Jump to content

Agriculture in the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A combine harvester in use
A combine harvester in Scotland

Agriculture in the United Kingdom uses 69% of the country's land area, employs 1% of its workforce (471,000 people)[1][2] and contributes 0.5% of its gross value added (£11.2 billion).[3] The UK currently produces about 54% of its domestic food consumption.[4]

Agricultural activity occurs in most rural locations. It is concentrated in the drier east (for crops) and the wetter west (for livestock).[5] There are 191,000 farm holdings, which vary widely in size.[6]

Despite skilled farmers, advanced technology, fertile soil and subsidies, farm earnings are relatively low, mainly due to low prices at the farm gate. Low earnings, high land prices and a shortage of let farmland discourage young people from joining the industry. The average (median) age of the British farm holder is about 60 (as of 2016).[7][8][9][10]

Recently there have been moves towards organic farming in an attempt to sustain profits, and many farmers supplement their income by diversifying activities away from pure agriculture. Biofuels present new opportunities for farmers against a background of rising fears about fossil fuel prices, energy security, and climate change. There is increasing awareness that farmers have an important role to play as custodians of the British countryside and wildlife.[11]

Current overview[edit]

Wheat is a major crop in the UK.

The total area of agricultural holdings is about 41.6 million acres (16.8 million hectares), of which about a third are arable and most of the rest is grassland. In 2022 only 4.4 million hectares (10.9 millon acres) were planted. The remainder lay fallow or as temporary grassland. During the growing season about 72% of the arable area is cereal crops,[12] and of the cereal crop area, more than 57% is wheat. There are about 33 million sheep, 9.6 million cattle, 188 million poultry and 5.2 million pigs. These are arranged on about 191,000 holdings, whose average croppable area is around 69 hectares (170 acres). About 70% of farms are owner-occupied or mostly so (perhaps with individual barns or fields let out), and the remainder are rented to tenant farmers. Farmers represent an ageing population, partly due to low earnings and barriers to entry, and it is increasingly hard to recruit young people into farming. The average farm holder is about 60 years old.[8][9][13]

In 2022 with 15,540,000 metric tons, the UK ranked as the 14th largest producer of wheat in the world.[14]

British farming is on the whole intensive and highly mechanised. This approach is well-suited to the current distribution infrastructure, but can be less productive by area than smaller scale, diversified farming.[15] The UK produces only 60% of the food it consumes. The vast majority of imports and exports are with other Western European countries.[16]

Farming is subsidised, with subsidies to farmers totalling more than £3 billion (after deduction of levies).[17]

Regional variations[edit]

While there is little difference between farming practices in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in places where the terrain is similar, the geography and the quality of the farmland does have an impact. In Wales, 80% of the farmland is designated as a "Less Favoured Area", and in Scotland the figure is 84%. "Less Favoured Area" means land that produces a lower agricultural yield, typically upland moors and hill farms, which explains the tendency to focus on sheep and sometimes dairy farming. In England, the eastern and southern areas where the fields are flatter, larger and more open tend to concentrate on cereal crops, while the hillier northern and western areas with smaller, more enclosed fields tend to concentrate on livestock farming.[18][19][20][21]


Before 1500[edit]

Farming was introduced in the British Isles between about 5000 BC and 4500 BC after a large influx of Mesolithic people and following the end of the Pleistocene epoch. It took 2,000 years for the practice to extend across all of the isles. Wheat and barley were grown in small plots near the family home. Sheep, goats and cattle came in from mainland Europe, and pigs were domesticated from wild boar already living in forests.[22] There is evidence of agricultural and hunter-gatherer groups meeting and trading with one another in the early part of the Neolithic.[23]

1635 Laxton map showing numbered strips, ploughs drawn by horse and oxen, and a windmill.
1635 Laxton map showing numbered areas including adjoining sheep and cattle/horse grazing areas, distinct field boundaries and a set of buildings protected by four trees.

The Saxons and the Vikings had open-field farming systems and there was an expansion of arable farming between the 8th-13th centuries in England [24] Under the Normans and Plantagenets fens were drained, woods cleared and farmland expanded to feed a rising population, until the Black Death reached Britain in 1349. This and subsequent epidemics caused the population to fall; one-third of the population in England died between 1349 and 1350. In consequence, areas of farmland were abandoned. The feudal system began to break down as labourers, who were in short supply following the plague, demanded wages (instead of subsistence) and better conditions. Also, there were a series of poor harvests after about 1315, coinciding with some evidence (from tree rings) of poor weather across the whole of northern Europe, which continued on and off until about 1375. The population did not recover to 1300 levels for 200 to 300 years.[citation needed]

The last surviving working mediaeval strip farming system with common grazings is in Laxton, Nottinghamshire in England. The system is documented by detailed maps made in 1635 recording numbers against on the map. The owners and extent of the rights are in an accompanying set of ledger entries against the numbers recorded on the maps.

1500 to 1750[edit]

When King Henry VIII named himself Supreme Head of the Church of England in 1531, he set about the dissolution of the monasteries, which was largely complete by 1540. The monasteries had been among the principal landowners in the Kingdom and the Crown took over their land, amounting to about 2,000,000 acres (810,000 ha). This land was largely sold off to fund Henry's military ambitions in France and Scotland, and the main buyers were the aristocracy and landed gentry. Agriculture boomed as grain prices increased sixfold by 1650. Improvements in transport, particularly along rivers and coasts, brought beef and dairy products from the north of England to London.[25]

An oil painting of a man in eighteenth century dress
Charles Viscount Townshend

Jethro Tull, a Berkshire farmer, invented his famous rotating-cylinder seed drill. His 1731 book, The New Horse Hoeing Husbandry, explained the systems and devices he espoused to improve agriculture. The book had such an impact that its influence can still be seen in some aspects of modern farming. Charles Townsend, a viscount known as "Turnip Townsend", in the 1730s introduced turnip farming on a large scale. This created a four-crop rotation (wheat, turnips, barley and clover) which allowed fertility to be maintained with much less fallow land. Clover increases mineral nitrogen in the soil and clover and turnips are good fodder crops for livestock, which in turn improve the soil by their manure.[26][27][28]

1750 to 1850[edit]

A black-and-white photo of a horse, a man and an agricultural device
A haywain.

Between 1750 and 1850, the English population nearly tripled, with an estimated increase from 5.7 million to 16.6 million, and all these people had to be fed from the domestic food supply. This was achieved through intensified agriculture and land reclamation from the Fens, woodlands, and upland pastures. The crop mix changed too, with wheat and rye replacing barley. Nitrogen fixing plants such as legumes led to sustainable increased yields. These increased yields, combined with improved farming machinery and then-new capitalist ways of organising labour, meant that increased crop production did not need much more manpower, which freed labour for non-agricultural work. Indeed, by 1850 Britain had the smallest proportion of its population engaged in farming of any country in the world, at 22%.[29][30][31]

During the 18th century, a large share of farmers had the ability to use numerical skills and the ability to read and write, both being skills that were not widespread in the early modern period.[32]



Open fields divided among several tenants originally had the advantage of reducing risks by giving all farmers diverse soils and crops so no one faced famine when others prospered. But the system was inefficient. Poor farmers got as much land as good farmers. By the 18th century enclosures came in poorer regions where several landholders were more willing to sell land. After 1760, though, parliamentary legislation permitted the enclosure of wealthier lands that had more complex structures of ownership. The result was an added £4 million to England's national income.[33]

During the 18th and 19th centuries, enclosures were by means of special acts of Parliament. They consolidated strips in the open fields into more cohesive units, and enclosed much of the remaining pasture commons or wastes. Enclosure consisted of exchange in land, and an extinguishing of common rights. This allowed farmers to consolidate and fence off their own large plots of land, in contrast to multiple small strips spread out and separated. Voluntary enclosure was also frequent at that time.[34]

At the time of the parliamentary enclosures, most manors had seen consolidation of tenant farms into multiple large landholdings. Multiple larger landholders already held the bulk of the land.[35] They 'held' but did not legally own in today's sense. They also had to respect the open field system rights, when demanded, even when in practice the rights were not widely in use. Similarly each large landholding would consist of scattered patches, not consolidated farms. In many cases enclosures were largely an exchange and consolidation of land, and exchange not otherwise possible under the legal system. Enclosure under the scheme of the Inclosure Act of 1773[36] permitted the fencing and regulation of arable land in accordance with the wishes of three quarters of the owners in number and value of the land in question.[37] Regulations and allotments made were valid for 6 years.[38] The lord of the manor and three quarters of the commoners acting together were empowered to lease one twelfth of the land for the improvement of the remainder.[39]

Enclosure following private or local Act of Parliament could also involve the extinguishment of common rights. Without unanimous extinguishment, the entire system survived at common law. With land one held, one could not formally exchange the land, consolidate fields, or entirely exclude others. Strict enforcement of legal rights may not always have been seen in practice. Parliamentary enclosure was seen as a cost-effective method of creating a legally binding settlement. This is because of the costs (time, money, complexity) of using the common law and equity legal systems. Statute required consent of the owners of 4/5-ths of the land (copy and freeholders).[citation needed]

The primary benefits to large land holders came from increased value of their own land, not from expropriation. Smaller holders could sell their land to larger ones for a higher price post enclosure. There was not much evidence that the common rights were particularly valuable.[40] Protests against Parliamentary Enclosure continued, sometimes in Parliament itself, frequently in the villages affected, and sometimes as organised mass revolts.[41] Voluntary enclosure was frequent at that time.[42] Enclosed land was twice as valuable, a price which could be sustained only by its higher productivity.[43]

Enclosures in Scotland[edit]

Enclosure in Scotland is associated with sudden and large-scale clearances, perhaps due to the prevalence of cottar tenure whereby a dwelling and a small area of land is made available for so long only as the owner of it allows.[44]

Depression 1815-1836[edit]

The period 1750-1850 included a twenty-year depression in agriculture 1815 to 1836. It was so severe that landlords as well as tenants suffered financial ruin, and large areas of farmland were entirely abandoned. The ancient landlord and tenant system was unsuited to new-style, capital-intensive farms. Parliament began to review the legislation, for example by distinguishing between farm improvements that the tenant should fund, and those the landlord should fund.[45] Parliament was concerned with the issue of tenant right, i.e. the sum payable to an outgoing tenant for farm improvements that the tenant had funded and, if crops were in the ground when the tenant left, compensation for their value. This was dealt with in accordance with local custom, which might vary from place to place. In 1848 a parliamentary committee examined the possibility of a standardised system, but a Bill on the matter was not passed until 1875.[46]

The Corn Laws and their Repeal[edit]

In the period 1815 to 1846 Corn Laws were enacted designed to protect domestic agriculture by imposing a tax on foreign imported grain. Their repeal was ultimately secured after major political lobbying by the Anti-Corn Law League. The issue was divisive because of the increased urbanisation of the UK and its need for cheap food, as well as the general influence of free trade doctrines. The repeal of the Corn Laws initially steadied grain prices. Experts differ over whether by 1846 the Corn Laws were still relevant, because of low prices and/or self-sufficiency in grain.[47]

1850 to 1939[edit]

Prices and productivity[edit]

The American Civil War ended in 1865, and by 1875, with new steam-powered railways and ships, the United States was exporting a substantial excess of cereals. The area planted with wheat in the United Kingdom dropped from 3,514,033 acres (1,422,079 ha) in 1875 to 1,836,598 acres (743,245 ha) in 1905.[48] At the same time, Britain suffered a series of poor harvests. By 1891 reliable refrigeration technology brought cheap frozen meat from Australia, New Zealand and South America to the British market. British farm products declined significantly as a percentage of GDP during the period 1860-1914. In 1860 agriculture represented 20% of GDP. By 1913 it had fallen to 7%.[49] The period 1850-1914 has been described as "completing the shift to a fundamentally urban and industrial society."[50]

