Traditional farming and Modern farming differ from each other in a big way. Traditional farming adheres to the traditional methods of agriculture. On the other hand, modern farming experiments with the implementation of advanced technology in the field of agriculture. This is the main difference between them.
Traditional farming makes use of the traditional and age old agriculture equipment. On the other hand, modern farming makes use of the modern equipment. Technology-intensive farming methods are used in modern farming.
Traditional farming tolerated the unpredictable environment better than modern farming that relies heavily on modern procedures and equipment. Traditional farming is characterized by low-input husbandry, whereas modern farming is characterized by high-input husbandry.
Traditional farming may yield less, but there is sufficient quality attached to its yield. On the other hand, modern farming may fall short of quality as far as its yield is concerned thanks to the overuse of the modern and technological equipment in its processes and procedures. Thus, it is an accepted fact that traditional farming is laden with quality.
Another important difference between traditional farming and modern farming is that traditional farming needs great amount of labor and hence, the job opportunities provided to laborers are more. On the other hand, modern farming does not need great amount of labor since the machines take care of everything. Hence, the job opportunities provided to laborers are comparatively poor and less.
Pesticides, plant breeding, agronomy, antibiotics related to animal husbandry, hormones are some of the methods used in modern farming. Most of these methods are not employed in traditional farming. On the other hand, traditional farming relies more on the traditional and home made preparations to ward of pests and insects. These are the important differences between traditional farming and modern farming.
Agricultural systems in various parts of the world have evolved due to technological advances and increasing human knowledge. It develops from primitive agriculture, traditional agriculture to modern agriculture. At that time, hunting and gathering activities are familiar techniques for humans. Conventional agriculture started since humans began to settle and cultivate in one location. This agricultural system is a straightforward farm model that is extensive and does not maximize inputs such as technology, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. As the pressures of globalization and modernization intensify over time, traditional farming practices and knowledge are becoming obsolete. As the environment destabilizes each year, conventional farming or livestock farming becomes less reliable over time. It is common knowledge that traditional farming or farming methods are dependent on many external conditions to ensure profitability. Therefore, farmers began to implement precision agriculture to make farming more effective. Before adopting precision farming, farmers must know the principles of precision agriculture.
The principles of precision agriculture
In this century, technology is an essential point for any sector. Precision agriculture adopts the development technology and combines it with an agricultural core value. A farming system must meet the basic principles, which generally adopt the basic principles of sustainable development. The following are principles of precision agriculture:
- Precision agriculture can do improving soil management and crop rotation while maintaining soil quality and water availability to maintain agricultural production in the long term.
- Sustainable agriculture can protect, recycle, replace, and maintain the natural resource base such as soil, water, and biodiversity, contributing to the protection of natural capital.
Some of you already wondered, “how can I differentiate between conventional and smart farming today?”. Answering this question, you can see it from several perspectives. To illustrate, let’s see the differences between traditional and modern farming and how it changes.
In traditional agriculture, the concept is only to yield or harvest. In contrast, modern agriculture already has the idea of pursuing profit or loss. It has applied the idea of the economy to produce a commodity it requires capital costs with predictable profits and analyzes the feasibility of a business you run.
The traditional farming system focuses on the food needs of farmers, so it is not suitable to meet the needs of an increasing number of people. Nevertheless, modern agriculture focuses on efforts to meet human food needs and species breeding agriculture, aiming to optimize farming to produce quality food.
The plow is one of the most outstanding examples of traditional farming tools and one of the oldest domestic farming implements. Cows, buffaloes, or horses primarily draw it, and they are the first animals for doing plow. The plows were first time used in prehistoric times. Initially, wood was the material for making the plow. Today, there is a cultivator. Its primary use is for soil cultivation. As we all know, most farmers use this to control weeds before planting. Besides, a cultipacker is placed behind a tractor to pull seedbeds before seed planting for a better connection with seed to soil.
Spraying activities need a pesticide sprayer. Some are still traditional, and some are following advanced technology. The following is a pesticide sprayer for conventional and modern farming systems.
Knapsack manual sprayer is a sprayer that works manually by relying on hand power which then produces air pressure. The word knapsack is a backpack. It is carried on the back to use.
A hand sprayer is a portable sprayer that operates by pumping by hand. This hand sprayer is not only for spraying pesticides for agricultural needs and gardening (urban farming) but also for spraying foliar fertilizers or just for watering plants.
A tractor sprayer is a modern spraying machine. It sprays by carrying an agro chem machine and tank at the back of the tractor. So the function of the tractor is to take and move the machine then direct it to the crop to be sprayed with agro chem or pesticide.
