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What is more often referred as the period of “Agricultural Revolution,” was an era of agricultural development and improvement. The mid of 18th century till the end of 19th century is known to be a time of advancement in farming technology and techniques as well as a period of flourishing and effective agrarian productivity.

Till 1700, wet weather caused the produce to be poor in quality. By the mid of 18th century weather conditions started getting better, and ultimately harvests were improved too. If we talk about Britain, life before that mostly relied on orthodox farming methods and tools,by the countryside. However, with the industrial revolution, agriculture took a new turn and received attention from ingenious inventors such as the Collin brothers and the likes of Jethro Tull. The industrial revolution gradually made its impact on agrarian practices, with inventions like steam engines and seed drills, which were relatively less energy and time consuming and provided farmers and land owners with more feasibility. Earlier, a land divided in three fields would only be utilizing two portions of it. However, with inventions like horse drawn hoe, seed drills, thresher etc. all three fields were sown with seeds. Hence, increased production, lead to more capital and better-quality of living. With the growing population, England turned to an importer of wheat rather than exporting it. 

The inventions which gradually modified agriculture and farming and played key roles in the agricultural and industrial revolution are listed below.


The Seed Drill:

It was not before the mid of 18th century that the farmers new any other way of sowing seeds apart from their hands. This method required a lot of time and effort and was not as productive.  Most historical records declare Jethro Tull as the inventor of the seed drill; however, was just the first person to build and use this revolutionary invention. The invention was the brainchild of John Worlidge, who came with the idea of seed drill. This extremely useful tool to plot seeds was used to plot them in an aligned way and covers them with soil. The method of sowing seed with a seed drill gave more area to be sowed and resulted in improved crop organization.



Image Source: Seed drill then                                                                                       Image Source: Seed Drills Now 

Horse Hoe:

The agricultural and farming industry is thankful to Jethro Tull for inventing yet another plowing tool that was more efficient. The tool allowed plowing soil and picking out weed growing in between the rows of crops. Before that plows were not as extensively used, but after the growing popularity, mostly through controversy raised by his book, “The new Horse Hoeing Husbandary.” The book provided more details for his new tools and methods.

Cotton Gin:

One revolutionary tool that transformed cotton farming and the entire 18th century cotton industry was Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin. Invented in 1793, the machine was used to remove the seeds from cotton which was earlier done by hands. The tiresome job required man power along with combs which required a lot of energy and was not considered as efficient. The harvest of cotton saw massive growth after the invention of cotton gin.

Crop Rotation:

Charles Townshend commonly known as “Turnip,” introduced an innovative method of plantation. Through this method the crops were diversely planted. Townshend adopted a new method of plantation in which he would divide the field into four different crops, also known as crop rotation. The first field was planted with wheat, second sown with clover, third either had oats or barley while the fourth consisted of turnips. The reason he was named Turnip was because of the fact that this turnip plantation eventually served as fodder for the livestock during winters. This four field system and the production of turnips helped in better yield. The growth of turnip and clover not just helped in feeding the livestock but also induced fertility through their natural ability to replace nutrients into soil. The farmers were not just utilizing all crops but the livestock which grazed on the field would eventually excrete giving natural compost, hence improving soil quality.  

The agricultural advancement of 18th century Britain paved way to the second agricultural revolution. The industry of agriculture benefited from these new tools and methods, the effects of which can be seen in the boost of 4 major factors of agriculture:Better climatic conditions, more area for farming, improved livestock, and better crop harvest.

Author Bio:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a passionate blogger who loves to write on various technological trends in different fields. Currently studying mechanical engineering and knows quite a bit about heavy duty machinery and technological advancements in this field.