Farming has been ‘The Basic Industry’ ever since man started growing his own food rather than gathering it from the wild, but the description took on special meaning in Britain during the wars of the 20th century, when enemy action looked like blocking our supplies from overseas.
In the years after WWII, the nation decided that it could never take that risk again, and encouraged farmers to modernise and increase output.
This production uses archive film from the 1940s to the 1970s, often taken by the farmers themselves, to show how farming responded to that call by introducing new machinery, techniques and marketing that reduced the need for man- and horse-power in the fields and on the farms.
Rare coverage of the first post-war Royal Show in 1947 sets the scene for the changes that are to come. Early material includes a traditional pig-killing, teaching farming techniques to 1950s schoolboys, potato planting by hand and early sugar-beet lifting machinery.
The modernisation of green pea harvesting and beet and potato production, the change from extensive to intensive livestock production and innovations in material handling are all covered by films that show historic machinery hard at work in the right settings for their time.
- Running time: 55 mins. approx.
- Format: Video VHS PAL & DVD PAL