country-enterprise.co.uk - click here for home page

The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Land Use

..Permanent Pasture

...New Leys
...Hay
...Silage
...Fertilisation of Grassland
...Farmyard Manure
...Cultivation
>..Ploughs
...Tractor
...Make or Buy?
...Crop Rotation
...Why Rotate?

Ploughs were initially made of wood and in areas where wood was scarce, drift-wood was called into service.

Although initially man pulled or pushed his own ploughs, some inspired and possibly exhausted human had the bright idea of harnessing animal power. If you ever try to plough a field using a highly bred hunter then you may get some idea of the exhilaration that must have accompanied those early trials. And, of course, the fury when the whole thing goes wrong and you wind up more exhausted than ever. However, man was clearly on the right track and animal ploughing progressed.

It was in 1767 that a Scottish gentleman, James Small from Berwickshire, had his invention, the chain plough, patented. This led to the development of the all-metal plough which remained in use until it in turn was superceded by the development of tractors and other related equipment.

To cultivate land on anything other than the smallest scale you need a tractor or a team of horses. To handle and use horses on the land is a wonderful achievement; it is also a specialist occupation and if it is to pay its way the crops you produce must be high in value, or you should not be paying for the land you use, or you must be able to survive without earning very much. Anyone who can honestly deny all of those claims would be very welcome to contact us.

We would love to be able to justify using horses on the land in an economic sense. Putting an income into your calculations from tourism or breeding draft- horses probably does put the whole venture into the black but that is beyond simply making money from cultivating.

...next