A fertilizer or fertiliser is any material of natural or synthetic origin, applied to soils or to plant tissues to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Many sources of fertilizer exist, both natural and industrially produced. Fertilizers enhance the growth of plants; this goal is met in the traditional one being additives that provide nutrients. The second mode by which some fertilizers act is to enhance the effectiveness of the soil by modifying its water retention and aeration; this article, like many on fertilizers, emphasises the nutritional aspect. Fertilizers provide, in varying proportions: three main macronutrients: Nitrogen: leaf growth Phosphorus: Development of roots, seeds, fruit. Of occasional significance are silicon and vanadium; the nutrients required for healthy plant life are classified according to the elements, but the elements are not used as fertilizers. Instead compounds containing these elements are the basis of fertilizers; the macro-nutrients are consumed in larger quantities and are present in plant tissue in quantities from 0.15% to 6.0% on a dry matter basis.
Plants are made up of four main elements: hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Carbon and oxygen are available as water and carbon dioxide. Although nitrogen makes up most of the atmosphere, it is in a form, unavailable to plants. Nitrogen is the most important fertilizer since nitrogen is present in proteins, DNA and other components. To be nutritious to plants, nitrogen must be made available in a "fixed" form. Only some bacteria and their host plants can fix atmospheric nitrogen by converting it to ammonia. Phosphate is required for the production of DNA and ATP, the main energy carrier in cells, as well as certain lipids. Micronutrients are consumed in smaller quantities and are present in plant tissue on the order of parts-per-million, ranging from 0.15 to 400 ppm DM, or less than 0.04% DM. These elements are present at the active sites of enzymes that carry out the plant's metabolism; because these elements enable catalysts their impact far exceeds their weight percentage. Fertilizers are classified in several ways.
They are classified according to whether they provide a single nutrient, in which case they are classified as "straight fertilizers." "Multinutrient fertilizers" provide two or more nutrients, for example N and P. Fertilizers are sometimes classified as inorganic versus organic. Inorganic fertilizers exclude carbon-containing materials except ureas. Organic fertilizers are plant- or animal-derived matter. Inorganic are sometimes called synthetic fertilizers since various chemical treatments are required for their manufacture; the main nitrogen-based straight fertilizer is its solutions. Ammonium nitrate is widely used. Urea is another popular source of nitrogen, having the advantage that it is solid and non-explosive, unlike ammonia and ammonium nitrate, respectively. A few percent of the nitrogen fertilizer market has been met by calcium ammonium nitrate; the main straight phosphate fertilizers are the superphosphates. "Single superphosphate" consists of 14–18% P2O5, again in the form of Ca2, but phosphogypsum.
Triple superphosphate consists of 44-48% of P2O5 and no gypsum. A mixture of single superphosphate and triple superphosphate is called double superphosphate. More than 90% of a typical superphosphate fertilizer is water-soluble; the main potassium-based straight fertilizer is Muriate of Potash. Muriate of Potash consists of 95-99% KCl, is available as 0-0-60 or 0-0-62 fertilizer; these fertilizers are common. They consist of two or more nutrient components. Major two-component fertilizers provide both phosphorus to the plants; these are called NP fertilizers. The main NP fertilizers are diammonium phosphate; the active ingredient in MAP is NH4H2PO4. The active ingredient in DAP is 2HPO4. About 85% of MAP and DAP fertilizers are soluble in water. NPK fertilizers are three-component fertilizers providing nitrogen and potassium. NPK rating is a rating system describing the amount of nitrogen and potassium in a fertilizer. NPK ratings consist of three numbers separated by dashes describing the chemical content of fertilizers.
