Factors Affecting Farm Type
Factors Affecting Farm Type
Capital: Money is vitally important when setting up a farm, or trying to run one. Subsidies and government policies have helped in some cases but they have also meant that farming is having to become more efficient and technological to survive. As prices fall for farm products, so the farmer's profits also fall, meaning he can employ less people and buy less seeds and animals for the following year. It is a vicious downward trend experienced in many farming communities.
Choice: the farmer may have a number of choices over which type of farming he is going to follow. Normally this is determined by the climate, soils and the relief. However farmers are increasingly having to turn to farming crops or animals that will bring them the most money, rather than which ones may be best suited to the area.
Climate: One of the most important factors in deciding what type of farming might occur in a certain area. The important considerations for farmers are the hours of sunshine, the average temperature and the amount of rainfall.
Labour: Every farm needs workers, and so farms need these sources of labour. In the old days there would have been many people doing very labour intensive jobs around the farm. However, with farming becoming increasingly mechanised the numbers of people working on farms has diminished and many of those people tend to be more like farm managers rather than actually getting out and doing the dirty work.
Market: The market is very important for a farmer. He must know that he is going to be able to sell his produce at a good price, in order to make a profit. Quotas and subsidies have been brought in to try to help farmers as the prices of their produce have fallen over the last twenty years. Farmers increasingly have to decide exactly what they are going to grow by the price that they will get for their produce.
Politics: Government and International farming policies have had a huge impact on many farms around the world. In Europe the Common Agricultural Policy and EU regulations have meant that farmers are protected and that their produce will be bought. However they have also meant some farmers have had to completely change what they are growing to suit the new regulations.
Relief: The relief of the land is a very important factor in determining the type of agricultural activity that can take place on it. Flat, sheltered areas are usually best for crops as it is easy to use machinery and there will be the best climatic conditions for crop growth. Steep slopes are more likely to be used for sheep and cattle farming, such as in the valley of South Wales. However in countries such as Indonesia the steep slopes have been terraced to allow rice to grow.
Soils: Thick, well-irrigated, often alluvial (deposited by a river) soil is usually the best for crop farming. In Britain the best soil for arable farming can be found in Norfolk and other Eastern areas of the country. In hilly areas the soil tends to be thinner and less fertile, meaning it is more suitable for pasture farming.