Changes in farming practice[edit]

Invented in around 1885, the digging plough is a plough with a wider share, which cuts a wider shallower furrow, after which the slice of soil is inverted by a short concave mould-board with a sharp turn. This has the effect of breaking up and pulverising the soil, leaving no visible furrow and facilitating the use of a seed drill for planting. Earlier ploughs were simply large hoes for stirring the soil, drawn by animals, that left furrows suitable for distribution of seed by hand.[51]

The First World War[edit]

The biggest challenge faced by agriculture was the unavailability of manpower due to the large numbers of men who joined the armed forces in the early years of the War. By the end of 1916, 4 million men had become participant in the armed forces, and agriculture was given no special treatment. It was not until 1917 that agricultural production was overseen by County Executive Committees.[52]

Post First World War housing and agricultural policy[edit]

Although rationing during the First World War was limited to the end of 1917 and 1918, a change of mood arose about food security. The Ministry of Food was created in 1916. There was an opinion that a man who had fought for his country should be entitled to retire to a smallholding on British land that would provide him with a livelihood. This led to various initiatives, including making housing available, collectively called "Homes for Heroes." The priorities were established in the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919. Riddrie, a suburb of Glasgow, was the first estate to be completed in 1922 under that Act.[53] By 1926 agricultural law had become openly redistributive in favour of ex-servicemen. County Councils had compulsory purchase powers to requisition land they could let as smallholdings. Ex-servicemen were the preferred tenants. The tenant could then buy the land and could ask the Council to lend them money to fund the purchase as a mortgage. The Council could not refuse without the Minister of Agriculture's permission.[54]

Inter-War trade policies[edit]

Government control of agriculture during the First World War was removed in 1921 by the repeal of the Agriculture Act 1920. This has been described as "the great betrayal" but has also been found to be welcomed by a section of the farming community that preferred to trade in the market and resented the previous restraints.[55] In the inter-war years 1919-39 agriculture in Britain was not the subject of protectionist policies but had to absorb price falls resulting from increased domestic production and the effects of the imperial preference system favouring the Dominions.[56] By 1938, 88% of wheat was imported, 96% of butter, 76% of cheese and about half the eggs and meat.[57]

Legislative change in respect of tenanted land 1875-1923[edit]

The Agricultural Holdings (England) Act 1875 rewrote the law on tenant right such that tenants received consistent levels of compensation for the value of their improvements to the holding and any crops in the ground. It also gave tenants the right to remove fixtures they had provided, increased the period of a Notice to Quit from six months to twelve, and brought in an agricultural dispute resolution procedure.[58]

A black-and-white photo of a man on an (1902 model) "Ivel" tractor
Ivel Tractor in Ploughing Demonstration, England, 1905

Some landlords reacted to the 1875 Act by refusing to let land on a tenancy, instead contracting out the labour to contract farmers.[citation needed] Parliament responded with the Agricultural Holdings (England) Act 1883, which prevented contracting out on terms less favourable than a normal tenancy. Subsequent Agricultural Holdings Acts in 1900 and 1906 further refined the dispute resolution procedure; required landlords to compensate tenants for their damaged crops if the damage was caused by game that the landlord did not allow tenants to kill; allowed tenants to choose for themselves what crops to grow, except in the last year of the tenancy; and prevented penal rents being charged except in special circumstances. The legislation was consolidated in another Act of 1908. Further Agricultural Holdings Acts came into force in 1914, two in 1920, and a further consolidating Act in 1923.[59]

The legislative focus on tenant's improvements is against a background where it was the assumed practice for the tenant to provide seed, implements, livestock, machinery and fertilisers. By 1914 a large mixed arable/livestock farm would be typically providing £10 per acre of his own capital.[60]

The Second World War[edit]

Tanks in a cornfield
British tanks on a military exercise in a Yorkshire cornfield in 1942

Before the Second World War started, Britain imported 55 million tons of food a year. By the end of 1939, this had dropped to 12 million.

Farm output in terms of grains rose somewhat during the three years from 1938/1939. Wheat and barley figures increased by two thirds and potatoes doubled. Livestock production was static or fell. Cattle were static and sheep numbers dropped. Large increases in farm income were effected by direct payments (after the War becoming deficiency payments covering the gap between average farm prices and levels guaranteed for 11 products).Farm incomes in this three year period accordingly tripled.[61]

1942 in Kensington in regularly bombed Central London. Here a fashionably dressed lady and her soldier friend attend to an allotment to supplement scarce food rations. This was part of the Dig for Victory campaign.

Food rationing was introduced at the start of 1940. It did not completely end until July 1954. The government tried to encourage people to grow their own food in victory gardens, and householders were encouraged to keep rabbits and chickens for the table. There were 1.5 million allotments by 1943. Potatoes became "the food of the war".[62] Because so many men had been conscripted into the army, women were drafted in to work the land; they were called the Women's Land Army, or less formally, "land girls".[63]

Famously, the Government responded to a temporary wartime oversupply of carrots by suggesting that the RAF's exceptional night-flying was due to eating carotene. The ruse worked: consumption of carrots increased sharply because people thought carrots might help them see in the blackout, thus taking the pressure off other food supplies. But with so much of the agricultural labour force fighting, pressure on food supplies worldwide increased throughout the war. The government estimated that in 1945 world meat consumption would exceed supply by 1.8 million tons and that only wheat would be "available in abundance". The Prime Minister suggested that if necessary, food supplies could take priority over supplies for the military, and considered the possibility of famine in the occupied territories after the war.[64]

1945 to 2000[edit]


The Agriculture Act 1947 broadly revamped agricultural law. It was a reaction to the privations of the Second World War, and was aimed at food security, so as to reduce the risk of a hostile foreign power being able to starve the UK into submission. The Act guaranteed prices, markets and tenure, so that a farmer could be assured that his land would not be taken away and whatever he grew would be sold at a known price. The Agricultural Holdings Act 1948 remained the governing code in England and Wales until its replacement in 1986, which consolidated intervening amending statutes. These Acts made it hard to evict tenant farmers. With the new security tenants enjoyed, a system of rent reviews was necessary to take account of land price inflation.

There were many other changes in the law, and each of these Acts needed negotiation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to fix the support price to be paid for each agricultural product. They were enacted in a series of Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts in 1949, 1954, 1963, 1968 and 1972.[65]

The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 was passed as the price of Plaid Cymru's support in Parliament for the Lib-Lab Pact of 1976. The 1976 Act allowed for succession of agricultural tenancies on a farmer's death. A suitable relative could inherit the tenancy. This was limited to two generations of tenant.[66]

On government instructions, the Northfield Committee began to review the country's agricultural system in 1977. It did not report until July 1979. The report influenced ongoing discussions between the NFU and the Country Landowners Association (CLA), who were trying to reach an agreement on legislation that could be presented as having industry-wide support. In 1984, in accordance with the agreement they did reach, succession was extended to the retirement of the tenant, but no new tenancies from 1984 were to include succession rights.[67]

1985- 2000[edit]

By this time the then-European Economic Community (now the European Community)'s Common Agricultural Policy and the value of the green pound was having a direct impact on farming. The Agriculture Act 1986 was concerned with the value of the milk quota attached to land, and particularly how it ought to be shared between landlord and tenant. Nowadays, milk quotas no longer exist, but other subsidies (largely rolled up into Single Payments) still must be divided between the parties.[68]

The UK's egg-laying flock declined between 1970 and 2000. It fell by 5.5% in one year from June 1999 to May 2000. In 1971, there were 125,258 farms with egg-laying hens and by 1999 this was down to 26,500.[69]

From 1992 until 2004, or 2006 for organic farms, there were subsidies for not growing any crops at all. This was called set-aside and resulted from EEC farming policies. From 2007 onwards, set aside subsidies in the UK were withdrawn.[70]


Cereal production statistics 2000-2010[edit]

In 2009, 3,133,000 hectares (7,740,000 acres) of cereal crops were sown in the UK. There were 581,000 hectares (1,440,000 acres) of oil seed rape, 233,000 hectares (580,000 acres) of peas and beans, 149,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of potatoes, and 116,000 hectares (290,000 acres) of sugar beet. Winter crops tend to be planted around mid-September, and spring crops as soon as the soil is ready. Each year the country produces about 6.5 million tonnes of barley, of which 1.5 million are exported, 2 million used in brewing and distilling activities and the remainder fed to livestock. The country also produces 14 to 15 million tons of wheat each year, of which farmers kept 3.9 million tonnes as stock in February 2012. In 2008, 750,000 tonnes of oats were produced, in 2011–2012 613,000.[71][72][73][74][75][76]

During 1999–2003 production of barley ranged from 6,128,000 to 7,456,000, wheat from 11,580,000 to 16,704,000 and oats from 491,000 to 753,000.[77]

Livestock farming[edit]

Most farmers of beef cattle or sheep made a net loss in the year to April 2010. Production, veterinary, bedding, property, power and machinery costs all underwent double-digit rises in percentage terms, meaning that the losses in the year to April 2010 increased over 2009 losses by over £30/animal. However, wheat exports were much stronger than the previous year.[78]

In 2011, earnings were £30,900 per full-time person, which represented an increase of 24% from 2010 values in real terms. This was the best performance in UK agriculture since the 1990s. Agriculture employed 476,000 people, representing 1.5% of the workforce, down more than 32% since 1996. In terms of gross value added in 2009, 83% of the UK's agricultural income originated from England, 9% from Scotland, 4% from Northern Ireland and 3% from Wales.[7][79][80][81][82]

In 2012 the top ten agricultural products of the United Kingdom by value, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2012 were (in metric tons): milk (13.8 M); wheat (13.2 M); Chicken meat (1.4 M); cattle meat (882,000); pig meat (770,000); sheep meat (770,000); potatoes (4.5 M); rapeseed (2.5 M); hen eggs (630,000); sugar beet (7.2 M). [83][84]

In 2014, total income from farming in the United Kingdom was £5.38 billion, representing about 0.7% of the British national value added in that year.


From 2002 to 2003, of the cereals grown, 31% of barley, 36% of oats and 34% of wheat were used for human consumption.[77] Consumption of oats by the human population compared with livestock was proportionally higher in the UK than in European countries, 455,000 tonnes as forecast by farm officials during 2012. 163,000 tonnes were fed to livestock during 2011–2012.[85]

Loss of bees[edit]

Two of the most serious diseases affecting crop plants were colony collapse disorder (CCD), wiping out honeybee colonies worldwide, and varroa destructor, a parasitic mite affecting honeybees. Honeybees pollinated 80% of plants worldwide. In 2007, up to 80% of the bee colonies in some areas were wiped out. Honeybees pollinated crops worth about £200 million a year, and their total contribution to the economy might have been as high as £1 billion.[86]


Government departments[edit]


The Board of Agriculture was established by Act of Parliament in 1889.[87] In 1911 the Board of Agriculture for Scotland was created under the Secretary of State for Scotland.[88] In respect of England and Wales, in 1919 the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries was replaced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,[89] which later became the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). MAFF was in turn the predecessor of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA.[90]


DEFRA as at 2023 operates in England. Scotland's agriculture is controlled by the Scottish Government and its Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate.[91] The Welsh government also controls agriculture as a devolved matter under the aegis of the Minister for Rural Affairs.[92] Northern Irish agriculture is within the control of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) which is part of the Northern Ireland Executive.[93]

Supervising or assisting bodies[edit]


The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee[94] (EFRA) of the Westminster Parliament's House of Commons is tasked to oversee and enquire into the policy, administration and spending of DEFRA. It conducts its own inquiries usually leading to published Reports. EFRA may also inquire into matters that do not lead to formal reports, and it is empowered to conduct interviews and take evidence.


The Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee of the Welsh Parliament supervises the Welsh Government in respect of animal welfare, environment, agriculture, forestry, food, marine resources and fisheries as well as trade and economy.[95]


The supervising bodies of the Scottish Parliament include the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee[96] with oversight of agriculture and forestry, and the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee responsible for land use, food, animal welfare and fisheries.[97]

Northern Ireland[edit]

The Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs[98] of the Northern Ireland Assembly is tasked to advise and assist the DAERA Minister and operates in accordance with its mandate periods.


When in the EU, UK farmers received more than £3 billion a year via the Single Farm Payment.[99] This is roughly £28,300 per farm, although this includes around £3,000 of environmental subsidies, such as for planting woodland.[100] Following Brexit a new subsidy scheme is being introduced with a proposed reduction in direct payments with an increase in payments tied to specific environmental or developmental criteria.[101]


DEFRA's Agri-climate Report 2022[102] states that agriculture is a major contributor to UK nitrous oxide (69%) and methane (48%) emissions. It contributes 1.7% to UK CO2 emissions. Levels have been steady since the early 2000s when a 16% drop was achieved from the 1990s. A study of farmer awareness of mitigation measures indicates that barriers to mitigation practices include lack of information, the belief change is not necessary and financial barriers.


Areas in agricultural use[edit]

The Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA), as of 2022, was 41.619 million acres (16.843 million hectares), approximately 69% of the land area of the UK. This amount was down 2.2% from 2021.[103] The UAA encompasses land used for agricultural purposes, including all arable and horticultural crops, uncropped arable land, common rough grazing, temporary and permanent grassland and land used for outdoor pigs. It excludes woodland and other non-agricultural land.

Approximately 36% of the land is croppable (arable), or approximately 25% of the total UK land area. Most of the rest is permanent grassland, rough grazing and other land on agricultural holdings.

Agricultural Land Classification[edit]


Before Agricultural Land Classification systems, agricultural land was mapped by descriptions that would aid farming. Here is a 1793 map describing Sussex by the noted agriculturalist and writer Arthur Young.

Land classification maps were issued first in the 1960s, intended as a tool for the better siting of planned new towns. They were provisional in contents but in fact were not updated. Areas of under 80 hectares were stated not to be identifiable from these maps, which were reissued in the 1980s at a different scale (1:250,000 or one quarter inch to the mile). The British Society of Soil Science has published a guide to the history and mapping of UK land classifications.[104]

Grades of land[edit]

Land is classified in England and Wales in accordance with five grades. These grades are established using information as to soil quality and characteristics together with climatological data. The grades used are:[105]

  • Grade 1: Excellent quality agricultural land
  • Grade 2: Good quality agricultural land
  • Grade 3a: Good to moderate quality agricultural land
  • Grade 3b: Moderate quality agricultural land
  • Grade 4: Poor quality agricultural land
  • Grade 5: Very poor quality agricultural land

England and Wales[edit]

Agricultural Land Classification maps are available by online download for England and Wales from Natural England.[106] The English regions have individual maps for: London and the South East; the Eastern Region; the East Midlands; the West Midlands; Yorkshire and Humber; the North East; the North West; the South West. Revised criteria for land grading dated 1988 are provided at the same site, together with climatological data used for the purpose of mapping, and soil sample data with a glossary. The Welsh government, in applying the same grading system, offers predictive map guidance online so that it is easier to decide whether an individual land survey is required to establish the grading of the land.[107] For Wales, the Land Quality Advice Service is the responsible agency.[108]


Scotland uses its own classification system for Land Capability for Agriculture (LCA). It has seven Classes which subdivide. The Prime Quality Land is in Classes 1-3.1 inclusive, corresponding to the superior grades 1-3a in the English/Welsh system. Downloadable data and maps are available from the Scottish Government online.[109] Scottish planning policy[110] may require superior grades of land and peatland to be identified.

Northern Ireland[edit]

There are no Agricultural Land Classification maps, but the system reflects the same grading and criteria as for England and Wales. Grade 3 is designated into 3A and 3B (capitalisation deliberate). There are published soil maps. The Agri-Food and Business Sciences Institute (AFBI) has created publications with data specific to Northern Ireland in the form of soil surveys, geo-chemical data and soil maps.[111]

Purpose of classification[edit]

The planning system requires permission for many kinds of development. Superior grades of agricultural land, meaning grades 1-3a inclusive, are less likely to be permitted to be developed and so fall out of agricultural use.[112] These superior grades of land are the subject of a separate set of maps (Likelihood of Best and Most Versatile (BMV) Agricultural Land - Strategic scale maps) for strategic planning purposes only for the English regions, also available online from Natural England.[113]

Sale or letting of land may use the land classification to price the land. Setting rents or evaluating dilapidations (disrepair or breach of obligation on tenanted farms) will probably include reference to this information.

Land restoration projects for contaminated land will use such information.[114]

Road surveys for building or extending highways will require to include land classification information.[115]



Soil is a mix of mineral and organic components, produced when rock is weathered and acted on by living organisms. If soils are acidic they may need repeated applications of alkalines (such as lime) to remain fertile. Acid rain increases soil acidity, but even normal rain may be slightly acid. In freely-drained areas, soil base material (including dissolved nitrites) may be washed away, leaving higher concentrations of organic acids in the ground. Wet soil results where rainfall exceeds the rate of evaporation.

Soil in Britain[edit]

Most British soils are 2% to 5% organic and 95% to 98% mineral, but soils such as peat may contain up to 50% organic matter. As far south as the Thames Valley, the soil has been heavily glaciated, which ground down the rock and redistributed the resulting matter. Most British soils date from the last Ice Age and are comparatively young, but in level areas, and particularly south of the Thames Valley, there are older soils.[116]

Soffe (2003)[117] summarises the acidity of British soils as follows:-

Land type pH
Sandy heath land 3.5–5.0
Calcareous (chalky) brown soil 6.5–8.0
Upland peat 3.5–4.5
Cultivated soil, non-calcareous 5.0–7.0
Cultivated soil, calcareous 7.0–8.0
Permanent pasture, lowland 5.0–6.0
Permanent pasture, upland 4.5–5.5
Lowland peat 4.0–7.0

Government information or advice regarding soils[edit]

Aside from the information above under Agricultural Land Classification, DEFRA has published a Soil Code.[118] There is also a Construction Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites.[119] The latter was under review as at August 2022.[120]

Guidance is also available in DEFRA's Good Practice for Handling Soils (2000) and its Guidance for Successful Reclamation of Mineral and Waste Sites (2005).

Traditional farming[edit]

Owing to high rainfall in the UK, less well drained areas may become waterlogged. Wet land is more difficult to work and crops grow less well. Field drains were traditionally open ditches, but covered pipes have been used in more modern times. Earthworms are important for creating small drainage channels in the soil and for helping to move soil particles.[121][122][123]

Lime counteracts soil acidity. With fine particulate soils such as clays, lime also encourages the formation of a better soil structure that will aerate and help with drainage. Its benefits have been known, if not scientifically understood, since Roman times.[124][125]

If organic matter poor in nitrogen but rich in carbohydrate is added to soil, nitrogen is assimilated and fixed. Fertility increases while land is under grass, which helps to accumulate organic matter in the soil. These factors mean that soil is traditionally improved by means of liming, draining, and allowing to lie fallow. It is traditionally fertilised with manure, nitrogen, phosphates, and potash.[126]



Nitrogen stimulates plant growth, but over-application softens the plant tissues, making them more vulnerable to pests and disease, and less resistant to frost. Nitrogen may be added by using slurry, by nitrogen-fixing crops or by artificial fertilisers. The negative side-effects of adding nitrogen are mitigated by phosphates.[127] The risk of excess nitrogen polluting water is the focus of designating Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.


a pool of thin brown liquid in a rural setting
An unfenced slurry pit without infrastructure to contain or cover the slurry. Uncovered storage releases atmospheric pollution.

170 million tonnes of animal excreta ("slurry") is produced annually in the UK.

Farmyard manure can be used as soil fertiliser. Urine contains about half the nitrogen and most of the potash that an animal voids. Dung contains the other half of the nitrogen and most of the phosphoric acid and lime. With dung, much of the nitrogen is lost in storage or locked up in slowly released forms, so greater quantities are necessary compared to artificial fertilisers. Manure is most effective when ploughed into the fields while it is still fresh, but this is not practical while crops are growing. In practice, most manure is stored and then applied in winter, or else added in ridges for root crops.[128][129]

Slurry lagoons that are open are polluting infrastructure. New grants as of 2022 will pay towards conversion of stores to closed stores with minimum 6 months storage. Acidification treatment or covers will be required under the scheme. Many existing stores are concrete or steel structures.[130]

Nitrogen-fixing crops[edit]

Leguminous plants such as peas, beans or lucerne live in a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria that produce nodules on their roots. The bacteria extract nitrogen from the air and convert it to nitrogenating compounds that benefit the legume. When the legume dies or is harvested, its rotting roots nitrogenate the soil.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)[edit]

Where nitrogen from soil gets into the water, it can be hazardous to human health. EC Directive 80/778/EEC and 91/676/EEC both state a ceiling acceptable level of nitrates of 50 mg/litre, which is also the level recommended by the World Health Organization. In several places in Britain, particularly in the Midlands and the South East, nitrate concentrations occasionally exceed this level and the government has brought in regulations to control nitrate levels in the water. The regulations governing designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) aim to protect ground and surface water from contamination with nitrates and manure. Around 68% of English farmland, 14% of Scottish farmland and all of Welsh farmland is within a NVZ. The NVZ rules control at what time of year farmers may apply nitrogen or manure to the land and oblige them to keep strict records of nitrogen-containing substances used. They also regulate slurry and manure storage.[131][132][133]

The Welsh Government introduced an all Wales NVZ in 2021. Previously, 2.4% of Wales' land was designated as a NVZ. Environmental and fishing groups welcomed the new rules. It will be rolled out, pending a review by the Senedd, over the next three years. The review came after major political backlash from opposition parties and farmers.[134][135][136]


Phosphates are substances that contain phosphorus, which stimulates root development in young plants. It also increases yields and speeds up plant growth. Phosphates are not easily lost from soil, but mostly occur in stable forms that are not liberated quickly enough by natural processes, so fertilisation is necessary. Traditionally, phosphate-bearing materials added to soil include bonemeal, powdered slag, and seaweed.[137]


Potash is a substance that contains potassium. This promotes disease resistance and helps to build starches and sugars. Plants tend to absorb potash during early stages of growth, and potash may reduce problems caused by applying nitrogen. Potash also increases the weight of an individual cereal grain. Traditional potash sources included applying ash to the land and ploughing in crop residues after the harvest. Artificial potash fertilisers were not used until deposits of potash salts were discovered in Germany in 1861.[138]

Arable farming[edit]

A wheat field in Essex

Arable farming is the production of crops. Crop growth is affected by light, soil, nutrients, water, air, and climate. Crops commonly grown in the United Kingdom include cereals, chiefly wheat, oats and barley; root vegetables, chiefly potatoes and sugar beet; pulse crops such as beans or peas; forage crops such as cabbages, vetches, rape and kale; fruit, particularly apples and pears; and hay for animal feed.

