The below mentioned article provides notes on high-input system of agriculture.
A main feature of the high-input system of agriculture is genetically uniform crops. These reliably produce high yields if used with appropriate inputs. But their use has several drawbacks. First, when farmers start planting seeds furnished by seed companies or state agencies, they stop using and usually discard their own varieties, which were well adapted to the microenvironment on their farm.
Local varieties contain valuable genes that are thus lost to plant breeders. Second, genetic uniformity means crops are more susceptible to sudden outbreaks of disease. When a pathogen mutates and overcomes the plant’s resistance, the entire crop over a wide geographic area can be ravaged.
An excellent example is the potato blight that ravaged the Irish potato crop in the 1840s. Sometimes government policies actively promote high-input agriculture and discourage sustainable practices and technologies. Such policies are difficult to change because large and powerful lobbies, including farm organisations and industry advocates, have vested interests in such policies.
To protect their resource base-the soil-and to decrease costs, farmers have begun to adopt alternative practices. Taken together, these practices constitute sustainable agriculture, which differs from conventional agriculture not so much by the practices it rejects, but by the practices it incorporates into the farming system.
The more widely used term organic farming describes two major aspects of alternative agriculture:
(1) Substituting manures and other organic matter for inorganic fertilizers and
(2) Using biological pest control instead of chemical pest control.
The objective of sustainable agriculture is to sustain and enhance, rather than to reduce and simplify the biological interactions on which production agriculture depends. Alternative agriculture is not a single system of farm practices, but encompasses many farming systems variously called organic, biological, low-input, regenerative, or sustainable systems.
Such systems emphasise management practices as well as biological relationships between organisms; in addition, they take advantage of naturally occurring processes such as nitrogen fixation.