The first number represents the percentage of nitrogen in the product. Fertilizers do not contain P2O5 or K2O, but the system is a conventional shorthand for the amount of the phosphorus or potassium in a fertilizer. A 50-pound bag of fertilizer labeled 16-4-8 contains 8 lb of nitrogen, an amount of phosphorus equivalent to that in 2 pounds of P2O5, 4 pounds of K2O. Most fertilizers are labeled according to this N-P-K convention, although Australian convention, following an N-P-K-S system, adds a fourth number for sulfur, uses elemental values for all values including P and K; the main micronutrients are molybdenum, zinc and copper. These elements are provided as water-soluble salts
A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing semiaquatic rice. Paddy cultivation should not be confused with cultivation of deepwater rice, grown in flooded conditions with water more than 50 cm deep for at least a month. Genetic evidence shows that all forms of paddy rice, both indica and japonica, spring from a domestication of the wild rice Oryza rufipogon that first occurred 8,200–13,500 years ago South of the Yangtze River in present-day China. However, the domesticated indica subspecies appears to be a product of the introgression of favorable alleles from japonica at a date, so that there are several events of cultivation and domestication. Paddy fields are the typical feature of rice farming in east and southeast Asia. Fields can be built into steep hillsides as terraces and adjacent to depressed or steeply sloped features such as rivers or marshes, they can require a great deal of labor and materials to create, need large quantities of water for irrigation. Oxen and water buffalo, adapted for life in wetlands, are important working animals used extensively in paddy field farming.
During the 20th century, paddy-field farming became the dominant form of growing rice. Hill tribes of Thailand still cultivate. Paddy field farming is practiced in Asia, namely in Cambodia, China, India, Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos, in Europe, Northern Italy, the Camargue in France, in Spain in the Albufera de València wetlands in the Valencian Community, the Ebro Delta in Catalonia and the Guadalquivir wetlands in Andalusia, as well as along the eastern coast of Brazil, the Artibonite Valley in Haiti, Sacramento Valley in California, among other places. Paddy fields are a major source of atmospheric methane and have been estimated to contribute in the range of 50 to 100 million tonnes of the gas per annum. Studies have shown that this can be reduced while boosting crop yield by draining the paddies to allow the soil to aerate to interrupt methane production. Studies have shown the variability in assessment of methane emission using local and global factors and calling for better inventorisation based on micro level data.
The word "paddy" is derived from rice plant. Archaeologists accept that wet-field cultivation originated in China; the earliest paddy field found dates to 4330 BC, based on carbon dating of grains of rice and soil organic matter found at the Chaodun site in Kunshan County. At Caoxieshan, a site of the Neolithic Majiabang culture, archaeologists excavated paddy fields; some archaeologists claim that Caoxieshan may date to 4000–3000 BC. There is archaeological evidence that unhusked rice was stored for the military and for burial with the deceased from the Neolithic period to the Han Dynasty in China. There are ten archaeologically excavated rice paddy fields in Korea; the two oldest are the Okhyun and Yaumdong sites, found in Ulsan, dating to the early Mumun pottery period. Paddy field farming goes back thousands of years in Korea. A pit-house at the Daecheon-ni site yielded carbonized rice grains and radiocarbon dates, indicating that rice cultivation in dry-fields may have begun as early as the Middle Jeulmun pottery period in the Korean Peninsula.
Ancient paddy fields have been unearthed in Korea by institutes such as Kyungnam University Museum of Masan. They excavated paddy field features at the Geumcheon-ni Site near Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province; the paddy field feature was found next to a pit-house, dated to the latter part of the Early Mumun pottery period. KUM has conducted excavations, that have revealed dated paddy field features, at Yaeum-dong and Okhyeon, in modern-day Ulsan; the earliest Mumun features were located in low-lying narrow gullies, that were swampy and fed by the local stream system. Some Mumun paddy fields in flat areas were made of a series of squares and rectangles, separated by bunds 10 cm in height, while terraced paddy fields consisted of long irregular shapes that followed natural contours of the land at various levels. Mumun Period rice farmers used all of the elements that are present in today's paddy fields, such as terracing, bunds and small reservoirs. We can grasp some paddy-field farming techniques of the Middle Mumun, from the well-preserved wooden tools excavated from archaeological rice fields at the Majeon-ni Site.
