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By 5000 BC the Sumerians had developed core agricultural techniques including large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organized irrigation, and the use of a specialized labour force.
Intensive farming orÂ intensive agricultureÂ is an agricultural system that aims to produce maximum yield from available land. Besides, itâ€™s also anÂ agriculturalÂ production system characterized by the high inputs ofÂ capital,Â labour or heavy usage of technologies such asÂ pesticidesÂ and chemicalÂ fertilizersÂ relative to land area. You could say food is produced in large quantities with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The products such as eggs, meat and many agricultural products available in many supermarkets are produced using modern intensive farming. Intensive farming is practiced widely by many of the developed economies of the world. Sustainable intensive farming, intensive aquaculture, intensive live stock farming and managed intensive grazing fall under intensive farming.
Environment issues of Intensive Farming
Intensive farming may bring some issues to the environment. For instance:-
Intensive farming includes the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.Â It is also associated with overpopulated animal farms, which are often associated with pollution and animal sickness. And even more disturbing is the fact that the majority of working farms use intensive farming. This means more chemicals on our plate at each meal.
The use of such massive amounts of nitrogen based fertilizers contaminates the area lakes and rivers.
Forests are destroyed to create large open fields and this could lead to soil erosion and affects natural habits in the forest.
The pesticides sprayed on crops destroy pests, contaminate the crops and kill good insects. Eventually, these chemicals are passed on to the human beings.Â The fruits and vegetables bought from farms that promote intensive farming are covered with invisible pesticide. These are not easily washed off. The residue of the pesticide affect the health of human beings.Â
Use of pesticides has numerous negative health effects on workers who applied those, people that live nearby the area of application or downstream from it and consumers who eat the pesticides which remain on their food.
INTENSIVE FARMING IN MALAYSIA
Livestock farming in Sabah once seen as backyard farming and pose no threat to the environment, but with the rapid development in the livestock industry, particularly in monogastric subsector, coupled with rapid expansion of urban and peri-urban area, livestock farming has become the critical issue. Excessive livestock waste as a result of intensive farming system need to be addressed. Although animal waste can be utilized as a manure to improve the physical and chemical properties of soil, it can also cause environmental hazard if not managed properly. It can caused malodour or odour nuisance to environment, surface water contamination, secondary pollution and also religious sensitivity.
Table 1. Estimated Livestock Population of Sabah, 1999
Waste Produce (m.t.) per Year
Source: (Mokhtar and Chia, 2000)
Table 2. Total livestock population and the wastes produced per year
The rapid growth of the livestock industry caused on environmental problem-related to the livestock waste generated from the intensive farming system. Livestock waste generated from an extensive or semi extensive farming system does not seem to cause any major environmental problem as shown in table 2, cattle or buffalo wastes amount to 1.4 million metric ton compare to pig wastes about 248,000 metric ton. The problem is further aggravated with the rapid development of the urban and peri-urban area where most of the livestock farms are situated. The total livestock population and the waste produced per year for selected animal is illustrated in Table 2.
Environmental problems cause by livestock farming
Main environmental problem cause by livestock farming is water pollution, according to The Malaysian Environmental Quality Report, 12 rivers in the state were polluted with ammoniac nitrogen (NH3-N) due to livestock farming and domestic wastes in 1997. Water pollution cause by livestock farming occurred due to malfunction of waste lagoon or accidentally spill over from flooded lagoon or deliberate flushing of wastes directly into river system. Water may turn reddish brown and may destroy the fragile ecosystem. Pollution from nutrients contained in animal manure, namely phosphorous and nitrogen is one of the most serious problems, leading to excess algae growth, robbing water of oxygen which may lead to mass destruction of fish.
The anaerobic decomposition of stored animal wastes generates various volatile metabolic compounds of which a dozen contributes to odour, in particular hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and ammonia. These can cause continuous source of strong, persistent and unreasonably offensive hog/poultry odours. The resulting of air pollution is interfering with surrounding areas. Air pollution in the form of ammonia nitrogen can cause respiratory illness in the neighborhood up to two miles away from the site.
Potential source of diseases
Beside serious environmental problem, animal waste also may become a source of various diseases such as infectious worm larvae hatched from the worm eggs passed out with the faeces; contamination encrusted with organic matter is an ideal breeding ground of harmful bacteria. Arthropods such as flies, lice, fleas that are attracted by animal waste may trigger outbreak of infectious diseases, because they are the vectors to transmit diseases such as viruses, rickettsiae, protozoa and helminthes.
WAYS TO PREVENT
There are several ways to prevent Environmental problems cause by livestock farming, fr instance:-
To minimize environment problem caused by pig waste there should be proper animal waste management system such as improving the housing adopting by the Pit Recharge System and Concrete Floor unit.
Â The adoption of the Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBBR) with an Automation, which is waste water treatment system with the function of stirring, aeration and settling.Â
Â To reduce the odour emitted from farm, a close housing system with regulated ventilation is used. Thatâ€™s mean, by using high efficiency fans at one end of the building; fresh air is sucked ion from outside environment passing through the cooling pad to reduce the temperature before being delivered into the building.
Livestock Farming Rules, 2001. In the meantime the Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry is well aware of the need to control and rectify irregularities in the livestock farming practices. Base on this, Livestock Farming Rules, 2000 (Draft) was introduced. This regulation was created under the existing Animal Ordinance 1962 (Amended 1998). Under this legislation, all livestock farms shall be operated under the permit of Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry, Sabah (DOVSAI).
Intensive farming orÂ intensive agricultureÂ is an agricultural system characterized by the high inputs ofÂ capital,Â labour or heavy usage of technologies such asÂ pesticidesÂ and chemicalÂ fertilizersÂ relative to land area. Intensive farming is practiced widely by many of the developed economies of the world. However, it may bring disadvantages to our environment.
Livestock farming has become the critical issue. The rapid growth of the livestock industry in Sabah caused on environmental problem-related to the livestock waste generated from the intensive farming system. Excessive livestock waste as a result of intensive farming system need to be addressed. If not managed properly, it can caused malodour or odour nuisance to environment, surface water contamination, secondary pollution and also religious sensitivity.
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