The Agricultural Revolution


 The Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution occurred between 1750 and 1900 when the way in which farmers produced food in this country changed. In 1750 most people lived and worked in villages producing food. As the country went through the Industrial Revolution though it was necessary to increase the amount of food grown. This was because the population was increasing quite rapidly.

In the early part of the eighteenth century most farmers had strips of land that they would grow their food on. This system had many disadvantages. Banks of earth separating the strips were wasted land, drainage was poor and because the farmers new little about fertilisers they had to leave land fallow (unused) every four years.

It can be argued that there was no Agricultural Revolution as the changes in farming were gradual. By the early nineteenth century farmers were beginning to use the Norfolk Crop rotation system. This system meant that no land had to remain fallow. The system worked like this:

Each area of land would be split into four sections. The crop that was grown on each field would be rotated so that different nutrients would be taken from the land. In the first year turnips or another root crop would be grown; in the second year barley was grown in the field (barley could be sold at a profit); in the third year clover or a grass crop was grown and in the fourth year wheat was grown in the field (wheat could also be sold for a profit).

As the demand for food increased people began to make improvements to the types of machines used on farms. A seed drill and threshing machine being amongst the first new inventions to help farmers. Inventions such as these, along with the enclosure of fields, helped agriculture to develop rapidly and produce enough food for the growing population.

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Page last updated 11/03/01
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