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Title: Mixed farming on the Hampshire Downs, 1837-1914.
Author: Afton, B.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3399 0774
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 1993
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This thesis is concerned with the functioning of mixed farming as practiced on the Hampshire Downs, It includes the investigation of the efficiency of the sheep used, the management of the arable which produced crops for direct sale and for sheep feed, and the integration of the two elements in a manner which sustained and improved the soil fertility. Of principal concern is the effect of the Great Agricultural Depression on the farming system. Conventional wisdom is that mixed farming was particularly well suited to the ethos of high farming as practised during the 'Golden Age' between 1837 and 1874. When prices fell from 1875, the light land mixed farming systems were believed to have been particularly badly hit. Their inherent flexibility was said to inhibit radical responses to long term change in economic conditions. The wide range of sources including farm and estate records, the tithe files, annual agricultural returns, newspapers, and numerous contemporary journals and books, used to investigate the Downs, questions the conventional wisdom of a failing system. Significant changes, whose key elements are not revealed in the statistics, occurred in the structure of agriculture on the Downs. As a consequence, the value of product of the system was underevaluated. During the depression, production was directed at a number of protected, high value, marketing niches. These included the sale of top quality pedigree sheep, particularly rams, and the breeding and fattening of suckling lamb and of out-of-season top grade six to thirteen month old sheep. For those farmers able to target these niches, the depression was relatively mild. The 'Golden Age' had been a period of nascent development which had not yet reached maturity. This occurred during the depression, from which downland agriculture emerged in a contracted, but more efficient and specialized state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Agricultural economics