However, iron tools for paddy-field farming were not introduced until sometime after 200 BC. The spatial scale of paddy-fields increased, with the regular use of iron tools, in the Three Kingdoms of Korea Period; the first paddy fields in Japan date to the Early Yayoi period. The Early Yayoi has been re-dated, it appears that wet-field agriculture developed at about the same time as in the Korean peninsula. Evidence of wild rice on the island of Sulawesi dates from 3000 BCE. Historic evidence for the earliest cultivation, comes from eighth century stone inscriptions from the central island of Java, which show kings levied taxes in rice. In ancient Java, during the Medang Mataram period, many inscriptions are related to the establishment of the sima lands; this signify the formation and expansion of Javanese agricultural villages in the region during this period. Either by opening a forest or converting a ladang to sawah. A sima is an arable wet rice agricultural land with rice surpluses available for taxation, recognised through royal edict.
Most of these sima lands are r
Slash-and-burn agriculture called fire-fallow cultivation, is a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest or woodland to create a field called a swidden. The method begins by cutting down the trees and woody plants in an area; the downed vegetation, or "slash", is left to dry right before the rainiest part of the year. The biomass is burned, resulting in a nutrient-rich layer of ash which makes the soil fertile, as well as temporarily eliminating weed and pest species. After about three to five years, the plot's productivity decreases due to depletion of nutrients along with weed and pest invasion, causing the farmers to abandon the field and move over to a new area; the time it takes for a swidden to recover depends on the location and can be as little as five years to more than twenty years, after which the plot can be slashed and burned again, repeating the cycle. In India, the practice is known as jhoom. Slash-and-burn can be part of shifting cultivation, an agricultural system in which farmers move from one cultivable area to another.
It may be part of transhumance, the moving of livestock between seasons. A rough estimate is. In 2004, it was estimated that in Brazil alone, 500,000 small farmers each cleared an average of one hectare of forest per year; the technique is not sustainable for large human populations. Methods such as Inga alley cropping and slash-and-char have been proposed as alternatives which would cause less environmental degradation. A similar term is assarting, the clearing of forests for the purpose of agriculture. Assarting does not include burning. Slash-and-burn cultivation has been practiced throughout much of the world, in grasslands as well as woodlands. During the Neolithic Revolution, which included agricultural advancements, groups of hunter-gatherers domesticated various plants and animals, permitting them to settle down and practice agriculture, which provides more nutrition per hectare than hunting and gathering; this happened in the river valleys of Mesopotamia. Due to this decrease in food from hunting, as human populations increased, agriculture became more important.
Some groups could plant their crops in open fields along river valleys, but others had forests blocking their farming land. In this context, humans used slash-and-burn agriculture to clear more land to make it suitable for plants and animals. Thus, since Neolithic times, slash-and-burn techniques have been used for converting forests into crop fields and pasture. Fire was used before the Neolithic as well, by hunter-gatherers up to present times. Clearings created by the fire were made for many reasons, such as to draw game animals and to promote certain kinds of edible plants such as berries. Slash-and-burn fields are used and owned by a family until the soil is exhausted. At this point the ownership rights are abandoned, the family clears a new field, trees and shrubs are permitted to grow on the former field. After a few decades, another family or clan may use the land and claim usufructuary rights. In such a system there is no market in farmland, so land is not bought or sold on the open market and land rights are traditional.
In slash-and-burn agriculture, forests are cut months before a dry season. The "slash" is permitted to dry and burned in the following dry season; the resulting ash fertilizes the soil and the burned field is planted at the beginning of the next rainy season with crops such as upland rice, cassava, or other staples. Most of this work is done by hand, using such basic tools such as machetes, axes and makeshift shovels; the old American civilizations, like the Inca and Aztecs used this old agricultural technique. Large families or clans wandering in the lush woodlands long continued to be the most common form of society through human prehistory. Axes to fell trees and sickles for harvesting grain were the only tools people might bring with them. All other tools were made from materials they found at the site, such as fire stakes of birch, long rods, harrows made of spruce tops; the extended family conquered the lush virgin forest and cultivated their selected swidden plots, sowed one or more crops, proceeded on to forests, noted in their wanderings.
