What Are the Disadvantages of Monoculture?

The disadvantages of monoculture in agriculture include: reduced diversity of plants and animals, increased difficulty in nutrient recycling, increased pesticide use and the use of unsustainable practices resulting in decreased yields. This type of farming is reliant on the use of chemical fertilizers.

Planting a single type of crop gives pests a chance to destroy the whole crop. An increased need to push animal and plant species beyond their natural productivity levels has led to the instability of the productive practices of large-scale agriculture, where new cultivars of the same crops must be developed. Farmers who practice monoculture are more vulnerable to natural disasters and failed crops. A farmer who plants only corn may not be able to overcome a drought year, but a farmer who plants corn, tomatoes, green beans and other vegetables may be able to save one crop from failing.

Although monoculture farms are typically large-scale and produce plenty of animal waste that can be composted, they are unable to utilize a nutrient-recycling process in which animal and agricultural wastes are returned to the land as a result of their production system. Instead, synthetic fertilizers take the place of compost, creating increased risk for environmental pollution and increasing overhead costs for farmers in the long term.