Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming (With Table)

Intensive vs Extensive Farming

The key difference between intensive farming and extensive farming lies in the fact that intensive farming is where the inputs are high in terms of capital, labor, insecticides, etc. Extensive farming is where the inputs are comparatively less.

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

In intensive farming, the land is limited and expensive, whereas extensive farming is quite large and not that expensive. The output in intensive farming in per hectare is quite large in comparison with 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 labor also gets reduced due to the involvement of machinery.

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


Comparison Table Between Intensive and Extensive Farming (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonIntensive FarmingExtensive Farming
MeaningMore use of Labor and capitalLess Input of labor and Capital
LocationClose to marketsRemote location. Far from market
Farming landSmall and extensive agriculture system within a densely populated areaLarge and inexpensive farming technique practiced 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, use of chemicals and livestock to take out maximum yield.

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

We all are aware of the consequences of deforestations. The understanding of the ecosystem is crucial. Also, the current understanding of how Millennium ecosystem assessment can benefit the understanding of intensive farming too is worth it.

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

Intensive farming is full utilization of resources
Intensive farming is full utilization of resources

What is Extensive Farming?

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

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

Use of traditional cultivation methods that are base do on seasonal productions, The limited preference of cultivation is friendly to our mother nature but gets difficult for the farmers to support their families financially.

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

Extensive farming means remains of husk feed the cattle
Extensive farming means remains of husk feed the cattle

Main Differences Between Intensive and Extensive Farming


The intensive farming believes in large scale production to yield as much as produce it can. It is through the man-power 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.

The extensive farming is an agricultural production system that rests heavily on using manpower labor, natural fertilizers in the capital available.

The capital invested or needed in extensive farming is at a higher-end as it involves the rearing of 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 insecticide through the usage of 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 its natural green lushes and beauty.

Extensive farming is usually in the exteriors of the city 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 labor & cattle to rear.

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


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

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

But as extensive farming is remotely located, the labor cost, the production cost is 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.

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The intensive market, as said is more on the industrial level can achieve their 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 larger landholding and produces are expensive as a natural way of farming is the belief system.


Intensive farming causes a negative impact on our ecosystem as they rest heavily on productions. Increased productions 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 of the spectrum, Extensive farming is located in regions that are not in the city.

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

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

The cattle are very important to provide humankind with fertilizer, dairy products, meat, and other edibles. Also, the soil forever remains fertile. Hence extensive farming is environmentally friendly.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Intensive and Extensive Farming

  1. Is dairy farming extensive or intensive?

    Dairy farming is intensive farming, where not only milk but other dairy products are also manufactured. Intensive farming consumes less land. It is easy for the caretaker to manage the livestock.

    Dairy farming produces milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. with the use of milk produced by mammals.

  2. What are the advantages of semi-intensive system?

    There are many advantages of semi-intensive systems such as they produce food for the livestock in large quantities.

    It is also helpful for farmers to protect their livestock from wild animals. It helps to solve the hunger problem in the world.

  3. Is intensive farming sustainable?

    Intensive farming is sustainable as there is not much land available for farming. Intensive farming is suitable as it produces organic food and yield in large quantities as compared to extensive farming.

    It produces more food and wildlife in less space. It is good for the environment.

  4. What are the two types of intensive subsistence agriculture?

    Intensive subsistence agriculture means where farming is done in small fields with less usage of machinery and more usage of manual labor.

    It provides food to the rural population. Intensive subsistence agriculture is of two types:
    1) Wet paddy cultivation: Wet paddy cultivation means growing rice in a flooded field, which is small in size and used to feed the rural population.
    2) Crops that are not paddy: Similar like wet paddy cultivation, farming in these regions is the same. The only difference is the soil moisture, which produces other crops like wheat, maize, pulses, vegetables, soya-bean, etc.

  5. Is intensive farming expensive?

    Yes, intensive farming is much more expensive than extensive farming. It is located near the market and in a densely populated region, which is but obvious to make it expensive.

    Intensive farming produces much more output than extensive farming in per hectare. It consumes more chemicals to increase growth and crop yield.

  6. Where is extensive farming practiced?

    Extensive farming is practiced in a moderately populated area and larger fields. It is done by the rural population to produce food and income for their living.

    It is quite inexpensive because it does not use machinery much as they farm manually.



To bring it all here, intensive farming is volume based on the usage of chemicals that add-on to the ever-growing problem of global warming. Intensive farming must be tried to be reduced and the government should support industries that rely upon and sustain through extensive farming.

The extensive farming works towards enhancing and maintaining soil fertility and product us from the hazards of natural calamities like floods and landslides.

The additional reading will give a better picture of both types of farming – Intensive and Extensive.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Farming

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Intensive and Extensive Farming. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Intensive and Extensive Farming
Word Cloud for 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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