Ploughing Scene in Suffolk is an 1825 painting by English Romantic landscape artist John Constable. This work is located in the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.
Farming in Suffolk in the Nineteenth Century
The primary crops grown in Suffolk included cereals like wheat, barley, and oats. Turnips and other root crops were also common. The Norfolk four-course rotation system, introduced by agricultural innovators like Thomas Coke of Holkham, became popular. This system involved planting turnips, barley, clover, and wheat in a cyclical pattern to maintain soil fertility.
The 1800s witnessed significant advancements in agricultural machinery. The introduction of the seed drill, developed by Jethro Tull in the 1700s, became more widely adopted. The threshing machine, powered by horses or early steam engines, began to replace manual methods of separating grain from the stalks.
Despite the technological advancements, rural life in Suffolk could be challenging. Weather conditions, crop diseases, and fluctuations in market prices were constant concerns. The 19th century also saw a decline in rural populations as people migrated to urban areas in search of employment opportunities during the Industrial Revolution.