Seeds may be sown in spring, summer or autumn. Spring-sown crops are vulnerable to drought in May or June. Autumn sowing is usually restricted to frost-hardy types of bean, vetch, or cereal such as winter wheat. Traditional sowing techniques include broadcasting, dibbling, drilling, and ploughing in. Drilling is normally the most economical technique where conditions are dry enough.[139][140]

Climate change will have positive impacts on crop production in Ireland. The combined effects of higher CO
concentration, warmer spring/summer temperatures and lengthened growing season will all be beneficial to certain types of crop production, specifically grains and barley and detrimental to other crops, such as potatoes.[141]


A field of cut crops
Haymaking near Greenham.

Ploughing is not always regarded as essential nowadays, but the plough can improve soil by inverting it to improve soil aeration and drainage, release nutrients through weathering, and expose harmful pests to predators. It is also an effective method of weed control. Ploughing depth in Britain varies between 5–6 inches in some limestone regions to up to 18 inches in deep stoneless silt land. Most British ploughs are designed to turn a furrow of up to about a foot deep, which is relatively shallow compared to some other countries, where furrows of up to 16 inches are common. Other machines used to prepare land include cultivators (to break up land too heavy for a normal plough), harrows (to level the surface of ploughed land), rolls or rollers (used for firming the soil), sprayers and dusters (used to spread herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilisers).[142]

Reaping is the process of harvesting a crop. Traditionally reaping was done with the scythe and reaping hook, but in Britain these have been entirely superseded by machinery. Combine harvesters, so called because they both harvest and thresh the crop, are common. Other machines used include mowers, reapers, binders, harvesters, pea cutters and flax pullers. Once reaped, some crops are brought directly to market. Others need to be threshed to separate the cash crop from the straw and chaff. Wheat, oats, barley, beans and some kinds of small seed (e.g. clover) typically need to be threshed.[143][144]

Since the Second World War, scientific and technical progress and the removal of tenancy-based restrictions on choice of crop have given British arable farmers a great deal more freedom to plan cropping sequences. Strict crop rotation is no longer technically necessary or even financially desirable. Factors that influence crop sequences include the soil type, weather, the price and availability of labour and power, market outlets, and technical considerations about maintaining soil fertility and crop health. For example, some vigorous crops such as kale or arable silage will, when liberally fertilised, tend to outgrow and smother weeds. Many pests and diseases are crop-specific and the more often a particular crop is taken, the greater the buildup of pests and diseases that attack it. The farmer will therefore try to design a sequence to sustain high yields, permit adequate weed control, service market needs, and keep the soil free from diseases and pests.[citation needed]

As a direct result of climate change, harvesting is coming earlier in the year. The increased temperatures and CO
levels allow this to happen. This means crops can be harvested well in advance of the heavy rain season.[145]


Most diseases of crop plants result from fungus spores that may live in the soil and enter through roots, be airborne and enter the plant through damaged areas or landing on leaf surfaces, or are spread by pests. These spores tend to affect photosynthesis and reduce chlorophyll. They often make plants look yellow and affect growth and marketability of the crop. They are most commonly treated with fungicides, and may be called mildews, rusts, blotches, scabs, wilts, rots or blights. European Union regulations on pesticides are changing, and several important pesticides currently in use will no longer be available. This has potentially quite serious implications for British agriculture.[146][147][148]

Climate change is bringing with it the earlier onset of winter rain. These very wet soils during spring time will also lead to unwanted pest and disease problems during the plating season.[141]


A yellow flower
Common ragwort growing in Scotland. Ragwort is a problem weed throughout the UK.


Historically weed control was by hand-pulling of weeds, often during "fallowing" (which means leaving the land to carry no crop for a season, during which time the weeds can be found and removed). In 1896 it was found that a copper sulphate solution would kill broad-leaved weeds without seriously damaging young cereal plants. Other chemical weedkillers were soon discovered and now common chemical weedkiller ingredients include sodium chlorate, copper chloride, sulphuric acid, dinitroorthocresol and dinitrobutylphenol. Hormone-based weedkillers are used to kill weeds more selectively. Although most weeds are vulnerable to at least one of these substances, eradicating all the weeds from a particular area will usually need several different weedkillers. The use of pesticides has declined, and British farmers now use about a third less pesticides than they did in 1983. The crop needing most pesticides is wheat.[149][150][151][152]

Table of significant crop weeds[153]
Common name Latin name Crops affected
Barren brome Anisantha sterilis Cereals
Black bindweed Polygonum persicaria Broad-leaved crops
Blackgrass Alopecurus myosuroides Winter cereals
Bracken Pteridium aquilinum Upland and hill grassland
Buttercups Ranunculus spp. Grassland
Charlock Sinapis arvensis Broad-leaved crops
Chickweed Stellaria media Broad-leaved crops
Cleavers Galium aparine Broad-leaved crops
Corn marigold Chrysanthemum segetum Cereals
Couch Elytrigia repens spp. Grassland
Docks Rumex spp. Grassland
Dove's-foot cranesbill Geranium molle Broad-leaved crops
Fat hen Chenopodium album Broad-leaved crops
Hemp nettle Galeopsis spp. Broad-leaved crops
Japanese knotweed Reynoutria japonica Grassland
Knotgrass Polygonum aviculare Broad-leaved crops
Mayweeds Matricaria spp.; Anthemis spp. Broad-leaved crops; cereals
Mouse-eared chickweed Cerastium fontanum Grassland
Redshank Polygonum persicaria Broad-leaved crops
Rushes Juncus spp. Wet grassland
Speedwell Veronica persica Broad-leaved crops
Spurrey Spergula arvensis Broad-leaved crops
Thistles Cirsium spp. Grassland
Wild oats Avena fatua Spring cereals
Winter wild oats Avena ludoviciana Winter cereals
Perennial weeds
Annual grass weeds
Annual broad-leaved weeds

Use of pesticides[edit]

In Scotland there is a Code of Practice, the Pesticides: code of practice for using plant protection products in Scotland (2007).[154]


Identification of UK pests[edit]

A pest is an animal that eats or spoils food meant for humans. Pests damage crops by removing leaf area, severing roots, or simply gross damage. In the UK, they are invertebrates (chiefly nematodes, slugs and insects or insect larvae), mammals (particularly rabbits) and birds (mainly members of the pigeon family). The damage caused by crop pests is considerable. For example, potato cyst nematodes cause over £50 million damage a year in the UK.[148][155]

Table of important crop pests
Common name Latin name Crops affected[156]
Frit fly Oscinella frit Cereals, forage grasses
Wheat bulb fly Delia coarctata Cereals
Aphids Sitobion avenae; Rhopalosiphum padi Cereals
Cereal cyst nematode Heterodera avenae Cereals
Peach-potato aphid Myzus persicae Potatoes, sugar beet
Potato cyst nematode Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida Potatoes
Slug Deroceras reticulatum Brassicas
Pigeon Columba palumbus Brassicas
Flea beetle Phyllotreta spp. Brassicas
Cabbage stem flea beetle Psylliodes chrysocephala Brassicas
Pollen beetle Meligethes spp. Brassicas
Cabbage caterpillar Various spp. Brassicas
Millipede Various spp. Sugar beet
Springtail Onychiurus spp. Sugar beet
Symphylid Scutigerella immaculata Sugar beet
Beet flea beetle Chaetocnema concinna Sugar beet
Black bean aphid Aphis fabae Sugar beet, peas and beans
Beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii Sugar beet
Pea cyst nematode Heterodera goettingiana Peas and beans
Pea and bean weevil Sitona lineatus Peas and beans
Pea aphid Acyrthosiphum pisum Peas and beans
Pea moth Cydia nigricana Peas and beans
Pea midge Contarinia pisi Peas and beans
Bean seed fly Delia platura Peas and beans
Carrot fly Psila rosea Carrots
Willow-carrot aphid Cavariella aegopodii Carrots
Onion fly Delia antiqua Onions
Stem and bulb nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci Onions
Weevils Sitona spp. Forage grasses
Ryegrass mosaic virus Spread by the mite Abacarus hystrix Forage grasses
Clover stem nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci Clover plants
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Any plant

Ministerial intervention powers[edit]

The Secretary of State for DEFRA can, under section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947, intervene to compel or assist with pest control by destruction of animals, birds and eggs specified in a notice. Such animal pests are defined as "rabbits, hares and other rodents, deer, foxes and moles."[157] Birds are defined for these purposes as wild birds other than those included in the First Schedule to the Protection of Birds Act 1954.[158] The Secretary of State may assist in the process of pest extermination by providing equipment or services and recoup the reasonable cost of doing so.[159]

Actions prohibited by the Game Act 1831 are not authorised by a notice under the 1947 Act.[160] As at 2023 the 1831 Act remains in force. It prohibits, amongst other things, taking game[161] at certain times and also the laying down of poison for game.[162]

Livestock farming[edit]

Pastoral farming is the breeding of livestock for meat, wool, eggs and milk, and historically (in the UK) for labour. Livestock products are the main element of the UK's agricultural output. The most common meat animals in the United Kingdom are cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry. Overwhelmingly, British wool comes from sheep, with only a few goats or alpacas bred for exotic wools such as cashmere or angora. The vast majority of milk comes from cattle, and eggs from chickens.[163]

Most British farm animals are bred for a particular purpose, so for example, there is a sharp division between cattle bred for the beef trade—early-maturing cattle are best to increase yield, and those that store fat marbled within the muscle rather than as layers outside are preferred for the flavour—and those bred for dairy, where animals with a high milk yield are strongly preferred. Nevertheless, because dairy cattle must calve to produce milk, much of the British beef output is from surplus dairy herd calves.[164][165]

Cattle farming[edit]

Several light brown cows
Jersey cattle

There are about 17,000 dairy farms in the UK, largely in the west. Average herd size is 86 cows in England, 75 in Wales and 102 in Scotland. Most cows are milked twice a day, and an average dairy cow yields 6,300 litres a year. The most important dairy cattle breed is the ubiquitous British Friesian, which has largely replaced the Dairy Shorthorn in British dairy herds thanks both to its high milk yield and the relatively high quality of the beef it produces.[166][167]

The UK once produced roughly as much beef as it ate, but this changed in 1996 because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The BSE crisis led to regulations preventing animals more than 30 months old from entering the food chain, which meant cull cows could no longer be sold for beef. Just under 6 million cattle over this age were destroyed. A Calf Purchase Aid Scheme, under which a further nearly 2 million calves were slaughtered, ended in 1999. In 2002, the UK produced 72% of the beef it ate. Important beef cattle breeds include the Hereford, which is the most popular British beef breed, and the Aberdeen Angus. The once-widespread Beef Shorthorn is now a relatively uncommon sight.[168]

Cows require significant areas of grassland to raise. Dairy cows need 0.4 to 0.5 hectares per cow, including the area needed for winter silage; suckler beef cows can need up to a whole hectare each. The UK produces very little veal. UK animal welfare law requires that animals are kept in daylight in groups with bedding and access to hay, silage or straw. This produces "pink" veal where the calves grow more slowly. It was initially less desirable to some continental customers than the "white" veal produced in harsher conditions for the calf.[169][170]

Sheep farming[edit]

Over 41,000 farms in the UK produce sheep, but more than half of breeding ewes are on hill or upland farms suitable for little else. National Parks and heather moors such as the Lake District, the Pennines and Snowdonia in Wales are dominated by sheep farms, as are the Scottish Highlands. In the lowlands, pockets of sheep farms remain. Romney Marsh (which gave its name to the Romney sheep) and The Downs in Kent are famous for their sheep.[171] Sheep farming in Wales encompasses both upland and lowland areas.

