What are the Characteristics of Grain Farming?

i. Farms are very large, ranging from 240 to 16,000 hectares (600 to 40,000 acres), though the average in the USA is about 400 hectares (1000 acres).

ii. The tenant system or absentee- farmer practice is not prevalent.

iii. Settlements are small and often scattered but in Russian Steppes, where the land is farmed on a collective basis, settlements are more compact and the .farmers living on these farms live together in quite large planned communities.

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iv. Monoculture of wheat. The most important crop grown is wheat. In some places it occupies as much as half of the total farmland. Two types of wheat is grown-spring wheat and the winter wheat.

v. Cultivation is highly mechanised. Farmers invest heavily in labour saving devices such as tractors, ploughs, drills, and combine harvesters.

Additionally, farmers also erect large barns and storage elevators in which machinery can be kept and grain stored, as well as other farm buildings. Therefore, huge capital investments are made on the purchase, maintenance and replacement of machines.

vi. Extensive nature of cultivation. Extensive cultivation implies farming on large holdings, little labour and a greater use of farm machinery, such that the yield per man is high. High degi mechanisation reduces labour requirement and requires a large size of farming unit.


vii. The output per unit of land is always low as compared to regions where intensive cultivation ii common practice. Despite low yields per unit of land, the farming is commercial because ofalj surplus (the per capita production is high).

viii. Extensive commercialised grain farming is subject to climatic vagaries like drought, hail and plant diseases and attack by pests and insects. Commercial wheat farmers are at the mercy unpredictable rainfall.

Droughts in the Prairies or the Ukraine may last for several years mid farming difficult. Severe winter frosts or summer heat waves reduce yields drastically. The neteff fluctuation in productivity and crop failures



i. Large scale commercial grain cultivation is found in only five countries-the United States, Car CIS, Argentina and Australia.

ii. Best developed in the Eurasian Steppes in region of chernozem soil, east of the Volga River northern Kazakastan and the southern part of western Siberia; the Canadian and American Praiii the Pampas of Argentina; the Veldt of South Africa; the Australian Downs; and the Canterbi Plain of New Zealand.

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