The mechanization and rationalization of agriculture was a key factor of the Agricultural Revolution. New tools were invented and old ones perfected to improve the efficiency of various agricultural operations.
The basic plough with coulter, ploughshare, and moldboard remained in use for a millennium. Major changes in design did not become common until the Age of Enlightenment, when there was rapid progress.
- crop rotation: The practice of growing a series of dissimilar or different types of crops in the same area in sequenced seasons so that the soil of farms is not used to only one type of nutrient. It helps in reducing soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.
- Industrial Revolution: The transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools, and the rise of the factory system.
- Agricultural Revolution: The unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain due to increases in labor and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. Agricultural output grew faster than the population over the century to 1770 and thereafter productivity remained among the highest in the world.
- common field system: A system of land ownership in which land is owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person with others having certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, collect firewood, or cut turf for fuel.
Developments came from Flanders and and the Netherlands, where due to the large and dense population, farmers were forced to take maximum advantage of every bit of usable land. The region became a pioneer in canal building, soil restoration and maintenance, soil drainage, and land reclamation technology. Dutch experts like Cornelius Vermuyden brought some of this technology to Britain. Finally, water-meadows were utilized in the late 16th to the 20th centuries and allowed earlier pasturing of livestock after they were wintered on hay. This increased livestock yields, giving more hides, meat, milk, and manure as well as better hay crops.