October 2, 2022 1:18 pm

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The Evolution of Farming: From Ancient Practices to Modern Methods


The Evolution of Farming: From Ancient Practices to Modern Methods


Back in the day, farming was done by hand, largely because plows and shovels hadn’t been invented yet. 


While today’s farming techniques are certainly more advanced than they were in ancient times, we still have much to learn from how farmers went about their daily business back in the day.


Many of the farming methods we use today have been around since humans began cultivating plants and animals. 


But over time, some practices have been refined, while others have disappeared altogether in favor of more efficient or environmentally-friendly ways to get food to our tables. 


Here’s an overview of the evolution of farming from ancient practices to modern methods that may even help you understand how to start a business in the industry better. 


If you’re interested in learning about the evolution of farming, read on!





Soil was tilled long before agriculture.


For example, Sewan, for example, a hunter-gatherer society in New Guinea that lived about 14,000 years ago, was cultivating cassava roots at an unusually early date. 


Taro and yams were probably being cultivated in Southeast Asia. 

In Jomon, people were farming rice 9,000 years ago.


During the Neolithic period around 10,000 BC, crops began to be grown not just in Southeast Asia but all across Asia and Europe, as well as Egypt and Sudan. 


Grains such as wheat, barley, and millet; legumes such as lentils and peas; vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, and lettuce; and fruits such as grapes, apples, and pears have all become established in various parts of the world. 


Domesticated animals were also brought into existence at this time, including cows, pigs, and goats, which led to an increased supply of meat to feed these growing populations.





Neolithic Farmers Started Seasonal Planting Cycles


It is believed that the neolithic farmers started the process of seasonally planting cycles. 


A seasonal planting cycle is when they sow different crops in succession throughout the year in order to ensure a continuous supply and variety. 


One example of this could be a crop planted in April that bears fruit for five months, followed by another type harvested November through March, such as radishes or turnips. 


Another change was crop rotation. 

Crop rotation simply means swapping out one type of plant with another in an attempt to provide a balanced diet for livestock and plants, which also helps fight off weeds and diseases. 


Another big difference from ancient farming methods is an increase in scientific knowledge about the soil composition necessary for healthy plants and its rotation.





Before modern tractors, we used animals for plowing.


Animals play a critical role in agricultural work. 

They were the main source of muscle power on the farm from ancient times up until the invention of tractors in 1913. 


A horse, donkey, or ox could pull a plow that had been drawn by hand through fields for centuries. 


In fact, it was common for farmers to plow their crops with animals until around World War II, when machinery took over as a primary source of farming muscle power. 


Horses and mules continued to be used for pulling wagons and carts and for powering threshing machines well into the 20th century. 


The larger the animal, the more expensive it was to maintain because it required more food and water than smaller animals like sheep or goats. 


Horses were bred specifically for different purposes, so one farmer might have a horse that was better suited to pulling carriages while another might have one meant to run at races.


Mules are hybrids between donkeys and horses and can bear loads twice as heavy as those borne by horses.





We used to depend on livestock for fertilizer.


Years ago, farms depended on their livestock for the main component of fertilizer: manure. 


Livestock produce what is called a “night pile”—the cow does her business in the evening and throughout the night, when she’s not doing anything else. 


The farmer wakes up at dawn and uses a pitchfork to scoop up the manure into baskets, which they carry by foot or horse-drawn wagon to where they want it spread on their crops. 


If it is windy, the farmer will place hurdles around the edge of their field so that the manure doesn’t blow away. 


Some farmers use horses with bags to transport larger amounts of manure directly from one place to another without having to walk all over their fields. 


On a small farm, the farmer may have just two cows and 10 sheep. 


In this case, he would still be able to supply his own needs for fertilizer by carrying only five buckets of manure at a time from the animals’ pen to his fields.





Organic Farming Started Hundreds of Years Ago


Organic farming started hundreds of years ago with the advent of the Green Revolution.  


Advances in technology have made it possible for farmers to produce more food while using less land, water, and other resources than conventional farming methods. 


The three most common organic methods are: sustainable organic agriculture, integrated pest management, and biological pest control. 


Sustainable organic agriculture is defined as an environmentally sound production system that relies on minimal external inputs such as fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers in crop production. 


Integrated pest management (IPM) is a general term referring to any strategy that prevents pests from becoming a problem by controlling them at their source or reducing their numbers before they grow large enough to pose a threat. 


Biological pest control uses organisms such as predators, parasites, pathogens, or competitors (such as plants) to reduce pests.





Crop Rotation is one of the Oldest Methods


Crop rotation is one of the oldest methods that farmers use to grow a healthy, well-balanced soil. 


The idea behind crop rotation is that if you plant crops in the same place year after year, they will eventually deplete nutrients from the soil and will eventually stop producing as much produce. 


Planting different crops in different places each year prevents this from happening and helps keep the soil healthy. 


Today’s farming practices are much more advanced than ancient ones, and farmers are always looking for new ways to improve their crop production. 


One such advancement was the invention of hydroponics by Dr. James Nickson. 


Hydroponics uses water rather than soil to grow plants and doesn’t require any other resources like sunlight or fertilizers (although hydroponic farmers may supplement their plants with those things). 


Hydroponics became popular in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2006 that we really started seeing hydroponic agriculture take off as a viable method of farming.





Farmers use sustainable practices even when they aren’t organic.


Farmers use sustainable practices even when they aren’t organic . 


They are always working on the next step and how to be more efficient. 

For example, the invention of genetically modified plants allowed farmers to do a better job of reducing pests, which made pesticides less necessary. 


There is also a large push for precision farming, which uses GPS systems and detailed maps of each field in order to make sure that every square inch is being properly taken care of. 


The future holds many possibilities as new technology is being developed all the time. 


In recent years, hydroponics has been making an appearance, with strawberries and lettuce becoming available year-round without needing to be grown outdoors. 


It will only be a matter of time before these greenhouses become commonplace.





In conclusion , farming practices have evolved over time, from ancient practices that are no longer widely used today to modern methods that are being continually developed. 


The development of farming techniques has been an on-going process, and it is expected that new technologies will continue to be developed and put into practice. 


The history of farming shows how the evolution of agriculture has impacted society for centuries. 


These changes have come about as a result of technology, geography, culture, and economics all affecting agricultural production. 


As societies grew and cultures changed throughout time, so did agricultural trends. 


These agricultural changes were often met with resistance at first because many people feared the unknown or desired what they knew best.


During times when land was plentiful or a type of crop was successful locally or regionally, those types of crops would be grown more often because there was little risk associated with their cultivation. 


Conversely, during periods of famine or economic crisis, food shortages led to experimentation with different ways of cultivating land. 


Famines like the Irish Potato Famine spurred innovation and research into developing different ways to grow foodstuffs in order to feed a hungry population. 


In other cases, humans took advantage of different environments where conditions were not ideal for growing certain foods by transplanting them elsewhere. 


For example, oranges are now grown primarily in Florida because the climate is better suited to them than in other parts of the United States. 



Finally, we hope you enjoyed reading this post! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these insights into the history of farming and share our thoughts with you. 


Be sure to follow us so that you don’t miss out on any posts from this blog!



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