What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Monoculture?

The advantages of a monoculture are its simplicity and efficiency. The disadvantages are the increased pressures from diseases and lack of biodiversity that can threaten crops.

A monoculture is the cultivation of a single crop on an area of land that is not used for any other purpose. This agricultural practice is used primarily for food varieties that dominate the marketplace, according to PBS, and it has several advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of a monoculture

As a monoculture comprises a single crop, its cultivation is simpler and more efficient than simultaneously farming multiple crops in the same area. There is a focus of agricultural resources on only one species during planting, growing and harvesting, which can give some monocultures an economic advantage.

Disadvantages of a monoculture

There is more pressure from diseases and pests in a monoculture because they can spread more effectively as it is easy for them to find a host plant, as described by the University of Zurich. The lack of biodiversity of a monoculture makes it less adaptable to changes in the environment, so a single threat can destroy an entire crop. Monocultures are less effective than mixed plant communities when it comes to exploiting all the nutrients available in soil, water, light and fertilizer.