Originally published in 1966, this work by G. E. Fussell is a thorough examination of the role played by the English dairy farmer over the past four hundred years. Beginning his study with the cow he gives an account of the improved breeding and feeding methods that make today's cow a totally different beast to that of the Tudor farmer. A chapter is devoted to the cultivation of fodder crops and another to the comfort of the cow for, as the author states, pleasant conditions are an important factor in encouraging its productivity. The dairy industry, no less than any other in the nineteenth century, was the scene of numerous devices and inventions designed to improve milking methods. This, together with the development of the sale of milk in a liquid form, is discussed in later chapters. The practical difficulties of transporting milk had until about 1850 caused the major part of the milk produced to be turned into butter and cheese and the varying products of differing regions are fully described. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, however, the number of dairies prepared to retail milk grew in number to accommodate an ever increasing rate of milk consumption.
Numerous farming textbooks published during the period and contemporary descriptions of the farming scene form the background for this scholarly appraisal. No other book has treated the English dairy farmer in such detail and, in drawing upon such a wealth of illustrative material to support his conclusions, G. E. Fussell has produced a work which will be valued by all agricultural historians.
Table of Contents
1. Dairy Cattle. 2. Grassland and Fodder Crops. 3. Buildings. 4. Equipment. 5. Butter and Cheese Making. 6. The Trade in Dairy Products.