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Monoculture Farming – Disadvantages And Negative Effects On The Environment

[ad_1] The term monoculture in agriculture refers to the growing of a single crop over a large area. Monoculture is the norm in most large-scale commercial agriculture in the U.S. and in many parts of the world. Monoculture has certain short-term benefits, primarily in terms of economy of scale, and automation of the production process (and thus reduction of labor costs). However, in the long-term, the disadvantages of monoculture are overwhelming – this farming method has numerous negative effects on the environment, and furthermore, these negative effects tend to become amplified over the long-run. This article weighs the pros and cons of this sort of uniform approach to agriculture, and points to some alternative practices that are more sustainable, both environmentally and economically, and thus superior on all counts in the long-run.

Pros and cons of monoculture farming: what are its advantages?

It is immediately evident that I am not a fan of or advocate for monoculture. But there are some direct and strongly compelling reasons that people engage in this destructive practice. Before we talk about why this practice is so harmful, I find it fruitful to first examine its benefits or advantages.

The main advantage is economy of scale, primarily through automation. Especially in the U.S., labor costs are very high, so anything that can reduce the use of labor in agriculture is highly likely to result in cost savings. This is often true even when the automation reduces yield per acre. For example, if a crop has been grown, it can often be harvested in different ways, with different levels of automation. Greater automation in harvesting might result in greater waste, such as grain left in the fields, but if it requires less labor (such as one person driving a large machine which covers the ground very quickly, as opposed to several people driving smaller, slower machines, or many people harvesting the crop by hand) it may be superior in a cost-benefit analysis, even if it…

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Sourced from by Alex Zorach

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