Second Agricultural Revolution

  • The Royal Society of London's Promotion of the Potato

    The Royal Society advised the English government and people to cultivate the potato in 1662.
  • Land Conversion, Drainage, and Reclamation Programs

    At this time, the marches and fens were drained by England and other countries to provide arable land. Countries like the Netherlands were experts in drainage, land reclamation, and canal construction. Additionally, during this time, stable water levels allowed for earlier cattle pasturing.
  • Jethro Tull and the Seed Drill

    Jethro Tull was the first to promote horses instead of oxen; additionally, he also invented the seed drill, which was a more effective way to plant seeds than farmers had previously done. As the seed drill planted seeds in proper rows, crops grew much better. Moreover, it planted seeds deeper, meaning that pests could not eat the seed as easily before it germinated.
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    Charles “Turnip” Townsend

    He became aware of crop rotation and the application of turnips and clovers with it. He supported the use of turnips in crop rotation after bringing this concept back to Norfolk.
  • Norfolk Four Course Crop Rotation

    A crop rotation technique that had a 4-year cycle without a fallow year where the field is left empty. The importance of fodder crops for feed was also emphasized.
  • Dutch and Rotherham swing (wheel-less) plough

    The Rotherham Swing plow was created by Joseph Foljambe, so named because it lacked depth wheels. Compared to other plows at the time, it was lighter and more effective.
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    Arthur Young

    Although Young himself was not a particularly successful farmer, he was a crucial advocate for the modern agricultural methods used at the time. He supported developments like the seed drill, better crop rotations, and the application of marl as fertilizer.
  • Robert Bakewell, Thomas Coke, and the development of Selective Breeding

    Thomas Coke and Robert Bakewell were pioneers in both the discovery and use of selective breeding. They employed inbreeding to eliminate genetic variability and stabilize some traits. Then, in an effort to obtain the traits they valued the most, they bred animals with favorable traits together.
  • Development of a National Market

    Developing a national market, goods grown locally were able to be sold across Britain, meaning that goods could be put on the "national" market.
  • Enclosure Act

    It involved the abolishment of the open-field system—any communal land that was available for peasants was lost, as it was sold off because the act created legislation for property rights.