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Describe the Changes In Farming in the 18th Century and the 19th Century. Explain why these changes were needed and how they improved the lives of people in this period?

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Introduction

Describe the Changes In Farming in the 18th Century and the 19th Century. Explain why these changes were needed and how they improved the lives of people in this period? From the 16th Century onwards, an essentially organic agriculture was gradually replaced by a farming system that depended on energy-intensive inputs. For many years the agricultural revolution in England was thought to have changed by three major things. The first one was the selective breeding of Livestock. The second one was the removal of common property rights to land, and the third one was a new system of cropping, involving some new crops like Turnips and Clover. All this was to do with a group of 'heroic' individuals, there names being Jethro Tull, Lord Townshend, Arthur Young and Robert Bakewell. These men were seen as having triumphed over a conservative mass of country Bumpkins. ...read more.

Middle

Contrary to expectations, however, population grew to unprecedented levels after 1750, reaching 16.6 million in 1850, and agricultural output expanded with it. One reason output grew was through new farming systems involving the rotation of turnips and clover, although these were part of the general intensification of agricultural production, with more food being produced in the same area of land. Intensity was also increased by land reclamation, especially the draining of the fenlands of Eastern England, from the 17th Century onwards, when a low-intensity agricultural system based on fishing and fowling was replaced by a high-intensity system based on arable crops. Other examples include the clearing of woodland and the reclamation of upland pastures. The extent of this activity is impossible to quantity, but may have affected some 30% of the agricultural area of England, from the mid 17th Century to the mid 19th Century. ...read more.

Conclusion

Legumes had been sown since the middle Ages in the form of peas, beans and vetches, but from the mid-17th century farmers began to grow clover, both white and red, for the same purpose, and by the 19th century had dramatically increased the quantity of nitrogen in the soil available for cereal crops. In Norfolk, for example, between 1700 and 1850, the doubling of the area of legumes and a switch to clover tripled the rate of symbiotic nitrogen fixation. This new system of farming was remarkable because it was sustainable; the output of food was increased dramatically, without endangering the long-term viability of English agriculture. But just as a sustainable agriculture had been achieved, the development of chemical fertilizers and other external inputs undermined this sustainability. An essentially organic agriculture was gradually replaced by a farming system that depended on energy-intensive inputs dependent on the exploitation of fossil fuels. By Joshua Thompson ...read more.

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