Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming

Farming is an intense method involving loads of things, people, purchases and the cultivation methodology.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Intensive farming is a type of agriculture that involves the use of high inputs of labor, capital, and fertilizer to produce high yields on a small area of land.
  2. Extensive farming is a type of agriculture that uses low inputs of labor, capital, and fertilizer to produce low yields on a large area of land.
  3. Intensive farming is typically used for high-value crops and in areas with high population density. In contrast, extensive agriculture is used for low-value crops and in areas with low population density.

Intensive vs Extensive Farming

Intensive farming is a method of farming that aims to maximize the yield of crops or livestock per unit of land. It involves using a high level of inputs. Extensive farming is a method of farming that involves cultivating large areas of land with minimal inputs. This type of farming is often associated with ranching and livestock grazing. 

Intensive vs Extensive Farming

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The output in intensive farming per hectare is quite significant compared to extensive farming.

Intensive farming is an agricultural system, while extensive farming is an agrarian technique. Though the land used in intensive farming is small, the use of manpower and machinery is high.

The cost of labour also gets reduced due to the involvement of machinery.

Intensive farming is more at the industrial level, while extensive farming addresses the production of survival, i.e. crops.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIntensive FarmingExtensive Farming
MeaningMore use of Labor and capitalLess Input of labour and Capital
LocationClose to marketsRemote location. Far from market
Farming landSmall and extensive agriculture system within a densely populated areaLarge and inexpensive farming technique practised in a moderately populated area
OutputLarge scaleSmall Scale

What is Intensive Farming?

Intensive farming looks at increased productivity in a smaller space of land. Intensive farming needs more manpower, chemicals, and livestock use to take out maximum yield.

The land of intensive farming is used to the last drop and rests on using HYV (high-yielding varieties). Hence the nearby lands get prone to deforestation.

We all are aware of the consequences of deforestation. An understanding of the ecosystem is crucial.

Also, the current understanding of how Millennium ecosystem assessment can benefit the understanding of intensive farming is worth it.

MAE talks about the sustainability of how intensive farming can be nurtured, protected, and used without hampering the ecosystem.

intensive farming

What is Extensive Farming?

Extensive farming, though, has a more significant land at their disposal, usually found in remote areas. The transportation, manpower, and income are limited hence the overall cost of production is more, and the produce is less.

Crops like grains are produced, and husk remains to feed the cattle. Hence cattle livestock is also a part of extensive farming’s sustainability.

Use of traditional cultivation methods based on seasonal productions; the limited preference of cultivation is friendly to our mother nature but makes it difficult for the farmers to support their families financially.

The gross domestic product in extensive farming is low, expensive, and seasonal, which safeguards organic farming. This is why organic products are expensive in the local bazaar of our market.

extensive farming

Main Differences Between Intensive and Extensive Farming


Intensive farming believes in large-scale production to yield as much as produce it can. It is through the manpower that uses the machinery at stake to the optimal level.

They need a limited habitat that can give maximum results. In economic terminology, we can say that intensive farming uses a higher level of inputs in the given per cubic land space.

Extensive farming is an agricultural production system that rests heavily on using manpower, labour and natural fertilizers in the capital available.

The capital invested or needed in extensive farming is at a higher end as it involves rearing cattle and livestock.

Farming Land and Location

As the farmland of intensive farming is located in the residing premises, the small land used stands on the application of high-yielding planting machinery.

Intensive farming also uses herbicides and insecticides through rigged irrigation provisions. On the other hand, extensive farming land can be as far as you can see lands.

The far-stretched lands shine out due to their natural green lushes and beauty.

Extensive farming is usually in the city’s exteriors with a cleaner atmosphere, far stretched and cheaper land at the sale.

The location of extensive farming works on the mechanism of the seasonal cycle of soils, natural affluence & properties, available labour & cattle to rear.

Intensive farming usually locates itself closer to the market for easy reach out and cheaper transportation. In comparison, the extensive farming cost of transportable is high as the potential markets are far from the location.


Intensive farming looks at increasing the yield in the given limited land space with a high dependency on fertilizers, labour, and machinery. Intensive farming is ideal for small-scale industrial productions.

On the other hand, extensive farming has a relatively larger land space.

But as extensive farming is remotely located, the labour and production costs are higher. Also, the output calls for much more care and takes a while to yield the crops.

Hence extensive farming works out to be on a higher end as far as expenses are concerned.

The intensive market, as said, is more on the industrial level and can achieve its targets through machinery handled by cheaper manpower.

In short, Intensive farming needs less space and yet gives a higher production output. Whereas extensive farming needs more significant landholding, and produces are expensive as a natural way of farming is the belief system.


Intensive farming hurts our ecosystem as they rest heavily on production. Increased production only can happen when we depend on pushing in chemicals and fertilizers.

This substance causes soil erosion and degradation of soil fertility.

The mechanization of agriculture is what intensive farming is all about. On the other hand, Extensive farming is located in regions, not in the city.

They are green, cleaner, and vibrant, and the atmosphere breaths fresh into their industrial productions. But Extensive farming survives on cattle rearing, livestock and gazing.

The natural and seasonal-based limited cultivations also make extensive farming unique and friendly. Fruits, root vegetables, rice and all kind of grain are produced in extensive farming.

The cattle are crucial to providing humankind with fertilizer, dairy products, meat, and other edibles. Also, the soil remains fertile forever.

Hence extensive farming is environmentally friendly.

Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming
  1. https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/178216/files/12.1.7.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308521X10001393
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