The number of sheep farmed in the UK peaked in 1998 at 20.3 million, as a result of the Sheepmeat Regime, a relatively generous EU support initiative first begun in 1980. Numbers declined following the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth, and the UK temporarily lost its place as Europe's largest producer of lamb, although this was recovered later. (Although it is Europe's largest producer, the UK is nevertheless a net importer of lamb, often from New Zealand.)[171]

Nowadays many ewes are housed indoors for lambing, which costs more but facilitates earlier lambing with lower mortality and replacement rates. It also rests and protects the grassland, leading to better early growth and higher stocking rates. Sheep are also important in helping to manage the landscape. Their trampling hinders bracken spread and prevents heather moor from reverting to scrub woodland. Wool production is no longer economically important in the UK, and nowadays, sheared fleeces are often treated as a waste product.[172]

Pig farming[edit]

Several dark-coloured swine
Large Black pigs

Pig farming is concentrated in Yorkshire and East Anglia.[173] About 4,600 farms produce pigs, and the UK is 90% self-sufficient in pork, but only about 40% self-sufficient in bacon and ham, which reflects a traditional British preference for these cuts. Nowadays many pig farms in the UK breed intensively farmed hybrids of types like the Large White, British Landrace, Welsh or British Saddleback, and formerly popular breeds like the Cumberland and Small White are extinct. Wild boar are sometimes farmed. They are currently covered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and farmers need permission from their local authority to keep them.[174][175]

The UK pig herd is declining, and there are now some individual pig farms in the US that have more sows than there are in the UK as a whole. Pigs often used to be kept indoors throughout their lives, but welfare concerns and increased costs have led to more outdoor units, and by 2002 30% of sows were outdoors. In many countries sows are kept tethered in individual stalls, but this system was banned in the UK in 1999 on animal welfare grounds. Indoor sows are housed in groups. Each sow produces an average of 24 piglets a year and will be pregnant or lactating for 340 days a year. This intensive production wears the sows out, and about 40% of them need to be replaced each year.[176]

A major byproduct of pig production is slurry. One sow and her piglets can produce ten tonnes of slurry a year. Because regulations limit how much slurry can be loaded onto a given area of land, this means that each sow with her progeny will manure at least 0.8 hectares. This is a problem because pig manure is mildly toxic, owing to the use of copper as a growth enhancer.[177]

Other livestock and poultry[edit]

The UK has about 73,000 goats, mostly as milk producers; this number is relatively small by EU standards.[Notes 1] Venison production in the UK is mainly from red deer, with a few fallow deer as well, but there are only about 300 venison-producing farms. As noted above, there are about 26,500 farms with chickens. However, more than half the UK's eggs come from fewer than 400 flocks, mostly with more than 50,000 birds each. Other livestock and poultry farmed on a smaller scale include game birds, ducks, geese, turkeys, ostriches and rabbits.[179][180] In this way, the UK produce annually 22 million turkeys.[181][182]

Livestock movement and record-keeping[edit]

Farmers wanting to move their livestock outside their own farms must obey the Disease Control (England) Order 2003, the Disease Control (Wales) Order 2003 or the Disease Control (Interim Measures) (Scotland) Order 2002, as applicable. This means a farmer needs a licence from the Local Authority to move livestock. There are also minimum "standstill" periods once livestock has been moved, so for example, a farmer buying new cattle and moving them onto his farm must then wait six days before taking other cattle to market. Most livestock must be identified. Each individual cow must have a "passport" issued by the British Cattle Movement Service. Other farm animals such as sheep, goats or pigs must have a herd mark.[183][184]


Designated notifiable diseases under the Diseases of Animals Act include anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, fowl pest, bovine tuberculosis, BSE, scrapie, swine vesicular disease, Aujeszky's disease, bovine leukemia virus, rabies and warble fly. Under the Zoonoses Order conditions that can be transmitted to humans, such as brucellosis or salmonella, must also be notified.[185]

A laminated sign
Aftermath of a foot and mouth outbreak in Scotland

The United Kingdom suffered outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in 1967 and 2001, with a less serious outbreak in 2007. There was also an outbreak of bluetongue in 2007. The most serious disease to affect British agriculture was BSE, a cattle brain disease that causes a similar disease in some humans who eat infected meat. It has killed 166 people in Britain since 1994.[186][187]

A current issue is the control of bovine tuberculosis, which can also be carried by badgers. It is alleged that the badgers are infecting the cows. A scientific report for the government recommended a selective cull of badgers, which immediately met with opposition from other scientists. The government is currently consulting on this issue. As of 16 September 2011, a total of 27 online petitions had attracted 65,000 signatures opposing the plan.[188][189][190][191]

Animal welfare[edit]

Chickens in cramped conditions
Battery hens

Animal welfare legislation affecting UK agriculture includes the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2007 and the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997. The UK has a good reputation for animal welfare, and there are several codes of practice.[192]

Animal welfare[Notes 2] as an issue is increasingly important to the European Union. Although welfare-conscious husbandry can have economic benefits to the farmer, because a happy animal puts on weight more rapidly and will reproduce more easily, the mere fact that an animal is gaining weight or reproducing does not necessarily indicate a high level of animal welfare. Generally there is a tension between the minimum acceptable level of animal welfare for the consumer, the price of the product, and an acceptable margin for the farmer. This tension is resolved by food labelling that enables the consumer to select the price they are prepared to pay for a given level of animal welfare. So for example, many consumers prefer to buy free range eggs even where these are more expensive than eggs from battery hens. Nowadays, there are various welfare assurance schemes in response to consumer pressure.[Notes 3][194][195][196] The use of battery cages in now illegal in the European Union, due to the severe impacts the cages can have on the well-being of hens.[197]

Agricultural education and training[edit]


The Royal Agricultural University, which was the first agricultural college in the English-speaking world, opened as the Royal Agricultural College in 1845. It was granted its royal charter shortly after its founding. By the latter half of the nineteenth century, as farming grew more complex and methodical and as productivity increased, there was a dawning recognition that farmers needed agricultural education. Thanks to government financial support for agricultural education in the 1890s, the Royal Agricultural College was followed by Writtle College in 1893 and Harper Adams University College in 1901. Meanwhile, the West of Scotland Agricultural College formed in 1899, the East of Scotland Agricultural College in 1901, and the North of Scotland Agricultural College in 1904; these colleges amalgamated to form the Scottish Agricultural College in 1990.[198] Professor John Wrightson opened his private Downton Agricultural College in 1880; it closed in 1906 as it was unable to compete with the publicly funded state colleges.[199]

University and further education[edit]

In England the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester offers degree-level education and research opportunities in agriculture, as does Harper Adams University in Shropshire. Writtle University College is in Essex. Hartpury University is in Gloucestershire. Hadlow College is in Kent.

In Scotland, Scotland's Rural College operates from Aberdeen. There is no specialist agricultural university in Wales, though courses in agriculture are available. The same is true for Northern Ireland. There is also a specialist agricultural college in Northern Ireland, the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

Political and advisory bodies[edit]

There are numerous bodies and associations, charities and others who respond to UK government agricultural policy consultations or who attempt to lobby or influence government policy. The following (listed alphabetically) are a selection of specialised bodies or groups whose principal purpose it is to lobby for, or to offer advice about, possible agricultural or rural legislation and/or policy.

Agricultural Law Association (ALA)[edit]

The Agricultural Law Association (ALA)[200] is a non-political organisation of legal and other experts in agricultural law which offers advice in response to government consultations. Members may be qualified lawyers, surveyors or otherwise professionally qualified. Members may also be qualified as Fellows by the ALA. The ALA operates throughout the UK via regional groups.

Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV)[edit]

The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers was founded in 1910 from a number of local associations. Its current membership is approximately 3,000 who are qualified by the CAAV and are rural agricultural professionals.[201] The organisation operates throughout the UK and does so via its committee network. It provides information resources, meetings, and advice in and regarding government consultations.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA)[edit]

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), formerly known as the Country Landowners' Association, represents a 28,000 membership base of people or organisations owning land in England and Wales.[202] Its purpose is to provide membership services and information, as well as lobbying to secure desired policy outcomes for landowner members.

Farmers' Union of Wales[edit]

The Farmers' Union of Wales was formed in 1955 to represent those members farming in Wales. It has the right to represent Welsh farmers in UK government consultations.

National Farmers' Union of England and Wales[edit]


The National Farmers Union (NFU) was begun by a group of nine Lincolnshire farmers and, as the "Lincolnshire Farmers Union", held its first meeting in 1904. By 1908 they were called the National Farmers Union and were meeting in London. During the Second World War, the NFU worked closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure food security. Rationing continued after the war and it is a measure of the NFU's influence at that time that the Agriculture Act 1947 committed the government to undertake a national review of the industry every year in consultation with the NFU.[203][204] After the 2001 creation of DEFRA, the NFU continued to influence policy.[203][204]

Regional grouping[edit]

The main NFU operates in England and Wales. The Welsh section is known as NFU Cymru.[205]


The farming and horticultural business base of the NFU as at 2023 stood at over 46,000 business members. The organisation is concerned with promoting the interests of its members by lobbying and campaigning, the provision of information and making available other services to members.[206]

NFU Scotland[edit]

NFU Scotland was founded in 1913 and as at 2023 represents approximately 10,000 farmers in Scotland.[207] Its purpose is to further the interests of its members and to inform and represent them.

Scottish Crofting Federation[edit]

The Scottish Crofting Federation operates in Scotland and is concerned to promote and protect crofting, a form of small-scale farming found in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It campaigns for those purposes.[208]

Scottish Tenant Farmers' Association (STFA)[edit]

The Scottish Tenant Farmers' Association, which operates in Scotland, was founded in 2001. It was originally known as the Tenant Farmers' Action Group.[209] Its members are tenants of farms in Scotland and its purpose is to inform membership and promote its interests including by legislative change.

Tenant Farmers' Association (TFA)[edit]

The Tenant Farmers' Association was formed in 1981 and operates in England and Wales.[210] Its purpose is to represent tenant farmer members and to lobby on their behalf. It provides information and some services.

