The upcoming discussion will update you about the difference between intensive and extensive cultivation of crops.

Intensive cultivation implies constant raising of crops from the same plot of land. Thus, if more and more capital and labour are applied to the same plot of land, the system of cultivation is known as intensive. Greater application of labour and capital involves the use of artificial irrigation, deeper ploughing, sowing of improved seeds, use of artificial manures and fertilisers and of modern implements and machinery.

By cultivating his land more intensively, the farmer tries to make the maximum use of it. This method is usually followed in those countries where land is relatively scarce and the size of population is large. Thus in densely popu­lated developing countries we find this type of cultivation. There are, however, many limitations to the intensive aspects of cultivation.

For exam­ple, if the same plot of land is cultivated more and more without bringing about any improvements in the art of agriculture, sooner or later, the yield from that plot will decrease. This indicates, therefore, that in case of inten­sive cultivation, there must be continuous improvements in the knowledge of cultivation. This method of cultivations enables a country to achieve faster agricultural progress.


Extensive cultivation, on the other hand, implies use of land on a large scale. Here, the farmer can have as much land as he can manage. The method of cultivation may be primitive and un-scientific. The yield per acre may be comparatively low. The farmer may move from one plot of land to another. He may bring about many improvements in cultivation but this would involve extra expenditure and create many problems. Such methods were followed in the last century by countries like the U.S.A.

Intensive and extensive methods are two alternative ways of increasing productivity. The terms have wide connotation today. They are applied to industry also. However, it must not be taken for granted that extensive cultivation means small scale farming.

A farmer may have a large area at his disposal but he may apply intensive methods to increase productivity of land. The difference between extensive and intensive cultivation is, therefore, one of method rather than of the size of the farm. In advanced countries like Canada, U.S.A., Australia and even in China (where land is nationalised). Most farms are intensively cultivated. In India, too, the em­phasis is on the intensive aspect of cultivation.