Monoculture Farming

Definition - What does Monoculture Farming mean?

Monoculture farming is the raising of a single crop within a specified area. Most of the commercial farms in the US are now monoculture in nature, with crops like corn and soy taking top billing. This is in contrast to the traditional method of farming, which relied on multiple crops being planted within a specific area.

Many indoor farms growing medicinal herbs and flowers are considered to be monoculture farms.

MaximumYield explains Monoculture Farming

Monoculture farming is a relatively new technique, but one that has taken hold of the US farming system. It is now the basis for most of our agriculture. Really, it is nothing more than the practice of intensively growing a single crop within a specific area. This is completely at odds with the traditional method of farming, which allowed the growing of multiple crops.

Many examples of monoculture farming can be found today. Corn and soy production are both very common, and most farms will “specialize” in one plant type. For instance, an Iowa corn farmer will grow corn exclusively, while a Georgia farmer might grow soy beans only.

The problem with monoculture farming is that it eliminates biological controls provided by mixed crop gardening, and it also causes soil degradation. In a traditional farm, different plant species require different levels of nutrients, and many also replace depleted nutrients.

Within a monoculture system, depleted nutrients must be replaced through the application of fertilizers instead. Because plants are more susceptible to pests in this type of farming, significant amounts of pesticides must also be applied.

Monoculture farming also hurts biodiversity. For instance, growing biologically identical plants can create problems when the environmental conditions in a particular area change. Because plants are not allowed to adapt naturally to those changes, it can result in widespread crop failure.

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