What Innovations Boosted English Agriculture?

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  • What Innovations Boosted English Agriculture?
    • Specialised Farming
      • The introduction of the newly developed Dutch And Rotherham Plough aided the agricultural revolution as it required far less oxen to move it in comparison to the heavy wheeled northern European plough. This allowed for more crops to be produced with half the labour required.
      • Enclosure was a policy that came into action, which was contradictory to the previously established feudal system,In the traditional open field system many subsistence farmers cropped strips of land in large fields that were "Common Land" and divided the produce. These peasants typically worked under a nobleman or the landowner.
        • The process of enclosure involved the landowner stripping the delegated pieces of land away from the peasants , Th e landowner would then be left with a large section of enclosed land to farm with resulting in a higher yield of certain crops, this also meant that fewer workers were needed to work the land
          • Many acts of Parliament in the 16th - 17th Century encouraged the process of enclosure.
      • In England the introduction the practice of Selective Breeding was introduced by Robert Bakewell and Thomas Coke which involved mating two animals together that had desirable characteristics. This allowed farmers to benefit substantially as livestock was now producing an increased amount of goods,
      • Farmers began to realise that different regions could specialise in types of farming more suited to local conditions
        • Before the 17th Century There was no national markets for agricultural products and farmers generally produced what was needed in the local community
    • Introduction Of New Crops
      • he decision to include clover in the new crop system promoted the growth of a nutrient richer soil that in turn resulted in a higher yield and a higher quality of crops to be produced as a resultT.
      • The introduction of clover farming meant that the previously established "fallow field" was rendered null and therefore a higher amount of crops could have been produced as all fields of the land were now being used consecutively and soil deprivation was no longer an issue.
    • Norfolk Rotation Of Crops
      • The Norfolk rotation of the crop system was established in Norfolk in England and several other counties before the end of the 17th Century. It placed an emphasis on fodder crops and also resulted in the absence of a fallow year.
      • The System was executed in four courses, each course placed an emphasis on one type of crop; Wheat was grown in the first year, Turnips were grown in the second year, followed by Barley with clover and ryegrass undersown.
        • The Clover and Ryegrass were used for cultivation or feed, in the fourth year. The turnips were used to feed livestock in the winter months. This new system encouraged a more productive use of the land and was cumulative in effect,as the fodder crops consumed by the livestock would produce large amounts of previously scarce animal manure, when the sheep grazed the fields, their waste fertilised the fields resulting in a higher cereal yield in following years.
      • Previously Peasants worked each separate part of a field, over a three course period and they would be given this land by the landowner, who was often a Nobleman. This allowed for peasants to earn a living.
        • The Norfolk Crop Rotation System relied on the act of the landowner expelling the peasants (leaving many people homeless and resorting to begging in order to survive) The landowner would then be left with a large open enclosed field to harvest therefore allowing for a more resourceful and productive use of this new space.
      • Viscount Townshend introduced the Norfolk rotation system to Britain after seeing it in action in Holland.
      • Due to the farming of the crop clover this increased the fertility of the soil, Clover is a plant that adds nitrogen compounds to the soil, Clover replaced grass in the Norfolk system.
        • Clover was used for grazing livestock, As Clover is more nutritious than Grass this allowed for the livestock to produce manure that could have been ploughed back into the soil.
    • Water meadows
      • Water meadows worked by diverting water from a nearby river or stream to a farmers field, This diversion would have been regulated by a network of gates and dams.
      • Water meadows enabled farmers to maintain more working and non - working animals, the number of working animals increased.
      • Water meadows allowed for crops to grow faster and also for the soil to maintain it's nutrients, it also encouraged the farming of cash crops resulting in an increase of the value of farming.
      • The  introduction of meadows allowed for crops to meet the growing demand of the local community and the national market demand for crops.

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