Agriculture in the UK can be divided into three main types:
Agriculture can be intensive or extensive:
Farmers must choose the type of agriculture that is best for the place they farm and the human resources they have.
|Climate||Distance to the market|
|Relief (shape of the land)||Labour supply (workers)|
|Soil||Machinery and technology|
|Aspect (direction land is facing)||Grants and subsidies|
|Drainage/rock type||Market price|
Farmers have to select the type of farming which best suits the local physical environment. They must also consider which types of produce will make the most money because there is no point producing things they cannot sell. Although farms can be grouped into three broad categories, the things they grow or produce may change over time. It is important for arable farmers to rotate their crops in order to maintain soil fertility.
Arable crops need:
There are many arable farms in the south and east of the UK.
Why are some areas more suited to pastoral farming rather than arable farming?
Highland areas in the north and west of the UK often rely on pastoral farming methods. Sheep farming is particularly suited to hilly areas because sheep can graze on steep slopes and eat rough grass grown on poor soils. Dairy herds need flatter land and a supply of good grass. They tend to be in areas with good links to markets.
Some farms are both arable and pastoral. This reduces the risk because if prices fall for one crop or there are unfavourable weather conditions, there may be another product that can provide food and make money. Animals can also provide manure for the fields and help to maintain soil fertility.