Another modern spraying for precision agriculture system is a drone sprayer. At the bottom of the drone, there is a pesticide holding tank. The drone operates with operators. They control the drone’s flying speed and direction and turn on the sprayer. This drone sprayer can spray faster, save water, and be more effective than manual work. It is often not on target when spreading, so there is a lot of wasted pesticide.
Traditional agriculture will usually depend more on nature, so their agriculture can be arid during the dry season, unlike modern agriculture, which has carried out irrigation engineering such as dams, irrigation, etc. Indeed, it affects the types of crops in the field.
Traditional agriculture uses a monoculture cropping system. Single planting or monoculture is cultivating on agricultural land by planting one plant in one area. Monoculture is a straightforward farming system. It mainly includes soil preparation, irrigation, and chemicals when needed, all of which focus on the preferences of a particular plant. Pests and diseases treat without considering the effects of the treatment on other plants that are not present.
On the contrary, precision agriculture uses diversified cropping systems. It is an effort to diversify the type of business or crops to avoid dependence on one agricultural product. In addition to fulfilling crop production, diversification can also help maintain agricultural land to remain productive. Two ways can do for agricultural diversification. First, increase the types of farming activities, and second, grow the types of plants on land.
To conclude, you can still adopt conventional farming in small business sizes or only for your business. This method can be more affordable than modern farming. Yet, contemporary farming is more effective for big companies since it has supported tools to make work easier and faster.
As the world has industrialised, many parts of human life have changed. Our consumption habits are no exception. The demand for meat has quadrupled in the last fifty years alone, putting incredible pressure on the food supply chain. In order to cope with this demand, new farming practices have come to light. Factory farming is just one of these practices, and is defined as “a system of farming in which a lot of animals are kept in a small closed area, in order to produce a large amount of meat, eggs, or milk as cheaply as possible”. This style of farming is vastly different to and far more harmful than traditional farming methods, with many of its problems being derived from its size and intensity. Its only upside is that it produces an enormous yield.
The primary difference between traditional farming and factory farming is that while traditional farming is a way of life, factory farming is a business practice, and this shows. Family farms are sustainable by nature; they are built with the intention of being passed down through generations, and exist in a state of interdependence with the local community. In traditional farming waste is not waste; manure is used as fertiliser and recycled. This is not the case in factory farms.
Factory farms produce waste on such a large scale at such a high concentration that they are unable to reuse all the waste, as its transport is costly, and manure ends up building up in the environment, releasing a horrifying amount of waste. Additionally, the high levels of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals found in the waste as a result of factory farming’s husbandry style makes it unsuitable for use as fertiliser. This waste can be incredibly damaging to the environment and public health; it contains E. coli, cleaning chemicals, and antibiotics. Even the slightest leakage into water supplies can be devastating, and this leakage is highly likely, because factory farms pool their waste into open-air lagoons that could leak at any time.
One of the biggest problems with factory farms is that they are monocultures, meaning they contain very few, if not just one, species. Traditional farms are varied and diverse; they breed several types of animals and the animals’ feed is mixed. Meanwhile, factory farms overspecialise in a single species and are fed only a single type of crop. A monoculture is naturally less ecologically beneficial than a balanced ecosystem because ecosystems naturally depend on diversity to thrive. A farm that breeds only one breed of cow, consuming only soy from plantations that grow exclusively soy, for example, is going to lack integrity and not support the biodiversity of other species such as pollinating bees.
Another problem with monocultures is that a disease targeting that species will thrive. For example, swine flu is more likely to spread and strengthen in farms that breed exclusively pigs, especially considering that factory farms pack thousands of animals in confined spaces. The risk of transmission is high – there are suitable hosts for the pathogen everywhere. In an attempt to reduce disease farmers often administer antibiotics to their entire group, including to healthy animals. Unfortunately, there is widespread concern that this causes bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance. Our current antibiotics become useless against these bacteria, allowing the spread of new disease in humans. This issue is further covered in our article “Farming, Evolution, and Superbugs”.
At the end of the day, the biggest problem with modern-day farming practices is that it takes a business-like approach to a sensitive and living process. While an industrialised strategy may work for industries, it does not work for something which is essentially a miniature ecosystem. The integrity and sustainability of our food chain is dependent on maintaining a system that shows respect for this delicate balance.
Comparison between Traditional and Modern Farming Methods
|Parameters of Comparison||Traditional Farming Methods||Modern Farming Methods|
|Scale||Large scale||Small scale|
|Land||Need more land||Need less land|
|Production||Less production||More production|
|Pesticide||Do not use pesticide||Use pesticide|
|Costly||Less costly||More costly|
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology,
Meerut 250110 (India)
Corresponding Author: [email protected]