A farming system is an established way to operate a piece of land to raise crops, livestock or both and includes everything done on farm and outside the farm related to farm operations.
OUTLINE OF THE TOPICa) Introduction
b) Classification Criteria
c) Factors Influencing the Choice of Farming Systems in Pakistan
d) Kinds of Farming Systems
The classification of farming systems is based on 2 main principles
(1) Available natural resources - includes land, water resources, climate, grazing areas etc.
(2) Dominant pattern of farm and household activities - such as crops, aquaculture, livestock, forestry, processing and off-farm activities etc.
There are many ways to categorize farming systems;
a) extensive and intensive farming systems
b) subsistence and commercial farming systems
c) dry and irrigated farming systems
d) individual and multiple farming systems
e) arable farming, livestock rearing and mixed farming
THE CHOICE OF FARMING SYSTEMS IN PAKISTAN
1) SOIL - factors of soil including, texture, depth, slope, erosion, pH, fertility, mineral nutrients, alkalinity, salinity, acidity, drainage etc.
2) CLIMATE - temperature, precipitation, irrigation, solar radiations and photoperiod, humidity, winds, storms, air pollutants etc.
3) RESOURCES - factors like capital, labor, seed, fertilizers, inseticides, farm machinery, technology, storage facilities etc.
4) CAPABILITIES OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS - the genetic potentials and production of the selected animals and plants in relation to the selected place for setting up the farm
5) ECOLOGY - crops, pests, trees, animals, weeds, and diseases etc of the selected location for setting up the farm.
6) SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC FACTORS - markets, agro-based industry in vicinity, consumer choice, demand, farm inputs and output prices, transportation, etc.
KINDS OF FARMING SYSTEMS
There are many different types of farming systems in the world based upon the above described classification criteria. A few important kinds are briefed here;
i) ARABLE FARMING
Farming system which includes production of only crops in the field and the related farm operation of cultural practices, harvesting, storage, transportation and marketing. It includes many different types of cropping systems.
ii) LIVESTOCK FARMING (PASTORAL FARMING SYSTEM)
The rearing of animals at farm for production of meat, milk and eggs and related farm operation of management like purchase of farm inputs, vaccination schemes and transport of the products to the market.iii) POULTRY FARMINGThe raising of chicken for meat and egg production in farms and associated management operations.iv) INTENSIVE FARMINGIn this system multiple cropping system and raising of more livestock is carried out at the same time in one calender year in order to get maximum output from the land and labour resources. There is efficient utilization of solar energy and available resources at the farm to get the maximum yield.v) EXTENSIVE FARMINGIn this system extensive land is used for the farming, with minimum expenditure of on attention to efficient use of the other resources. Yields per unit area of land are usually low. The purpose of such farming system is to get the maximum output from the scarce resource e.g., water, labour, fertilizer.vi) DIVERSIFIED FARMINGIn this system a wide spectrum of crops are cultivated and many different types of animals are raised.vii) SUBSISTENCE FARMINGThe farming system the basic objective is to fulfil the requirements of food, clothing and shelter of the farming family. It is common in developing countries due to small land holdings of the farmers.viii) COMMERCIAL FARMINGThe farming system in which objective is commercial scale production of farm products including crop and livestock products (milk, meat, eggs).ix) TRUCK FARMINGThe objective of such farming system is to produce one or two main types of crops or livestock to transport the products to the nearby markets or agro-based industry. The products are produced in bulk and marketed.x) DRY / RAINFED FARMINGFarming system in which crop cultivation and rearing of livestock is carried out in areas with low rainfall and no irrigation facilities. The yields are largely affected by water availability. The objective of such system is to conserve moisture and get maximum possible income and output from the available rainfall or water.xi) URBAN BASED FARMING SYSTEM
In large towns and cities, intensive production of perishable high value commodities such as fresh vegetables is being carried out. This is a commercial system with high levels of inputs (fertilizers, pesticides etc.) and links to the both rural and urban areas.xii) ARID FARMING SYSTEMThis system depends on irrigation water for raising of crops and rearing of animals in the farm. This system in Pakistan is dependant upon the large and diverse canal system of Indus rivers and its tributires which irrigate vastness of plains of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and small area of Balochistan.xiii) OTHER FARMING SYSTEMS IN PAKISTANThere are numerous other examples of farming systems likea) Agri-pastoral farming system (crops + livestock farming)b) Fruit Farming (orchards)c) Mountain Farming (contour plantations)d) Grassland Farming (fodder production for livestock farming)e) Fish Farming (raising of fish and associated farm enterprises) etc.