Sources of increased output in UK agriculture 1935-85 : using farm management survey accounts to identify technical change
European social science history conference (ESSHC 2010)
On a world scale, the increase in agricultural production over the last half century has been sufficient to cope with a population that has more than doubled. Similarly, although the UK population has not increased to the same extent, import substitution has meant that the volume of domestic agricultural production nearly trebled in the same period. What is still controversial is the source of these increases. Are they the result of increased inputs of fixed and working capital (as in buildings, machinery, feedingstuffs and fertilizers), or of technical change (as in new crop varieties, genetic improvement in livestock, pesticides, and new kinds of machinery)? This paper examines the relative significance of these two possibilities. It explores the use of a long-term ongoing survey of a large sample of UK farms over the period 1935-1985. This enables detailed calculations of input and output levels to be made, and provides extensive evidence for levels of technical innovation and adoption.
European Social Science History Conference, 2010-04, Ghent