Ulster Farmers' Union[edit]

The Ulster Farmers' Union was founded in 1918 and operates in Northern Ireland. It has approximately 12,500 members and its purpose is to promote their interests by professional lobbying.[211]

Special features[edit]

(listed alphabetically)

Barriers to entry[edit]

The only option for someone who lacks capital for land purchase but wants to farm is to rent land on a tenancy. In the 1930s land with vacant possession cost an average of £60 per hectare. In 1996 it cost £8,795 per hectare. In the same period retail prices rose by a factor of 35, but agricultural land prices rose by a factor of well over 100.[212][213][214][215]

In England and Wales the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, which consolidated and built on a century-long trend of increasing protection for tenants, became so onerous towards landlords that they were reluctant to let land at all. It became so hard to obtain a tenancy that the farming industry supported reform enabling termination of tenancies in accordance with the terms of the letting rather than with security of tenure under the 1986 Act. Thus the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 led to the creation of Farm Business Tenancies under its terms. Since then most new tenancies in England and Wales are Farm Business Tenancies under the 1995 Act. 1986 Act tenancies continue in force and may be followed by up to two generations of family tenant. In 2011 the most common route of entry into farming was to succeed to a holding, whether as owner or tenant, so a person's opportunity to farm depended primarily on a family connection.[216]


A field of yellow flowers
Oilseed rape growing in Cornwall

Biofuels are fuels derived from biomass. They can be used in their pure form to power vehicles, but most commonly they are blended with traditional fuels such as diesel. In 2003, the European Union saw biofuels as an answer to several problems: climate change, energy security and stimulating the rural economy, and agreed the Biofuels Directive to see that production was kickstarted. In 2008, the Gallagher Review expressed concern about the effects of the biofuels initiative and identified the conversion of agricultural land to biofuels production as a factor in rising food prices. The current recommended option is that farmers should use marginal or waste land to produce biofuels and maintain production of food on prime agricultural land.[217]

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation ("RTFO") obliges fuel suppliers to see that a certain proportion of the fuel they sell comes from renewable sources. The target for 2009/10 is 3.25% by volume. This presents a potentially useful source of revenue for some farmers.[218]

Biofuel crops grown in the UK include oilseed rape (which is also grown for other purposes), short-rotation coppices such as poplar or willow, and miscanthus. Unfortunately biofuels are quite bulky for their energy yield, which means processing into fuel needs to happen near where the crop is grown; otherwise, most or all of the benefit of biofuels can be lost in transporting the biofuel to the processing area. Such local processing units are not generally available in the UK, and further expansion of this market will depend on politics and industrial finance.[219]


An English pastoral scene, with horses and a church in the background
Long Riston in Yorkshire, an old farming community

It was first suggested that farmers could be paid for "producing countryside" in 1969, but the real beginning of positive agri-environmental policy came with the Agriculture Act 1986. The Countryside Stewardship Scheme and local equivalents were run by the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales from 1991 until 1996, when they came under ministry control. Nowadays schemes to encourage farmers to think about wildlife conservation and to farm in an environmentally friendly way abound, though actual payments to farmers to support this are comparatively modest.[220]

When EU subsidy regime changes in 2013, farmers will receive a greater proportion of their payments from "management of natural resources and climate action." This forms one of the three "principal objectives" of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy which is under consultation until March 2012.[221][222][223]


About half of all farmers in the United Kingdom supplement their income by diversifying their businesses away from pure agriculture. On average diversification adds £10,400 to a farm's revenue.[224]

Sporting rights over farmland for hunting or trapping game have commercial value; game shooting, deer stalking and fishing contribute to the UK economy.[225][226] Fox hunting has been banned in the United Kingdom since February 2005.[227][228]

There are many ways of diversifying. Farmland may, for example, be converted to equestrian facilities, amenity parkland, country clubs, hotels, golf courses, camping and caravan sites. Farmers open shops, restaurants and even pubs to sell their products. The Farm Diversification Benchmarking Study, which was commissioned by DEFRA and carried out by Exeter University in conjunction with the University of Plymouth, found that 65% of full-time farming businesses had diversified, but in the June census of the preceding year (2003), the estimate was 19% of full-time farming businesses. The large discrepancy is probably because the census data excluded the letting or subletting of buildings. The most common kinds of diversification are probably letting of barns as warehouses and storage, letting of former farm labourers' cottages (whether as holiday cottages or on longer leases) and farm shops. The number of farm shops in the UK increased by more than 50% between 1999 and 2003.[229][230]

There is grant funding available for diversification schemes, as well as other initiatives to improve competitiveness in the farming sector, through the Rural Development Programme for England. The scheme runs until 2013, is managed through Defra and has been delivered to date through Regional Development Agencies. Expenditure on the Rural Development Programme for England will remain around £3.7 billion for the 2007–13 programme period, compared with the original planned budget of about £3.9 billion.[231]

Organic farming[edit]


Organic farming is farming without chemical fertilisers, most pesticides, genetic modification, or the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or wormers. In the United Kingdom it is supported and encouraged by the Soil Association. The Food Standards Agency says that organic food offers no additional nutritional benefits over the non-organic kind, though the Soil Association disputes this. However, there are definite benefits in terms of on-farm conservation and wildlife.[232] [233][234] In the UK as in most of northern Europe, organic crop yields can be 40%–50% lower than conventional, more intensive farming and labour use can be 10%–25% higher.[235][236][237][238][239]


An Organic Aid Scheme came into effect in 1994, providing grants to fund farmers wishing to convert to organic farming. By the end of 1997 about 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) had been converted under the scheme, at a cost of £750,000. In 2000 it increased to 525,000 hectares (1,300,000 acres), and between 1996 and 2000, the number of organic farms increased from 865 to 3500. The global market for organic food was worth £1.2 billion a year (2009) and is increasing. The UK's share of the European organic farming market was about 10%.[240][241][242][243]


DEFRA's National statistics Organic farming statistics 2022,[244] published 25 May 2023, state that 509,000 hectares are farmed organically in the UK by 5,500 operators. The figures include land under conversion to organic status. The total organic land is approximately 3% of total farmed land. The largest component was 61.8% of UK organic land in permanent pasture (314,000 hectares). Only 3.1% of UK cattle were raised organically. Cereal growing represented 9.7% of organic land use (49,000 hectares). There has been a 31.6% decrease in organic land use since peaking in 2008. However, the Soil Association is optimistic that an increased organic area is to be anticipated.[245]

DEFRA supports organic farming by offering leaflet advice as to the compatible schemes and grants that generate income. Payments for organic farmers,[246] published June 2023, lists five separate possibilities.

Public sector food procurement[edit]

It is an objective of public procurement in the UK "to support our agricultural industry", at the same time as "providing value for money within public procurement".[247]



Local government authorities have powers under the Smallholdings and Allotments Act to buy and rent land to people who want to become farmers.[248] Fifty County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England and Wales offer tenancies on smallholdings (called "County Farms") as an entry route into agriculture, but this provision is shrinking. Between 1984 and 2006, the amount of land available as County Farms shrank from 137,664 hectares (340,180 acres) to 96,206 hectares (237,730 acres), a reduction of 30%. The number of tenants on these smallholdings shrank by 58% in the same period to about 2,900. County Farms yielded an operational surplus of £10.6 million to local authorities in the financial year 2008–9. Some local authorities dispose of County Farms to obtain capital receipts. Somerset County Council proposes to sell 35 of its 62 County Farms.[249][250] As of March 2009, 39% of County Farms were of 50 acres (20 ha) or smaller, 31% of 50 acres (20 ha) to 100 acres (40 ha) and 30% of 100 acres (40 ha) or more.[251]



The Secretary of State for DEFRA is required to present to Parliament statistics for the English local authorities' smallholdings estates.[252] Incomplete but statistically significant data were presented for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2021.[253] This report indicates that of 67,699 hectares held, 65,932 hectares were let as smallholdings. It was estimated that this represents a 0.4% decline in area over a year. Arable farming was the predominant type of farming (27.6%). 1,978 smallholdings were let as at 31 March 2021 at an average rent per hectare of £310. There were 1,416 tenants of whom 69% had Farm Business Tenancies without security of tenure, and 20% had lifetime tenancies held under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 with security of tenure. As at 31 March 2021 the total rent roll for smallholdings reported was approximately £20 million.

Smallholding at Quarter Beach, Carmarthenshire, Wales (2011). The dwelling sits in the protected dip of the land with sheep-grazing in the foreground. Woodland and an enclosed area of planted trees are by the homestead.

Local authority smallholdings in Wales are the subject of annual public reports made by the Welsh Ministers.[254] The Report for 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022[255] Just under 1% of total 1.9 M hectares Welsh farm land was held as smallholdings. At 31 March 2022 there were 884 tenants holding  969 tenancies. 62% of the tenancies were under 20 hectares. Total income to the landlords amounted to approximately £4.3M with an operational surplus of £2.7M.


Smallholdings in Scotland, can be either owner-occupied or tenanted holdings.  A Scottish smallholding is averagely 20 hectares in extent. There are approximately 20,000 smallholders. 75 are tenants of the Scottish Government under the Small Landholdings Acts 1886-1931.[256] The remainder are mostly crofters governed by the crofting legislation. Smallholdings were reviewed in 2017.[257]

Notable[258] smallholder Michael Forbes was able to prevent Donald Trump’s ambitions for a golf course in Aberdeenshire.

Notable agricultural scandals or mishaps[edit]

1988 Eggs and Currie[edit]

The 1988 Salmonella In Eggs scandal forced junior health minister Edwina Currie out of office two weeks after she declared that most of British egg production was affected by salmonella. The public believed her, and 4 million hens and 40 million eggs were destroyed in consequence. Years later a respectable newspaper alleged there had been a Government cover-up, and that the straight-talking Mrs Currie was right.[259]

1990 Beef-eating Gummer[edit]

At the height of the BSE "mad cow disease" scare in May 1990, Agriculture Minister John Gummer went on camera feeding his four year old daughter a beef burger as part of his attempt to reassure the public that eating beef was safe. Consequently described by the BBC as "probably the most derided politician to emerge out of the BSE scandal,"[260] Gummer had been responsible for delaying a ban on beef offal in 1989.

2006 the Rural Payments Agency: incompetence and sex scandal[edit]

Subsidy payments under the Single Payments Scheme due to farmers were not made because the Rural Payments Agency had underestimated their task and had seriously underestimated the cost of their intended new computer system.[261] By January 2005, thousands of farmers were unpaid: they exchanged via the NFU forthright views with the Rural Affairs Minister, Lord Bach.[262] By March 2006, money still had not been paid, so the Chief Executive Johnson McNeil was removed. In the midst of the crisis, staff of the Newcastle office of the RPA were reported by the local Evening Chronicle for being captured on CCTV leaping naked between the office filing cabinets.[263] On 12 June 2006, apparently to celebrate their infamy, team members and managers held a drink-and-sex-fuelled party, news of which was reported the following day in considerable detail, alongside a series of apparently leaked office emails in which farmers were referred to in unflattering terms.[264] The Farmers' Weekly followed both the payments and the sex scandal narratives.[265] The new Chief Executive (the third inside a year)[266] Tony Cooper hastened to investigate. In early August there were 4 sackings and 5 disciplinary warnings, and an admission that there had been "incidents of misbehaviour that are simply unacceptable in this organisation."[267]

2007 Foot-and-mouth epidemic[edit]

The 2007 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak caused the destruction of over 2,000 animals and the payment of £47 million damages by the Government after contaminated effluent escaped from the biological research laboratories at the Pirbright Institute.

