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24 September 2014
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J: Jethro Tull

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seed drill.
Jethro Tull's seed drill

In 1701 the agriculturalist Jethro Tull applied science to farming and invented the seed drill.

Tull (1674-1741) was one of a group of agriculturalists who revolutionised farming. Part of a group that founded the 'Norfolk system' their improvements to farming included introducing new crops to England and bringing science to stock-breeding.

Another feature of the new farming methods was the cultivation of turnips and potatoes.

Tull and Lord Townshend popularized the importance of root crops at "Turnip" Townshend's estate in Raynham, Norfolk.

Tull's most original contributions were the seed drill and horse hoe. Tull's seed drill made sowing more economical and yielded greater amount of crops. In the past, farmers would scatter their seed by hand which was wasteful because many failed to take root. The seed drill allowed farmers to sow seeds in well-spaced rows at specific depths.

Tull lived between 1674-1741. He studied and trained as a barrister at Oxford, but took up agriculture around 1700. He published 'Horse-Hoeing Husbandry' in 1733.

Tull also developed a plough with blades set in such a way that grass and roots were pulled up and left on the surface to dry. Today's plough owes much to Tull's original design.

Internet links:
Gressenhall Museum of Rural Life

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Sense of Place
Weird Norfolk
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Norfolk traditions

 





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