The Second Agricultural Revolution took place in England between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The factors that led to the Revolution included favorable conditions such as increased farmland and better climate. Another important factor was the invention of new tools, which resulted in the advancement of society by developing the urban workforce and public markets.
The Second Agricultural Revolution, also called the British Agricultural Revolution, occurred because of the need to feed a growing population. The Revolution is largely associated with England even though it spread around the world.
Various tools and techniques were created in England, and then used in other countries. For instance, England developed the mechanized reaper, which allowed farmers to gather crops more effectively. This tool was later adopted and adapted by the United States.
Historians disagree about whether or not ‘revolution’ is the correct term for the era. Some argue that the changes were slow and incremental since new tools and techniques were created and implemented over many years.
A tremendous increase in agricultural production characterized the Second Agricultural Revolution. The reason for such an increase included advances in labor methods and land productivity. The Revolution, which occurred between the mid-seventeenth and late-nineteenth century, saw the development of new tools, which contributed to the growth of new crops.
Agriculture as a whole shifted from the techniques of the past into tools of the future, including crop rotation and selective breeding of livestock. These techniques led to an increase in production, meaning that larger crop yields were able to support more livestock.
One of the most important inventions during the Agricultural Revolution was the creation of the Norfolk four-course rotation, which improved soil fertility and reduced fallow. Crop rotation involves growing different crops in the same area to prevent soil exhaustion and to restore plant nutrients.
Certain factors contributed to the development of advanced techniques in the agricultural sphere of Britain. Availability of farmland increased due to the changes in landholding patterns, along with the newly developed methods of cultivation. The other factors included the favorable climate, more livestock, and improved crop yield.
Agriculturalists also invented new tools that improved the efficiency of their operations. Examples of such devices include the plough, seed drill, and threshing machine. Farmers in England managed to create the cheapest and most efficient plough available at that time, which became so commercially successful that it spread to other countries like the United States, France, and Scotland.
The seed drill was initially invented in China and then refined in England by Jethro Tool, in 1701. Even though it helped with agricultural efficiency, the tool remained expensive and unreliable. The threshing machine was a tool that removed seeds from stalks, eliminating the need for human workers to perform this task. Mechanization was one of the main developments during the Second Agricultural Revolution.
Another factor that contributed to the Second Agricultural Revolution was the Enclosure Act, which restricted the use of a field to its owner and created legal property rights. The act resulted in the shift of the workforce from rural areas to industrialized cities.
The Second Agricultural Revolution was a significant event because it allowed society to rise to industrial preeminence. It also contributed to the rapid growth of the population due to a more abundant supply of food. Society had access to more nourishing food, which contributed to the development of healthy people and communities. The development of private markets eventually created national markets, which began to improve transportation infrastructure.