The Farming System


Farming may not be the most obvious of topics to study in Geography, but farming activities cover a large percentage of the British Isles and without farming we would struggle to survive. Furthermore, different areas of the British Isles have different farming activities.

Farming types

There are 3 main farming types that you must know:

Arable farming

Farms growing crops e.g barley, wheat or potatoes.

Mixed farming

A combination of arable and livestock although one or the other may dominate.

Pastoral (livestock) farming

Farms that rear animals e.g sheep and cattle.

Factors affecting farming

  • Physical factors (or natural inputs)
  • Human factors (or economic/political inputs)
Farmer wondering what to produce, based on various physical and human factors

Farmers are decision makers. Their aim is to make a profit and survive on the land. The physical and human factors which affect each farm will influence the farmers actions and what he can do with his farm.

The Hill Sheep Farming System

The diagram shows the physical and human factors that affect hill sheep farming and the inputs required to produce saleable goods that can earn the farmer an income.

Inputs, processes and outputs of the hill farming system

Due to the relatively poor physical and human inputs the farmer is quite restricted in his activities. It is too cold for crops, and steep slopes mean poor soils. Sheep however are sure-footed on slopes and can cope with cold weather.



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