Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 4 Update on 18th Century Farming

Week Objective: To determine why grains and animals had gains and/or losses within designated time.

What I did: This week I read the remaining chapters of The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape, 1700-1870. I received the books that I had ordered from the inter-library loan. So, I had to go and pick them up. These are Images of the Past, Farming Industry by Jon and Diane Sutherland and Sheep Farming in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Lincolnshire by J.A. Perkins.

 As a side note, I have to go into a certain area and pick up inter-library loans from a human being, as apposed to just getting them off the shelves if they are sent from within the library system. And, the lady thought that I had more than these two because there had been four farming books, three of which were on sheep farming. I live in a major suburb of Chicago, so there are no farms anywhere nearby! This was pretty interesting to me. Two had been for me, while two other sheep farming books for someone else. Weird!

Also, I have been making notes on British 18th century farming within my France in the Age of Enlightenment’s text, and also within an 18th century history book that I read for fun. I did notice links for additional sources, but I have not had time to actually read them yet. I hope to do so next week.

Discussion on this week’s text: I have noticed that the authors of this text were looking at output as the indicator of change, and not literal changes in farming techniques. So, I have had to really do a lot of reading between their lines. Again, as mentioned last week, I believe this to have been written to create a point-an argument, as in other history papers, and not just for general research/documentation purposes. Their argument seems to have been that the Farming Revolution occurred between the years 1800 to 1850.(1.) Although, again they had contradictions throughout their text, and they used the eighteenth and the entire nineteenth centuries within their studies. I am not disputing whether there had been more of a revolution at this time, however, my time period of interest had the beginnings of this revolution from which they indicate also. I believe that the many changes that occurred influenced their thesis time and also the industrial revolution had been in full blossom for their thesis time which also helped the Farming Revolution to evolve quicker.

These authors even indicate the fact that farming declined during the times of the French Revolution, and that output slowed. However, they indicate, but do not wish to acknowledge, that farming practices had slimmed time and input ratios. This occurred because of new forms of seeding practices, the seed drill had started to be used which allowed for better placement of seeds, and also for straight rows of crops that allowed for better cultivation.(2.) Also, grains had started to be thought of as feeding stock, not just for feeding people, and vice versa. In other words, barley had been used primarily for beer, and had then started to have been used as a soup additive. Oats had been grown for animal fodder, and then later for food. (3.) The corn (maize) stalks (called straw) had been used for animal food after they had matured, and then had started to be grown and cut before maturation to keep nutrients within the straw for better nutrition to the livestock.(4.)

Animals began to be bred for a specific purpose. Before the middle of the eighteenth century sheep had been kept primarily for manure. However, with the growth of the woolen industry, more sheep had been bred for wool. Also, the population began to increase dramatically, So, sheep had also begun to be bred for food.(5.) Obviously the breeding industry began with horses, for racing etc. However, the next, and first food animal to have been bred was the pig. Pigs were a great food source for the average person. Also, and the main point of this I believe, is that they are easy to breed and have a short gestational period, and they also have large litters.(6.) So, taking this into effect, this would certainly have been ideal for the person that wanted to experiment in breeding animals.

Cattle had also been begun to be bred. These animals were separated for milk and meet for breeding stock during this century. This is interesting because as a farmer’s daughter, I didn’t realize that this wasn’t always the case. Unfortunately, most farmers did not keep records of their breeding habits (at least per our authors), and kept the records of death weight upon sale. This, our authors used as a determining factor as to growth of the animal industry. However, they even mention that this was the time where the animals began to more of a meat product, as apposed to just an animal that is eaten.(7.) In other words, the meat and fat content of each animal increased, while the thickness of the hide and bones decreased.(8) This is significant for animal farmers, but is just glossed over in this text. This may be because our authors may not be farmers, or related to the farming industry. I do not know.

As a side note in reading this text, I noticed the eating habits of the Georgians. They really subsisted mostly on wheat, and VERY fat animals. Lean meat had been for poor people. I thought that this was interesting.




Tartar (Tartarian) – (location 1799) influenced by tartars of the central Asian peoples, a type of straw derived from corn crops, principally from oats.

Wethers (2067) – A castrated ram.

Downland Farming (1662) – farming gently rolling hill country, especially in southern England.


1. M.E. Turner, J.V. Beckett and B. Afton. The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape, 1700-1870. (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.), Location 2577,  Kindle Edition.

2. Ibid, 2306.

3. Ibid, 1710

4. Ibid, 1804

5. Ibid, 2037, 2152.

6. Ibid, 2237.

7. Ibid,1966, 2167.

8. Ibid, 2181.

Originally written for class at American Military University.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Great T-Shirts and More!

See other gifts available on Zazzle.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...