In the temperate zone, the forest regenerated in the course of a lifetime. So swidden was repeated several times in the same area over the years, but in the tropics the forest floor depleted. It was not only in the moors, as in Northern Europe, but in the steppe, prairie and barren desert in tropical areas where shifting cultivation is the oldest type of farming. Cultivation is similar to slash-and-burn.. Southern European Mediterranean climates have favored evergreen and deciduous forests. With slash-and-burn agriculture, this type of forest was less able to regenerate than those north of the Alps. Although in northern Europe one crop was harvested before grass was allowed to grow, in southern Europe it was more common to exhaust the soil by farming it for several years. Classical authors mentioned large forests, with Homer writing about "wooded Samothrace," Zakynthos and other woodlands; these authors indicated. Although parts of Europe aside from the north remained wooded, by the Roman Iron and early Viking Ages, forests were drastically reduced and settlements moved.
The reasons for this pattern of mobility, the transition to stable
History of agriculture
The history of agriculture records the domestication of plants and animals and the development and dissemination of techniques for raising them productively. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least eleven separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin. Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 20,000 BC. From around 9500 BC, the eight Neolithic founder crops – emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas, flax – were cultivated in the Levant. Rye may have been cultivated earlier but this remains controversial. Rice was domesticated in China by 6200 BC with earliest known cultivation from 5700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 11,000 BC, followed by sheep between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 7000 BC.
Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 5000 BC. In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 8000 BC and 5000 BC, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Bananas were hybridized in the same period in Papua New Guinea. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was domesticated to maize by 4000 BC. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 3600 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC; the Bronze Age, from c. 3300 BC, witnessed the intensification of agriculture in civilizations such as Mesopotamian Sumer, ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilisation of South Asia, ancient China, ancient Greece. During the Iron Age and era of classical antiquity, the expansion of ancient Rome, both the Republic and the Empire, throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Western Europe built upon existing systems of agriculture while establishing the manorial system that became a bedrock of medieval agriculture. In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.
After the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, manioc to Europe, Old World crops such as wheat, barley and turnips, livestock including horses, cattle and goats to the Americas. Irrigation, crop rotation, fertilizers were introduced soon after the Neolithic Revolution and developed much further in the past 200 years, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution. Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labour has been replaced by mechanization, assisted by synthetic fertilizers and selective breeding; the Haber-Bosch process allowed the synthesis of ammonium nitrate fertilizer on an industrial scale increasing crop yields. Modern agriculture has raised social and environmental issues including water pollution, genetically modified organisms and farm subsidies. In response, organic farming developed in the twentieth century as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides.
Scholars have developed a number of hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an antecedent period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Current models indicate that wild stands, harvested started to be planted, but were not domesticated. Localised climate change is the favoured explanation for the origins of agriculture in the Levant; when major climate change took place after the last ice age, much of the earth became subject to long dry seasons. These conditions favoured annual plants which die off in the long dry season, leaving a dormant seed or tuber. An abundance of storable wild grains and pulses enabled hunter-gatherers in some areas to form the first settled villages at this time. Early people began altering communities of flora and fauna for their own benefit through means such as fire-stick farming and forest gardening early. Exact dates are hard to determine, as people collected and ate seeds before domesticating them, plant characteristics may have changed during this period without human selection.
An example is the semi-tough rachis and larger seeds of cereals from just after the Younger Dryas in the early Holocene in the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent. Monophyletic characteristics were attained without any human intervention, implying that apparent domestication of the cereal rachis could have occurred quite naturally. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin; some of the earliest known domestications were of animals. Domestic pigs had multiple centres of origin in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC, it was not until after 9500 BC that the eight so-called founder crops of agriculture appear: first emmer and einkorn wheat hulled barley, lenti
Dairy farming is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk, processed for eventual sale of a dairy product. Although any mammal can produce milk, commercial dairy farms are one-species enterprises. In developed countries, dairy farms consist of high producing dairy cows. Other species used in commercial dairy farming include goats and camels. In Italy, donkey dairies are growing in popularity to produce an alternative milk source for human infants. While cattle were domesticated as early as 11,000 years ago as a food source and as beasts of burden, the earliest evidence of using domesticated cows for dairy production is the seventh millennium BC - the early Neolithic era - in northwestern Anatolia. Dairy farming developed elsewhere in the world in subsequent centuries: the sixth millennium BC in eastern Europe, the fifth millennium BC in Africa, the fourth millennium BC in Britain and Northern Europe. In the last century or so larger farms specialising in dairy alone have emerged.
