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Yields Per Acre in English Agriculture, 1250-1860: Evidence from Labour Inputs
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Aug., 1991), pp. 445-460
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2597538
Page Count: 16
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Wheat, Grains, Crops, Crop harvesting, Crop economics, Mowing, Threshing, Agriculture, Livestock farms, Oats
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There is much uncertainty about the path of crop yields in England between 1450 and 1884. Using piece rate payments it is possible to estimate the relative amount of time it took workers to perform various agricultural tasks from 1250 onwards. The time required to reap an acre of wheat increased by 71 percent from 1250 to 1860 relative to the time required to thresh a bushel of grain. The increase in relative labour inputs implies higher grain yields, and we can use this information to estimate when wheat yields increased. Until 1600 yields seem to have been little above medieval levels, but between then and 1700 yields increased by about 5 bushels per acre. From 1700 to 1800 there was a further yield increase of about 6 bushels per acre, but from 1800 to 1860 wheat yields increased by only about 3 bushels per acre. Meadow yields do not seem to have changed from 1560 to 1892.
The Economic History Review © 1991 Economic History Society