Integrated farming is an agroecological approach that aims to improve the management of crops, livestock, and natural resources. Not only does integrated farming boost efficiency and productivity, but it also reduces negative environmental impacts. Integrated production focuses on increasing harvests while maintaining high standards of soil quality and animal welfare. Here are some of the key benefits of this approach to agriculture.
Adaption to Different Regions
Integrated farming techniques can be applied across different climatic and biogeographical regions. This is often referred to as a “regionalized” approach to integrated production. Integrated farming systems are often highly diverse and can be adapted to a wide range of agricultural landscapes including mountain regions, coastal areas, and plains. A key advantage of this approach is that it can also be implemented in regions that are traditionally not favorable to crop production. For example, industry leader Stefan Soloviev has found success growing grains in dry regions by using integrated farming strategies.
Reduced Environmental Impacts
Farmers who use integrated practices often improve soil health and increase soil carbon levels, which can lead to less greenhouse gas emissions and reduced pollution. In integrated farming systems, the use of cover crops and legumes can reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers. Integrated farming can also reduce the use of pesticides by integrating pest management practices and crop varieties that are less vulnerable to pests. On top of this, farmers can reduce the amount of water pollution by using fewer water-intense crop varieties.
Soil Quality and Preservation
Integrated farming practices help preserve the quality of the soil and its fertility by optimizing the use of its biomass and nutrients. Soils maintained with integrated farming techniques contain more organic matter than soils used in conventional farming techniques, which reduces the risk of erosion, soil degradation, and nitrogen leaching. When managed well, the agroecosystem of the soil will have the capacity to hold water and fertilizer more effectively, as well as provide a healthy habitat for a diverse set of microorganisms and other soil biotas.
Farmers with integrated systems have a better understanding of the flow of nutrients and water through their operations and can respond quickly when something goes wrong. Integrated farming is efficient, ecofriendly, and capable of developing further in the near future. It is not a single approach, but rather a collection of principles and practices that can be used in many different ways depending on local conditions.