Large scale dairy farming is only viable where either a large amount of milk is required for production of more durable dairy products such as cheese, etc. or there is a substantial market of people with cash to buy milk, but no cows of their own. In the 1800s von Thünen argued that there was about a 100-mile radius surrounding a city where such fresh milk supply was economically viable. Centralized dairy farming as we understand it developed around villages and cities, where residents were unable to have cows of their own due to a lack of grazing land. Near the town, farmers could make some extra money on the side by having additional animals and selling the milk in town; the dairy farmers would bring it to market on a wagon. Until the late 19th century, the milking of the cow was done by hand. In the United States, several large dairy operations existed in some northeastern states and in the west, that involved as many as several hundred cows, but an individual milker could not be expected to milk more than a dozen cows a day.
Smaller operations predominated. For most herds, milking took place indoors twice a day, in a barn with the cattle tied by the neck with ropes or held in place by stanchions. Feeding could occur with milking in the barn, although most dairy cattle were pastured during the day between milkings; such examples of this method of dairy farming are difficult to locate, but some are preserved as a historic site for a glimpse into the days gone by. One such instance, open for this is at Point Reyes National Seashore. Dairy farming has been part of agriculture for thousands of years, it has been one part of small, diverse farms. In the last century or so larger farms concentrating on dairy production emerged. Large scale dairy farming is only viable where either a large amount of milk is required for production of more durable dairy products such as cheese, etc. or there is a substantial market of people with cash to buy milk, but no cows of their own. Dairy farms were the best way; the first milking machines were an extension of the traditional milking pail.
The early milker device sat on the floor under the cow. Following each cow being milked, the bucket would be dumped into a holding tank; these were introduced in the early 20th century. This developed into the Surge hanging milker. Prior to milking a cow, a large wide leather strap called a surcingle was put around the cow, across the cow's lower back; the milker device and collection tank hung underneath the cow from the strap. This innovation allowed the cow to move around during the milking process rather than having to stand still over a bucket on the floor; the next innovation in automatic milking was the milk pipeline, introduced in the late 20th century. This uses a permanent milk-return pipe and a second vacuum pipe that encircles the barn or milking parlor above the rows of cows, with quick-seal entry ports above each cow. By eliminating the need for the milk container, the milking device shrank in size and weight to the point where it could hang under the cow, held up only by the sucking force of the milker nipples on the cow's udder.
The milk is pulled up into the milk-return pipe by the vacuum system, flows by gravity to the milkhouse vacuum-breaker that puts the milk in the storage tank. The pipeline system reduced the physical labor of milking since the farmer no longer needed to carry around huge heavy buckets of milk from each cow; the pipeline allowed barn length to keep increasing and expanding, but after a point farmers started to milk the cows in large groups, filling the barn with one-half to one-third of the herd, milking the animals, emptying and refilling the barn. As herd sizes continued to increase, this evolved into the more efficient milking parlor. Innovation in milking focused on mechanizing the milking parlor to maximize the number of cows per operator which streamlined the milking process to permit cows to be milked as if on an assembly line, to reduce physical stresses on the farmer by putting the cows on a platform above the person milking the cows to eliminate having to bend over. Many older and smaller farms still have tie-stall or stanchion barns, but worldwide a majority of commercial farms have parlors.