2021 Breakdown at the Crofting Commission[edit]

In-fighting at the Scottish Crofting Commission, a body with key functions and considerable power in relation to crofting, was declared in the 2020/2021 audit to have resulted in that body "falling below the standards expected of a public body in Scotland."[268] The Crofting Commission were required by Audit Scotland in the Report to follow an Implementation Plan to rectify matters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greece has 5.3 million goats, and Spain, Italy and France well over a million each.[178]
  2. ^ Animal welfare is hard to measure in any scientific sense and largely relies on the knowledge, expertise and instincts of concerned individuals.[193]
  3. ^ The European Egg Marketing Regulations say that "free range" hens are those with continuous daytime access to runs with a certain proportion of vegetation, and that have a maximum stocking density of 1,000 birds per hectare (395 per acre).[193]


  1. ^ "Chapter 2: Structure of industry". GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  2. ^ "After 170 years of labour market change, now only 1% of workers are in agriculture - ONS". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Chapter 4: Accounts". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  4. ^ "United Kingdom Food Security Report 2021: Theme 2: UK Food Supply Sources". GOV.UK. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Agriculture in the English regions". Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Government of the United Kingdom. 18 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Chapter 2: Structure of industry". GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2014 – Publications – Government of the United Kingdom". Government of the United Kingdom. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  8. ^ a b DEFRA 2009, p. 13–14
  9. ^ a b DEFRA 2009, p. 16
  10. ^ Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2021 (PDF). DEFRA. 14 July 2022. pp. 26–27.
  11. ^ Brown, Paul (2 February 1999). "Subsidies plan for farmers who help to restore wildlife". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Agricultural Land Use in the United Kingdom". GOV.UK. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  13. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 21
  14. ^ "FAOSTAT". www.fao.org. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  15. ^ Laughton, Rebecca (11 August 2017). "Survey shows that small-scale, agroecological farms produce high yields, deliver multiple environmental and social benefits". La Via Campasina. Coventry University. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  16. ^ "United Kingdom Food Security Report 2021: Theme 2: UK Food Supply Sources". GOV.UK. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Agriculture in the United Kingdom Statistics: 2022: Chapter 10 - Public Payments". GOV.UK.
  18. ^ Why farming matters: Wales, RSPB. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  19. ^ Why farming matters: Scotland, RSPB. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  20. ^ Why farming matters: Northern Ireland, RSPB. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  21. ^ Why farming matters: England, RSPB. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  22. ^ Pryor, Francis (28 February 2011). "Overview: From Neolithic to Bronze Age, 8000 – 800 BC". History. BBC.
  23. ^ Pearson, Michael Parker (2005). Bronze Age Britain. B.T. Batsford. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-0-7134-8849-4.
  24. ^ McKerracher, M.; Hamerow, H.; Bogaard, A.; et al. (2023). "Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: a bioarchaeological dataset for the study of early medieval agriculture (Data paper)". Internet Archaeology (61). doi:10.11141/ia.61.5.
  25. ^ Clark, Gregory: The Price History of English Agriculture, 1209–1914. University of California, published 9 October 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  26. ^ Tull, Jethro: The New Horse Hoeing Husbandry. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  27. ^ Overton 2009, "Crop yields"
  28. ^ BBC: Jethro Tull. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  29. ^ Overton 2009, "More food for more people"
  30. ^ Overton 2009, "Farming systems"
  31. ^ Overton 2009, "More food per worker"
  32. ^ Tollnek, F. and Baten, J., 2017. Farmers at the heart of the ‘human capital revolution’? Decomposing the numeracy increase in early modern Europe. The Economic History Review, 70(3), pp.779-809.
  33. ^ McCloskey, Donald N. "The enclosure of open fields: Preface to a study of its impact on the efficiency of English agriculture in the eighteenth century." Journal of Economic History 32.1 (1972): 15–35 online.
  34. ^ Donald McCloskey, The Economics of Enclosure (1975) pp. 123–60 at p 146 online.
  35. ^ McCloskey 1975, pp. 149–50.
  36. ^ https://www.legislation.gov.uk/apgb/Geo3/13/81/section/I. Retrieved 21 December 2023
  37. ^ section 1 of the 1773 Act
  38. ^ section 2 of the 1773 Act
  39. ^ section 15 of the 1773 Act
  40. ^ McCloskey 1975, pp. 128–144.
  41. ^ Hammond J.L. and Barbara, The Village Labourer 1760–1832
  42. ^ McCloskey 1975, pp. 146.
  43. ^ McCloskey 1975, pp. 146, 156.
  44. ^ Devine, T M (2018). The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed, 1600-1900. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-241-30410-5.
  45. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 5.
  46. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 5–6.
  47. ^ Fairlie, S., 1969. The Corn Laws and British Wheat Production, 1829-76. The Economic History Review, 22(1), pp.88-116 argues against the "irrelevance" position
  48. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agriculture" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 398.
  49. ^ O'Gráda, C., 1981. Agricultural decline 1860-1914. The economic history of Britain since, 1700, pp.1860-1939.
  50. ^ Collins, E.J.T. and Thirsk, J. eds., 2000. The agrarian history of England and Wales. 7, 1850-1914: Pt. 2. at page 947 in Introduction to Part IV: Trade Commerce and Industry by Chartres and Perren
  51. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 125
  52. ^ Introduction to Dewey, P., 2014. British Agriculture in the First World War (RLE The First World War). Routledge.
  53. ^ See Riddrie under "Prison and housing development"
  54. ^ Spencer 1927, p. 3–4.
  55. ^ Cooper, A.F., 1986. Another look at the" great betrayal": agrarian reformers and agricultural policy in Britain. Agricultural history, 60(3), pp.81-104.
  56. ^ Rooth, T., 1985. Trade agreements and the evolution of British agricultural policy in the 1930s. The Agricultural History Review, 33(2), pp.173-190.
  57. ^ Otter, Chris (2020). Diet for a large planet. USA: University of Chicago Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-226-69710-9.
  58. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 7.
  59. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 8.
  60. ^ Page 10 in Dewey, P., 2014. British Agriculture in the First World War (RLE The First World War). Routledge.
  61. ^ Bowers, J.K., 1985. British agricultural policy since the Second World War. The Agricultural history review, 33(1), pp.66-76.
  62. ^ Otter, Chris (2020). Diet for a large planet. USA: University of Chicago Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-226-69710-9.
  63. ^ Rationing, from the National Archives. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  64. ^ CONCLUSIONS of a Meeting of the War Cabinet held in the Cabinet War Room on 14 March 1945 at 12 noon. Pages 186–189. National archives. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  65. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 9–13.
  66. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 13–14.
  67. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 14–15.
  68. ^ Williams et al. 2007, p. 16.
  69. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 558.
  70. ^ Set-aside, an introduction Archived 3 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine, ukagriculture.com. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  71. ^ AgriStats Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, uk.agriculture.com. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  72. ^ AgriStats Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, uk.agriculture.com. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  73. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 147.
  74. ^ Living Countryside Plc (a registered charity) Archived 12 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  75. ^ namib [1] Archived 24 December 2012 at archive.today Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  76. ^ (N Denby Archived 18 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine[2]) → [3] Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  77. ^ a b Berry, P.; et al. (November 2006). Pesticide Residue Minimization Crop Guide. Food Standards Agency. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  78. ^ Farmers Weekly, 29 October 2010: Vol. 153 No. 17, p. 16.
  79. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 1
  80. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 3
  81. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 6
  82. ^ DEFRA 2011, p. 3.
  83. ^ "FAOSTAT". faostat.fao.org. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  84. ^ "FAOSTAT". faostat3.fao.org. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  85. ^ "Battle against Cholesterol". Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  86. ^ The Telegraph: Flowers and fruit crops facing disaster as disease kills off bees, published 1 April 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  87. ^ Section 1 of the Board of Agriculture Act 1899
  88. ^ Section 4 of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act 1911
  89. ^ Section 1 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Act 1919
  90. ^ MAFF was dissolved on 27 March 2002 on the coming into force of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Dissolution) Order 2002 (SI 2002/794). Article 2 of that Order transferred the functions of MAFF to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
  91. ^ "Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate". www.gov.scot. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  92. ^ "Cabinet members and ministers | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  93. ^ "Home". DAERA. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  94. ^ https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/ Retrieved 19 November 2023
  95. ^ "Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee". senedd.wales. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  96. ^ "Session 5 Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee". www.parliament.scot. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  97. ^ "Session 6 Rural Affairs and Islands Committee". www.parliament.scot. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  98. ^ "Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs". www.niassembly.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  99. ^ "Brexit: EU subsidy loss 'could wipe out farms'". BBC News. 8 July 2019.
  100. ^ "Do farmers make more from subsidies than agriculture?". 11 August 2016.
  101. ^ Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK) (November 2020). The Path to Sustainable Farming: An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 to 2024 (PDF) (Report). UK Government. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  102. ^ "Agri-climate report 2022". GOV.UK. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  103. ^ Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2022 (PDF) (Report). UK government. 2023. Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  104. ^ Soils and Land Quality: How to find online maps and data sets https://soils.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Soils-and-Land-Quality-Jan-2022.pdf Retrieved 18 November 2023
  105. ^ "Agricultural land classification: predictive map | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  106. ^ "Natural England Access to Evidence - Regional Agricultural Land Classification Maps". publications.naturalengland.org.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  107. ^ "Agricultural land classification: predictive map | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  108. ^ "Agricultural land classification: enquiries | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  109. ^ "National scale land capability for agriculture | Scotland's soils". soils.environment.gov.scot. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  110. ^ "Planning Series". www.gov.scot. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  111. ^ "Soil maps and soil survey". Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  112. ^ "National Planning Policy Framework". GOV.UK. 5 September 2023. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  113. ^ "Natural England Access to Evidence - Likelihood of Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land". publications.naturalengland.org.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  114. ^ Soils and Land Quality: How to find online maps and data sets https://soils.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Soils-and-Land-Quality-Jan-2022.pdf Retrieved 18 November 2023
  115. ^ "Standards For Highways". standardsforhighways.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  116. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 7
  117. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 29–30.
  118. ^ "Code of practice for the sustainable use of soils on construction sites". GOV.UK. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  119. ^ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5b2264ff40f0b634cfb50650/pb13298-code-of-practice-090910.pdf Retrieved 18 November 2021
  120. ^ "Consultation on the Defra Construction Code of Practice for Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites". www.claire.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  121. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 59
  122. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 60
  123. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 61
  124. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 9
  125. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 49
  126. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 51
  127. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 76–77
  128. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 93
  129. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 97
  130. ^ "Farming Investment Fund – new slurry infrastructure grants coming in autumn 2022 - Farming". defrafarming.blog.gov.uk. 9 June 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  131. ^ Implementation of the Nitrates Directive, EC Environment Commission. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  132. ^ Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, Environment Agency website. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  133. ^ ABC No. 71, November 2010, p. 394.
  134. ^ "River pollution Wales: Farmers face 'six-figure sum' to comply". BBC News. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  135. ^ "Farmers 'at wits' end' over cost of works to meet new pollution laws". County Times. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  136. ^ "All-Wales NVZ to go ahead as pollution 'remains very high'". www.farminguk.com. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  137. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 86–87
  138. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 88
  139. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 159–160
  140. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 173
  141. ^ a b Holden, N.M; Brereton, A.J; Fealy, R; Sweeney, J (2003). "Possible change in Irish climate and its impact on barley and potato yields" (PDF). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 116 (3–4): 181–96. Bibcode:2003AgFM..116..181H. doi:10.1016/S0168-1923(03)00002-9.
  142. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 132 (cultivator), 136 (harrow), 140 (roller) and 142 (sprayer and duster)
  143. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 182
  144. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 197
  145. ^ Shrestha, S.; Abdalla, M.; Hennessy, T.; et al. (2015). "Irish farms under climate change – is there a regional variation on farm responses?". The Journal of Agricultural Science. 153 (3): 385–398. doi:10.1017/S0021859614000331. S2CID 84633699.
  146. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 224–226.
  147. ^ POST 2009, p. 1.
  148. ^ a b POST 2009, p. 4.
  149. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 145
  150. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 151
  151. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 148.
  152. ^ About pesticides, Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  153. ^ These tables are adapted from Soffe 2003, p. 223.
  154. ^ "Pesticides: code of practice for using plant protection products in Scotland". www.gov.scot. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  155. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 225–228.
  156. ^ This table is adapted from Soffe 2003, p. 228.
  157. ^ Section 98(4) of the Agriculture Act 1947
  158. ^ Part I of the First Schedule of the Protection of Birds Act 1954 lists birds and eggs protected year-round. Part II lists birds and eggs protected during the close season.https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1954/30/schedule/FIRST/enacted Retrieved 18 November 2023
  159. ^ Section 101 of the Agriculture Act 1947
  160. ^ Section 98(2) of the Agriculture Act 1947.
  161. ^ As at 2023 section 2 of the Game Act 1831 defines game widely: “game” shall for all the purposes of this Act be deemed to include hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath or moor game, black game”
  162. ^ Section 3 of the Game Act 1831
  163. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 120.
  164. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 552
  165. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 553
  166. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 120–122.
  167. ^ The Cattle Site, Friesian. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  168. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 126.
  169. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 124.
  170. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 127.
  171. ^ a b Soffe 2005, p. 131.
  172. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 134.
  173. ^ "UK Regional Breakdown of Breeding Herd". AHDB Pork. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
  174. ^ Britishwildboar.co.uk: Farming Archived 21 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  175. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 133.
  176. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 135.
  177. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 136.
  178. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 137.
  179. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 138.
  180. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 139.
  181. ^ "How turkey farms work". BBC News. 6 February 2007.
  182. ^ "Turkey meat production 2003–2017". Statista.
  183. ^ Cattle movement reporting, DEFRA website. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  184. ^ Livestock movements, DEFRA website. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  185. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 576.
  186. ^ BBC: CJD victim "had different gene". Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  187. ^ The Telegraph, Bluetongue spreads from cattle to sheep, published 14 October 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  188. ^ Sir David King: Bovine Tuberculosis in Cattle and Badgers Archived 20 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, report of the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Secretary of State, originally submitted 30 July 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  189. ^ DEFRA, Response to the Report of the Chief Scientific Advisor. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  190. ^ DEFRA: TB Control Measures Consultation. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  191. ^ Farmers Weekly, 16 September 2011: Vol. 156 No. 12, p. 6.
  192. ^ "Animal Welfare in the UK, an introduction". ukagriculture.com. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010.
  193. ^ a b Soffe 2003, p. 562.
  194. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 431.
  195. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 438.
  196. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 44.
  197. ^ Andrews, James. "European Union Bans Battery Cages for Egg-Laying Hens". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  198. ^ The Independent: Scottish Agricultural College, published 1 May 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  199. ^ Carrie de Silva, A Short History of Agricultural Education and Research, Harper Adams University, (2015) pp. 96–97
  200. ^ "ALA | Agricultural Law Association". Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  201. ^ "CAAV". The Central Association for Agricultural Valuers. 16 November 2023. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  202. ^ "Home • CLA". www.cla.org.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  203. ^ a b Beyond the National Farmers Union Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Open I, published 16 March 2002. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  204. ^ a b The National Farmers Union, Corporatewatch, published July 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  205. ^ "NFU Cymru #WeAreWelshFarming". www.nfu-cymru.org.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  206. ^ "Find out about the NFU". www.nfuonline.com. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  207. ^ "NFU Scotland | National Farmers Union, Scotland". www.nfus.org.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  208. ^ "Crofting Home". Scottish Crofting Federation. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  209. ^ "Welcome to the TFA of Scotland". Scottish Tenant Farmers Association. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  210. ^ "Tenant Farmers Association (TFA)". Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  211. ^ WebsiteNI. "About us". Ulster Farmers Union. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  212. ^ Nix et al. 1999, p. 78
  213. ^ Nix et al. 1999, p. 80
  214. ^ Farmers Weekly, 30 October 2009: Vol. 151 No. 18, p. 85.
  215. ^ Farmers Weekly, 10 June 2011: Vol. 155 No. 24, p. 35.
  216. ^ Williams, Fiona: Barriers Facing New Entrants to Farming—An Emphasis on Policy. Aberdeen: Land Economy Research, SAC. Retrieved 18 June 2010. Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  217. ^ "Executive Summary of the Gallagher Review". Renewable Fuels Agency. 6 July 2008. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010.
  218. ^ "About the RTFO". Renewable Fuels Agency. 25 June 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010.
  219. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 129.
  220. ^ Nix et al. 1999, p. 187
  221. ^ Commission outlines blueprint for forward-looking agricultural policy, European Commission website, published 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  222. ^ Agriculture Committee's first thoughts on Commission plans, European Commission website, published 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  223. ^ CAP reform consultation, retrieved from the DEFRA website 31 December 2011.
  224. ^ DEFRA (21 January 2014). "Diversifying farming businesses". Government of the United Kingdom.
  225. ^ Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) (2014). "The Value of Shooting" (PDF). The British Shooting Sports Council.
  226. ^ "The Ten Times Appeal". BASC.
  227. ^ Nix et al. 1999, p. 108
  228. ^ BBC: Hunt ban forced through Commons, last updated 19 November 2004. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  229. ^ DEFRA 2004, p. 14
  230. ^ Farmers Weekly, 18 June 2010: Vol. 152 No. 24, p. 24–27
  231. ^ "DEFRA". Rural Development Programme for England. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011; Rural Development Programme for England
  232. ^ "Organic farms 'best for wildlife'". 3 August 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  233. ^ "Organic farming 'benefits biodiversity'". BBC News. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  234. ^ "Rare woodpecker returns to Dorset 'due to organic farming'". BBC News. 7 October 2022. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  235. ^ Food Standards Agency: Organic Review Published Archived 24 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, published 29 July 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  236. ^ Soil Association: What is Organic?. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  237. ^ Soil Association: Soil Association response to the Food Standards Agency Organic Review, published 29 July 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  238. ^ BBC: Organic Farms "Best for Wildlife", last updated 3 August 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  239. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 289 and 294.
  240. ^ Nix et al. 1999, p. 192
  241. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 289.
  242. ^ DEFRA: Organic Farming, last updated 23 December 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  243. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 183.
  244. ^ "Organic farming statistics 2022". GOV.UK. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  245. ^ "Organic farming on the rise in the UK". www.soilassociation.org. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  246. ^ https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/246/2023/06/Defra-SFI-Organics-Leaflet-June-2023-1.pdf Retrieved 19 November 2023
  247. ^ Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Written evidence submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (PRO0037), quoted in Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, Public Sector Procurement of Food: Sixth Report of Session 2019–21, published 21 April 2021, accessed 3 November 2022
  248. ^ "Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1926". United Kingdom Legislation. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  249. ^ Curry 2008, p. 3
  250. ^ Curry 2008, p. 4
  251. ^ Farmers' Weekly, Vol. 153 No. 19, 12 November 2010, p. 18.
  252. ^ section 59 of the Agriculture Act 1970.
  253. ^ "71st annual report to Parliament on smallholdings in England". GOV.UK. 7 September 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  254. ^ Originally under section 59(2) of the Agriculture Act 1970 now by paragraph 30 to Schedule 11 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.
  255. ^ "Local authority smallholdings: annual report 2021 to 2022 | GOV.WALES". www.gov.wales. 17 July 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  256. ^ "Small landholdings". www.gov.scot. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  257. ^ "Small landholdings in Scotland: legislation review". www.gov.scot. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  258. ^ "Donald Trump golf opponent Michael Forbes wins 'Top Scot' award". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  259. ^ "Currie 'was right' on salmonella". The Telegraph. 26 December 2001. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  260. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | John Gummer: Beef eater". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  261. ^ House of Commons, Parliament of the United Kingdom (24 January 2006). "House of Commons – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Fifth Report"https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmenvfru/840/84002.htm Retrieved 20 November 2023
  262. ^ "Farm subsidies system criticised". 24 January 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  263. ^ Weaver, Matt (12 June 2006). "'Depraved' civil servants play naked office pranks". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  264. ^ Williams, Christopher. "'Naked civil servants' celebrate infamy". www.theregister.com. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  265. ^ "RPA rocked by staff in sex scandal". Farmers Weekly. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  266. ^ Weaver, Matt (12 June 2006). "'Depraved' civil servants play naked office pranks". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  267. ^ Fuller, Georgina (10 August 2006). "Naked civil servants get bums rush as agency sacks four after lewd behaviour scandal". Personnel Today. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  268. ^ Paragraph 5, page 3 of the Scottish Government Audit Scotland Crofting Commission Report 2020/2021 https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/report/2021/aar_2021_crofting_commission_0.pdf

