10 Types of Farming In South Africa

Farming is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world and it usually involves the growing of crops and rearing of animals for the betterment of man. Farming is a very important aspect of Agriculture and its aim is to provide enough, good and healthy food to feed the ever-increasing population worldwide.

There are different types of farming systems in South Africa, as we have some other types which are practised in other countries and the variety of farming practices is due to two main factors which are: climatic factors and soil fertility.

Based on these two factors, we have 10 types of farming in South Africa and they are:

Types of Farming In South Africa

1. Arable Farming

Arable farming only involves the cultivation of crops in warm climates. It is practised on gently sloping or flat land with deep, fertile soil. The land mustn’t be too wet or too dry. Land suitable for growing crops should be relatively sheltered and machine-friendly.

Moreover, Arable land is a land well suitable for the cultivation of crops.

Examples of arable crops depending on use include: Pulse crops; the edible parts of the legume family which are rich in protein such as peas, lentil, and beans, Grain crops; this include the cultivation of mullets and grasses cultivated mainly for their edible starchy grains such as maize, Rice, wheat and barley.

Arable farming is very important for the betterment of man and nature,  such importance includes; arable farming develops crop rotation techniques as it thereby helps in the control of pests, weeds, and diseases associated with specific crops. They are also important to the environment by improving the texture of the soil by sowing pasture and or increasing the nitrogen level in the soil by growing legume crops.

2. Pastoral Farming

Pastoral farming is the type of farming in South Africa that includes the rearing of animals only in cold and wet climates that are unsuitable for crop cultivation. Land with steep slopes and poor soils cannot support the use of machinery and cannot provide the nutrients required for crop growth. Only heather and grasses can thrive on such terrain.

Stronger winds on steep slopes can easily damage crops as well. As a result, they are ideal for raising livestock such as sheep. 

Sheep can easily graze on hilly terrain and feed on the grass that grows there.

Dairy animals, on the other hand, require flat land with plenty of pasture to feed on. Dairy farming is also practiced near markets due to the perishability of dairy products.

Also, this type of farming plays an important role in the feeding of man and other wide populations through numerous supplies such as meat and milk from the animals, it also helps in agricultural productions via animal traction and manure. 

3. Mixed Farming

Mixed farming entails growing crops and raising animals on the same plot of land. Pastoral and arable farming complement each other and increase farm yield. This type of farming reduces the risk of incurring losses due to poor weather. For example, if the crops aren’t doing well, farm animals can still provide a good source of food and money.

Furthermore, animals provide farmers with the manure they require to improve soil fertility and increase crop yield.

4. Subsistence Farming

Subsistence farming is the practice that includes the growing of crops and raising livestock for personal consumption. Usually, it is done on a small scale with the primary goal of feeding the farmer and his or her family and not for the purpose of selling to make profits. It can be labor-intensive in terms of manpower, but it uses little to no machinery or technology. Subsistence farmers are well determined to be self-sufficient.

5. Commercial Farming

Unlike subsistence farming,  Commercial farming is mainly done for profit. It entails large-scale animal husbandry and crop cultivation in order to increase output and profits. Technology and machinery are used, with only a few workers operating them thereby reducing the manpower required. Monoculture, or the cultivation of a single type of cash crops, such as flowers or coffee, is common in this type of farming.

6. Extensive and Intensive Farming

Extensive farming or cultivation entails extensive land tillage with the goal of increasing output. Farmers increase the size of their farmland to increase yield without changing any other factors. In contrast, intensive farming entails increasing capital and labor on the same plot of land in order to increase yield.

7. Nomadic Farming

This basically is the type of farming in South Africa in which the farmers who practice nomadic farming move their animals from one location to another in search of pasture and water. It is similar to pastoral farming and is usually practiced in arid and semi-arid regions.

This type of farming is practiced in various parts of the world to raise various animals. Camel, sheep, cattle, donkeys, goats, and horses are among them. It provides food for families as a form of subsistence farming.

8. Sedentary farming

In contrast to nomadic farming, Sedentary farming involves tilling the same plot of land over a long period of time. The land, as opposed to nomadic farming, is used on a permanent basis for growing crops or raising animals.

9. Poultry farming

Poultry farming is a type of farming that entails the raising of turkeys, geese, ducks, and chickens for the purpose of meat and eggs production. It can be carried out on either a large or small-scale farm. However, there is a growing demand for locally raised poultry fed on natural pasture.

Fish Farming

Aquaculture is another term for fish farming. It is the practice of rearing large amounts of fish in large tanks or fish ponds. Although farmed fishes have a bad reputation,, when properly managed, they are clean, sustainable, and produce high-quality protein.



These are the types of farming in South Africa. If you would like to start a farming business, we believe that this list would guide you on making the best choice on the type of farming to go for.

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