In herringbone and parallel parlors, the milker milks one row at a time. The milker will move a row of cows from the holding yard into the milking parlor, milk each cow in that row. Once all of the milking machines have been removed from the milked row, the milker releases the cows
Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system; some are governed by tradition, others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely. Sharecropping has costs for both the owners and the tenant. Everyone encourages the cropper to remain on the land. At the same time, since the cropper pays in shares of his harvest and croppers share the risks of harvests being large or small and of prices being high or low; because tenants benefit from larger harvests, they have an incentive to work harder and invest in better methods than in a slave plantation system. However, by dividing the working force into many individual workers, large farms no longer benefit from economies of scale.
On the whole, sharecropping was not as economically efficient as the gang agriculture of slave plantations. In the U. S. "tenant" farmers own their own mules and equipment, "sharecroppers" do not, thus sharecroppers are poorer and of lower status. Sharecropping occurred extensively in Scotland and colonial Africa, came into wide use in the Southern United States during the Reconstruction era; the South had been devastated by war – planters had ample land but little money for wages or taxes. At the same time, most of the former slaves had labor but no money and no land – they rejected the kind of gang labor that typified slavery. A solution was the sharecropping system focused on cotton, the only crop that could generate cash for the croppers, landowners and the tax collector. Poor white farmers, who had done little cotton farming, needed cash as well and became sharecroppers. Jeffery Paige made a distinction between centralized sharecropping found on cotton plantations and the decentralized sharecropping with other crops.
The former is characterized by long lasting tenure. Tenants are tied to the landlord through the plantation store, their work is supervised as slave plantations were. This form of tenure tends to be replaced by wage slavery. Decentralized sharecropping involves no role for the landlord: plots are scattered, peasants manage their own labor and the landowners do not manufacture the crops. Leases are short which leads to peasant radicalism; this form of tenure becomes more common. Use of the sharecropper system has been identified in England, it is still used in many rural poor areas of the world today, notably in India. Although there is a perception that sharecropping was exploitative, "evidence from around the world suggests that sharecropping is a way for differently endowed enterprises to pool resources to mutual benefit, overcoming credit restraints and helping to manage risk." According to Dr. Hunter, "a few acres to the cottage would make the labourers too independent."It can have more than a passing similarity to serfdom or indenture where associated with large debts at a plantation store that ties down the workers and their family to the land.
It has therefore been seen as an issue of land reform in contexts such as the Mexican Revolution. However, Nyambara states that Eurocentric historiographical devices such as'feudalism' or'slavery' qualified by weak prefixes like'semi-' or'quasi-' are not helpful in understanding the antecedents and functions of sharecropping in Africa. Sharecropping agreements can, however, be made as a form of tenant farming or sharefarming that has a variable rental payment, paid in arrears. There are three different types of contracts. Workers can keep the whole crop. Workers keep some of the crop. No money changes hands but the land owner each keep a share of the crop; the advantages of sharecropping in other situations include enabling access for women to arable land where ownership rights are vested only in men. It has been pointed out. However, many outside factors make it efficient. One factor is slave emancipation: sharecropping provided the freed slaves of the US, Brazil and the late Roman Empire with land access.
It is efficient as a way of escaping inflation, hence its rise in 16th-century France and Italy. It gave sharecroppers a vested interest in the land, incentivizing hard work and care. However, American plantation were wary of this interest, as they felt that would lead to African Americans demanding rights of partnership. Many black laborers denied the unilateral authority that landowners hoped to achieve, further complicating relations between landowners and sharecroppers. Landlords opt for sharecropping to avoid the administrative costs and shirking that occurs on plantations and haciendas, it is preferred to cash tenancy because cash tenants take all the risks, any harvest failure will hurt them and not the landlord. Therefore, they tend to demand lower rents than sharecroppers; the practice was harmful to tenants with many cases of high interest rates, unpredictable harvests, unscrupulous landlords and merchants keeping tenant farm families indebted. The debt was compounded year on year leaving the cropper vulnerable to intimidation and shortchanging.