Further reading[edit]



  • Allen, Robert C. "English and Welsh agriculture, 1300–1850: outputs, inputs, and income." (2006). online
  • Allen, Robert C. (1994). "Agriculture During the Industrial Revolution," in The Economic History of Britain since 1700, Vol. I: 1700–1860, ed. by Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey, pp. 96–122.
    • also in Roderick Floud, Jane Humphries, and Paul Johnson, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain (2014); vol 1 pp 96–116.
  • Bone, Quentin. "Legislation to Revive Small Farming in England 1887-1914." Agricultural History 49.4 (1975): 653-661.
  • Campbell, Bruce M.S. and Overton, Mark. (1991). "A New Perspective on Medieval and Early Modern Agriculture: Six Centuries of Norfolk Farming c. 1250–1850," Past & Present #141, pp. 38–105.
  • Clapham, Sir John. A concise economic history of Britain: from the earliest times to 1750 (1949), passim.
  • Coleman, D. C. The Economy of England, 1450–1750 (1977), pp. 31–47, 111–130.
  • Daunton, M. J. Progress and poverty: an economic and social history of Britain 1700–1850 (1995), pp. 25–121.
  • Dewey, Peter. "Agriculture, Agrarian Society and the Countryside." in Chris Wrigley, ed., A Companion to Early Twentieth‐Century Britain (2003), pp. 270–285.
  • Ernle, Lord. English Farming: Past and Present (Heinemann, 1961).
  • Floud, Roderick, and Paul Johnson, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain: Volume 1, Industrialisation, 1700–1870 (2004) pp 96–116.
  • Hoyle, Richard W., ed. The Farmer in England, 1650–1980 (Ashgate Publishing, 2013)
  • Hopcroft, Rosemary L. "The social origins of agrarian change in late medieval England." American journal of sociology (1994): 1559–1595. in JSTOR
  • Kussmaul, Ann. Servants in husbandry in early modern England (Cambridge University Press, 1981)
  • Langdon, John (1982). "The Economics of Horses and Oxen in Medieval England," Agricultural History Review, Vol. 30, pp. 31–40.
  • Langdon, John. Horses, oxen and technological innovation: the use of draught animals in English farming from 1066–1500 (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • Martins, Susanna Wade. Farmers, landlords and landscapes: rural Britain, 1720 to 1870 (Windgather Pr, 2004)
  • May, Trevor. An economic and social history of Britain, 1760–1970 (2nd ed. 1995), passim
  • Orwin, C. S. A History of English Farming (1949), 153pp online
  • Overton, Mark. The Agricultural Revolution: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy: 1500–1850 (Cambridge University Press. 1996)
  • Overton, Mark: Agricultural Revolution in England 1500–1850, BBC, last updated 5 November 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  • Rule, John. The vital century: England's developing economy 1714–1815 (1992) pp. 39–92.
  • Taylor, David. Mastering economic and social history (1988), textbook chapters 2, 23.
  • Thirsk, Joan, ed. The agrarian history of England and Wales (8 vol 1978) to 1939; the standard scholarly history; highly detailed
  • Thomas, Richard, Matilda Holmes, and James Morris. ""So bigge as bigge may be": tracking size and shape change in domestic livestock in London (AD 1220–1900)." Journal of Archaeological Science 40.8 (2013): 3309–3325. online
  • Tichelar, Michael.The Failure of Land Reform in Twentieth-Century England: The Triumph of Private Property (Routledge, 2018).

  • Woolgar, C.M., Serjeantson, D., Waldron, T. (Eds.), Food in Medieval England (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Primary sources[edit]

  • Clapp, B.W. ed. Documents in English Economic History: England since 1760 (1976).


External links[edit]