Pastoral Farming Advantages and Disadvantages

Pastoral Farming Advantages and Disadvantages
Pastoral Farming

What is Pastoral Farming? There are various Agricultural practices and each is being practiced when its need arises. These practices differs from region to region. The various methodologies in Agriculture is worth studying because this subject is very important to mankind. Here, we will be looking at a type of Agricultural practice known as Pastoral Farming. Pastoral Farming is a farming system whereby a farmer keeps only livestock such as Cow, Goat, Sheep and others. This farming system can also be referred to as ranching or grazing. In this farming system, it is the sole responsibility of the farmer to make sure that the livestock are properly fed and taken care of. Pastoral Farming is very important because it helps in providing diary products, eggs, meat, hides and skin.

One of the most important things the farmer does is to provide enough pasture or grazing area for the animals. This will lead us into identifying the three types of pastoral farming which are; ranching, nomadic herding and ley. The advantages and disadvantages of each pastoral farming system will be equally discussed. The basic principles behind each type of this pastoral system is how the farmer chooses to harbour or feed these animals.

Types of Pastoral Farming

Having known the three types of pastoral farming, it is time to explain each of them as well as know their advantages and Disadvantages;

1. Nomadic Herding

In this system of pastoral farming, the herdsman moves with his animals from place to place in search of pasture and water. This system is common among the Fulani people of Northern part of Nigeria. The move about with their animals from one place to another, if they exhaust the pasture in that area, they will move away with their animals to another area. They equally work with the environment in the sense that when it is dry season, they will move to a favourable environment because there may not be enough pasture and water for their animals during this period. It is also the duty of the herdsman to make sure that these animals are protected from all sorts of harm and danger.

Pastoral Farming Advantages and Disadvantages
Nomadic herding

Advantages of Nomadic herding

1. It helps in ensuring that the animals are fed with different types of pastures. It also helps to ensure that there is constant feed supply for the animals.

2. The farmer does not need to spend a lot in providing building or fencing an area for the animals.

3. It erases the cost of growing and maintenance of pastures on the part of the farmer.

Disadvantages of Nomadic Herding

1. The animals can get infected with different types of animal disease in the course of moving from one area to another. In most cases, the farmers may not be able to control the outbreak of pests and diseases.

2. Most animals in this type of pastoral farming takes more time to attain full maturity or size, thereby prolonging the normal time for selling it off or consuming it. The movement of these animals from one area to another makes them to loose a reasonable weight.

3. Some animals may not survive the attack of dangerous wild animals, most times, these herdsman finds it difficult to defeat predation by stronger wild animals who may end up eating or injuring some of these animals.

4. They may constitute an economic loss to other farmer who are growing foods crops along their routes. This is one of the causes of herdsmen clashing with other farmers and host communities.

5. The animal’s dung and waste which would have acted as a source of additional income to the farmer is being wasted as it is being scattered along their routes. Note that animal dungs and waste is a great source of organic manure.

6. The littering of the animal dungs and waste is a source of pollution to the environment because it produces a foul smell and an ugly sight.

7. Some of the animals may die of hunger before another grazing land is located.


Ranching is a pastoral farming system in which a farmer rears his animals in a defined place which is usually fenced where enough pasture and water will be provided. This system usually takes place in a favourable environment for the animals. In Nigeria, one of the most popular cattle ranch is Obudu cattle ranch which also provides a home for tourists. Ranches maybe built by individuals or even the government on defined terms and agreements.

Pastoral Farming Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Ranching

1. The animals are provided with enough pasture and water all year round.

2. It is usually managed by trained personnels who makes sure that the animals are properly managed. For instance, They ensure low incidence of pests and diseases and in the case of outbreak of pests and diseases, they are there to arrest such situations.

3. The animals grows and matures rapidly because there is enough food and water available for them and they do not need to cover long distances in search of pasture and water.

4. The farmer does not have much to loose as the death rate in this farming system is low. He is also able to ensure good breeding and takes care of new breeds.

Disadvantages of Ranching

1. Ranching system can only be undertaken by wealthy farmers. This is because of the cost of setup and management.

2. There will be great competition among the animals because of overstocking. Those animals that can’t compete favourably may die or may not grow well like the others that can.

3. It requires proper management and as a result mostly requires the service of trained personnels that are hired.

Ley Farming

In this method, the farmer plants both forage crops and foods Crops in alternation. The idea behind this method is to plant crops that will be acceptable to farm animals as well as food crops for man. After harvesting the food crops, the animals can graze on the forage crops planted.

Pastoral Farming Advantages and Disadvantages
Ley Farming

Advantages of Ley Farming

1. The farmer benefits from animal droppings which serves as manure.

2. The land is fully utilized.

3. At times, the crop residues are used for feeding the animals.

Disadvantages of Ley Farming

1. Over trampling by the farm animals may loosen the soil structure thereby making the soil prone to erosion.

2. It is very expensive to practice.

3. If they food crops are not properly harvested, the farm animals may feed on it.

Pastoral Farming is practiced in many countries of the world. Each farmer practices the type that is suitable for him. I believe you have known the advantages and disadvantages of pastoral farming. Keep visiting for more interesting topics on Agriculture.

Also Read; What is plantation Farming? Meaning, Characteristics and Importance

What is Mixed Cropping? Types, Advantages and Disadvantages