It appeared to be inevitable, with no serious altern
A ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most applies to livestock-raising operations in Mexico, the Western United States and Western Canada, though there are ranches in other areas. People who own or operate a ranch are called cattlemen, or stockgrowers. Ranching is a method used to raise less common livestock such as elk, American bison or ostrich and alpaca. Ranches consist of large areas, but may be of nearly any size. In the western United States, many ranches are a combination of owned land supplemented by grazing leases on land under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service. If the ranch includes arable or irrigated land, the ranch may engage in a limited amount of farming, raising crops for feeding the animals, such as hay and feed grains. Ranches that cater to tourists are called guest ranches or, colloquially, "dude ranches."
Most working ranches do not cater to guests, though they may allow private hunters or outfitters onto their property to hunt native wildlife. However, in recent years, a few struggling smaller operations have added some dude ranch features, such as horseback rides, cattle drives or guided hunting, in an attempt to bring in additional income. Ranching is part of the iconography of the "Wild West" as seen in Western rodeos; the person who owns and manages the operation of a ranch is called a rancher, but the terms cattleman, stockgrower, or stockman are sometimes used. If this individual in charge of overall management is an employee of the actual owner, the term foreman or ranch foreman is used. A rancher who raises young stock sometimes is called a cow-calf operator or a cow-calf man; this person is the owner, though in some cases where there is absentee ownership, it is the ranch manager or ranch foreman. The people who are employees of the rancher and involved in handling livestock are called a number of terms, including cowhand, ranch hand, cowboy.
People involved with handling horses are sometimes called wranglers. Ranching and the cowboy tradition originated in Spain, out of the necessity to handle large herds of grazing animals on dry land from horseback. During the Reconquista, members of the Spanish nobility and various military orders received large land grants that the Kingdom of Castile had conquered from the Moors; these landowners were to defend the lands put into their control and could use them for earning revenue. In the process it was found that open-range breeding of sheep and cattle was the most suitable use for vast tracts in the parts of Spain now known as Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia; when the Conquistadors came to the Americas in the 16th century, followed by settlers, they brought their cattle and cattle-raising techniques with them. Huge land grants by the Spanish government, part of the hacienda system, allowed large numbers of animals to roam over vast areas. A number of different traditions developed related to the original location in Spain from which a settlement originated.
For example, many of the traditions of the Jalisco charros in central Mexico come from the Salamanca charros of Castile. The vaquero tradition of Northern Mexico was more organic, developed to adapt to the characteristics of the region from Spanish sources by cultural interaction between the Spanish elites and the native and mestizo peoples; as settlers from the United States moved west, they brought cattle breeds developed on the east coast and in Europe along with them, adapted their management to the drier lands of the west by borrowing key elements of the Spanish vaquero culture. However, there were cattle on the eastern seaboard. Deep Hollow Ranch, 110 miles east of New York City in Montauk, New York, claims to be the first ranch in the United States, having continuously operated since 1658; the ranch makes the somewhat debatable claim of having the oldest cattle operation in what today is the United States, though cattle had been run in the area since European settlers purchased land from the Indian people of the area in 1643.
Although there were substantial numbers of cattle on Long Island, as well as the need to herd them to and from common grazing lands on a seasonal basis, the cattle handlers lived in houses built on the pasture grounds, cattle were ear-marked for identification, rather than being branded. The only actual "cattle drives" held on Long Island consisted of one drive in 1776, when the island's cattle were moved in a failed attempt to prevent them from being captured by the British during the American Revolution, three or four drives in the late 1930s, when area cattle were herded down Montauk Highway to pasture ground near Deep Hollow Ranch; the prairie and desert lands of what today is Mexico and the western United States were well-suited to "open range" grazing. For example, American bison had been a mainstay of the diet for the Native Americans in the Great Plains for centuries. Cattle and other livestock were turned loose in the spring after their young were born and allowed to roam with little supervision and no fences rounded up in the fall, with the mature animals driven to market and the breeding stock brought close to the ranch headquarters for greater protection in the winter.
The use of livestock branding allowed the cattle owned by different ranchers to be identified and sorted. Beginning with the settlement of Texas in the 1840s, expansion both north and west from that time, through the Civil War and into the 1880s, ranching dominated wes