Landlords and Tenants in Mid-Victorian Ireland

By W. E. Vaughan | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 9
Agricultural Output, Rents, Potatoes, and the Cost of Labour, 1850-1886

Agricultural output was calculated by using the quantities in the agricultural statis­tics and the price series published in the Cowper commission.1 Total production (the quantity enumerated multiplied by the market price) was changed into output by using Thomas Butler's proportions in the 1908 census of agricultural produc­tion, except in the case of oats and potatoes.2 In other words, Butler's figures for output in 1908 were adjusted upwards and downwards as prices, quantities, and livestock numbers in the years 1850-86 rose or fell above those in 1908. This method, which is different from other estimates of output, has the advantage of being simple and arbitrary.3 Its disadvantage is that it does not produce a satis­factory way of calculating the value of oats and potatoes, especially in the 1850s. These have been calculated by assuming that 1½ cwt. of oats and 12 cwt. of potatoes per statute acre were used as seeds;4 that each pig ate 15 cwt. of potatoes;5 that each horse, kept for agricultural purposes, ate 1 ton of oats.6 The balance of oats left was multiplied by the price of oats; the balance of potatoes was multiplied by the price of potatoes on the Barrington farm at Fassaroe, reduced by 40 per cent.7

____________________
1
See below, pp. 308-9 for the agricultural statistics; Cowper Comm., Minutes of Evidence, 960-7. (The price series, published in the Cowper commission, was first published in the Irish Farmers' Gazette, 1 Nov. 1879, p. 375.)
2
The Agricultural Output of Ireland, 1908: Report and Tables Prepared in Connection with the Census of Production Act, 1906 ( London, 1912).
3
See B. L. Solow, The Land Question and the Irish Economy, 1870-1903 ( Cambridge, Mass., 1971), 213-17, where similar methods are used; see also Vaughan, "'Agricultural Output, Rents and Wages in Ireland, 1850-80'", in L. M. Cullen and F. Furet (eds.), Ireland and France, 17-20th Centuries: Towards a Comparative Study of Rural History ( Paris, 1980), 85-97; Cormac Ó Gráda, "'Agricultural Head Rents, Pre-Famine and Post-Famine'", Economic and Social Review, 5: 3 ( Apr. 1974), 390-1; id., "'Irish Agricultural Output before and after the Famine'", Journal of European Economic History, 13: 1 (Spring 1984), 149-65; Michael Turner , "'Towards an Agricultural Prices Index for Ireland, 1850-1914'", Economic and Social Review, 18: 2 ( Jan. 1987). 123-36; id., "'Output and Productivity in Irish Agriculture from the Famine to the Great War'", Ir. Econ. & Soc. Hist. 17 ( 1990), 62-78.
4
James F. V. Fitzgerald, A Practical Guide to the Valuation of Rent in Ireland; with an Appendix Containing Some Extracts from the Instructions Issued to Valmoors in 1853, by the Late Sir R[ichard] Griffith, bt. ( Dublin, 1881), 50.
5
Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, Departmental Committee on the Irish Pig-Breeding Industry, Minutes of Evidence, Appendices, and Index, pp. 15, 91 [Cd. 8004], HC 1914-16, vi. 899, 975.
6
Inchiquin farm account books (NLI, MSS 14810-11).
7
This gives a higher figure for oats, especially in the 1950s, than that in Vaughan, "'Agricultural Output, Rents and Wages in Wand, 1850-80'", 94-5, where it was assumed that only one-third of oats was output; it also gives higher figures for oats and potatoes than

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