Lived : 1674 – 1741
Place of birth: Basildon, Berkshire
Claim to fame: Inventor of the horse-drawn seed drill. Later, invented the horse-drawn hoe and horse-drawn turnip drill.
Initially studied for the bar exam but never became a practicing barrister. Began traveling in Europe in order to find relief form a pulmonary ailment. He took interest in and studied the local agricultural techniques in the vineyards of France and in the general agricultural techniques around the Mediterranean.
Subsequently he improved and improvised on these observed techniques.
Upon his return to the UK, he established “Prosperity” Farm and went on to create the first “automatic” horse-drawn seed drill which was capable of planting rows of seed in a neat, structured manner. Previously, this had been carried out by hand. This structure allowed for better aeration, water absorption and soil nutrition which gave rise to higher crop yields.
Later, he went on to create the first “automatic” horse-drawn turnip drill and perhaps more importantly, the horse-drawn hoe. The process of hoeing allows better penetration of moisture and nutrients to root systems as well as helping to minimise weed growth, so this is a benefit to many crop types. Several of his works were published but were not initially well received and in fact created an uproar in the agricultural community. However, eventually, many (but not all) of his theories became widely accepted as good agricultural practice, many of which are still in use to this day.
imagecred: via Wikipedia