm in the UK
A mixed farm entails growing crops and animals, pastoral farm only deals with animals and an arable farm only grows crops. These classifications of farms can be either intensive or extensive but they both translate into the same thing, food for feeding people.
Intensive farming is done on a small scale, on small pieces of farmland which are generally worked by the farmer and his family. The money earned from the farm usually goes to the farmers as well. This type of farming feeds the family, supplies the neighbourhood grocery stores, and sells to neighbours. Products from these farms vary from vegetables, fruits, chickens, a few pigs and a cow for milk.
With extensive farming, it is done on a grander scale on hundreds of acres of land, with machinery and farm managers that facilitate the general running of the farm. This type of farming feeds the nation.
Pastoral farms are placed in four categories:
• Cattle farms
• Pig farms
• Sheep farms
• Other livestock farms
The 17,000 cattle farms in the UK are mainly dairy farms. They supply all the milk that is used in the UK while the beef from these farms is derived from surplus or extra calves produced by the dairy cows. Each cow is able to supply as much as 6,300 litres of milk per year if it is milked twice per day. The chosen breed for dairy is the British Friesian, which replaced the Dairy Shorthorn.
The category of other livestock farms will rear animals like goats for milk, deer for venison, and chickens. The productions on these farms are relatively small in comparison to the other pastoral farms. For example, the UK has only 73,000 goats that supply the market with milk, and by EU statistics, this is relatively very small.
The Arable Farm in the UK
Because crops need space to produce in abundance, the average farm is thousands of acres in size. The crops produced on these farms are potatoes, root vegetables, barley, oats, wheat, peas and beans, cabbages, vetches, kale, apples, pears, and hay for animals. To give you an idea as to the acreage needed to grow crops we can look at the amount of land devoted to cereals in 2009. 3,133,000 hectares or 7,740,000 acres were utilized. This yielded 21.168 million tonnes of cereal for the UK market.
There are a few organic farms in the UK, and through the organization called the Organic Aid Scheme, many farms have converted to organic farming. The yield is about 40-50% lower than conventional chemical fertilized farms as in organic farming there are no chemicals used.
Farming, whether on a small scale or a grand scale, is still a very lucrative business, but like any business, there are risks involved.