Since the 1950s there has been a massive increase in the use of farm machinery such as tractors, ploughs and combine harvesters. The use of modern farming technology has had both a positive and negative impact on rural areas.
Positive and negative impacts of modern farming technology
|Increase crop yield as work can be done faster and more efficiently||Loss of animal habitats and shelter belts as hedgerows were removed to increase field size and accommodate large machinery|
|Increased profit for the farmer||Increase in noise pollution|
|Less physical work for people||Fewer jobs available|
|Fewer workers so less wages for farmer to pay||As people become unemployed, they move away to find work leading to rural depopulation|
|Crops are harvested faster so they are fresher||Machines are expensive to buy and repairs can be costly|
There has been an increase in the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to try to improve crop yields and farmers profits. Chemical fertilisers have also enabled crops to be grown on areas with poorer quality soil. The use of modern chemicals has brought both advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and disadvantages of modern chemicals
|Increased crop yield as fertiliser makes crops grow better||Increased river pollution due to chemical run-off|
|Fewer plants being eaten by pests so more crops to sell||Polluted river water leads to problems such as algae bloom which starves the river of oxygen affecting wildlife|