HKDSE Geography/M5/The Farming System

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Agriculture is defined as the cultivation of crops or rearing of livestock for food and raw materials for clothing, shelter and secondary industries. It can be regarded as a system with inputs, processes and outputs. See this table:

Inputs Processes Outputs
  • Physical inputs include the weather and climate (sunlight, rainfall...), land (relief, aspect, soil...), drainage, and of course seeds and livestock.
  • Cultural inputs include labour, capital, entrepreneurship, technology (machinery, equipment, agrochemicals...), management, government policy, transport, market, training, advisory services.
  • For crop cultivation: Ploughing, sowing, irrigating, weeding, fertilising, harvesting
  • For livestock rearing: Breeding, grazing, feeding, shearing, vaccinating, milking, slaughtering
They include products such as crops and animal products, as well as by-products like animal excrement, waste water, weeds, stubble and so on. In commercial farming, the products will be sold to the market. The profit/income/cash (NOT capital) earned will be used on future inputs, forming a feedback loop.

In the sections below, we will study the factors that affect farming decisions. This includes

  • Decisions on the crop types grown
  • Decisions on the amount of input