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Farming in Creation

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Reading some more stuff branching away from Wikipedia article about the open field system.

    For instance, the idea that a family would need about ten acres to rely on the land for their livelihood.

    As well as the concept of the "Malthusian trap", the idea that technological advances that increase population number but not actual standard of living mean that there is stagnancy in incomes.

    Depending on how that intersects with the Blessed Isle, it might allow for the idea of most people being farmers even when there is enough food to allow for population growth.

    I mean, people have repeatedly talked about enough people to force industrialisation, but... the Realm doesn't have the technology or the political context for that. Why should abundant people go off to the city? Property and lifestyle there is more expensive, and there won't be any actual jobs for you.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Ludek View Post
    @Isator Levi

    It also implies another thing that keeps land unoccupied :
    "the wilderness is so dangerous, lonely farms are a rarity"
    And then
    "Almost every acre not part of the vast swaths
    left as land preserves is under heavy cultivation
    "
    So is it dangerous or just something that needs to protected? Also it implies to me that most of the land is cultivated
    I think that when it says "almost every acre is cultivated", it's referring to the densely settled flat lands, with places like mountains and highland forests being the barely settled wilderness.

    Originally posted by Ludek
    Village every 3 miles(5 km) one village per 25 km^2 and assuming Blessed isle is 2000kmx2000km (4M km^2) it is 160000 villages assuming 100% land usage with 100 people per village is 16 000 000 people , with 500 per village it's 80 000 000 still low and without including city populations and less than perfect land usage
    Wouldn't 80 million out of 100 million mean there's a sizable urban population while still maintaining a majority of peasants?

    Originally posted by Ludek
    I just thought about it longer asumimng ratio of 1 peasant per 4 city dwellers
    Why?

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    Originally posted by Erinys View Post
    So the multiple harvests are more like having one field in summer wheat, and a separate field in winter wheat?
    Multiple harvest would be using the same field; first for the summer wheat, then after reaping sowing the winter wheat.

    This one from the original post:
    Most areas can harvest three crops of rice a year, while the Blessed Isle and the Scavenger Lands bring in five rice crops in the most fertile areas. This vast bounty encourages large and complicated societies, for one peasant can nourish many people with her labor.
    Means that three fields of food would mean 3x5 harvests. As I found and posted earlier in the thread, there are a few small areas in India that can produce 3 harvests of rice in a single field, so that would give 3x3.

    But the quote Isator Levi found don't say anything about several harvest of food per field, so it can be 3x1. With control of the gods and everything, it might mean 3x2, but it can also just mean each field is just harvested once per year. Having assistance from sorcery and gods might just mean each field gives an optimum amount as it is never to much sun or to much rain.



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  • Erinys
    replied
    So the multiple harvests are more like having one field in summer wheat, and a separate field in winter wheat?

    That would make it far more reasonable. Instead of a excessive overabundance of food driving the value into the dirt, you have a hefty supply that's evenly spaced around the year so there isn't really a lean season. I don't know enough about farming to know whether this reduces the chance of a famine -- but with the weather so strongly controlled, the gods of pests probably controlled too, and the crops diversified to avoid overdependence on any one plant, I'm guessing famine is rather rare unless it's artificially caused by idiotic command-economy market manipulations.
    Last edited by Erinys; 04-09-2015, 01:16 PM.

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    The average village is able to plant three fields for food and a fourth and fifth for fiber crops and still keep two fields fallow for animal pasture.

    This is not the same as sequential crops as discussed previous in the thread, but having several fields that each give one or more yields per year (well, depending on if they use crop rotation or having a field rest.

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  • Erinys
    replied
    That quote actually describes 4-5 total harvests: 3 of food, 1-2 of fiber crops.

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  • Ludek
    replied
    @Isator Levi

    It also implies another thing that keeps land unoccupied :
    "the wilderness is so dangerous, lonely farms are a rarity"
    And then
    "Almost every acre not part of the vast swaths
    left as land preserves is under heavy cultivation
    "
    So is it dangerous or just something that needs to protected? Also it implies to me that most of the land is cultivated

    Village every 3 miles(5 km) one village per 25 km^2 and assuming Blessed isle is 2000kmx2000km (4M km^2) it is 160000 villages assuming 100% land usage with 100 people per village is 16 000 000 people , with 500 per village it's 80 000 000 still low and without including city populations and less than perfect land usage
    Unless I made mistake somewhere ....

    I just thought about it longer asumimng ratio of 1 peasant per 4 city dwellers we can keep Blessed isle at 250M with less than perfect land usage and average population of village somewhere around 500. It gives population density of farmland somewhere around 10 people per km^2.
    So it's somewhat believable but it makes Blessed Isle dominated by City dwelers .. quite modern thing but maybe it's one of the things that makes Blessed Isle centre of civilisation.
    Last edited by Ludek; 04-09-2015, 12:53 PM.

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    Hmm I think I know where my confusion might be taking place. Saying everywhere that isn't a restricted game preserve is cultivated land makes me feel like the Blessed Isle has 15,000,000 square kilometres of farmland.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I thought I had maintained faith in the figures given in the Second Edition core because they were consistent with the Manacle and Coin chapter written by Grabowski, but these shortcomings weren't adding up, so I decided to go back and check.

    Here's what the original point on the Realm's agricultural productivity stated:
    The source of this prosperity was the Empress.
    Her magic increased the fertility of the Blessed Isle
    and worked ancient First Age weather machines, and
    her power kept the isle’s gods in line. Peasants now
    reap three harvests a year from the land, producing
    corn, wheat, barley, rice, beans, sugar cane, millet,
    squash and peas. Villages also grow flax for linen,
    hemp for rope and cotton for canvas and clothes and
    tend orchards for fruit and nuts or plantations of
    mulberry trees for their silkworms. The average village
    is able to plant three fields for food and a fourth
    and fifth for fiber crops and still keep two fields fallow
    for animal pasture.
    The Realm’s villages are densely settled, with
    the flatlands supporting one village every three miles
    and the intervening countryside thoroughly developed.
    Almost every acre not part of the vast swaths
    left as land preserves is under heavy cultivation.
    These villages are inevitably crowded. Since the land
    produces so much food and the wilderness is so
    dangerous, lonely farms are a rarity.
    This massive agricultural apparatus supports regional
    market towns in each prefecture. By law, certain
    businesses must operate only from the market towns:
    brewing, milling, pottery production, papermaking,
    silk weaving and more must be located in these market
    towns.
    I think that putting three crops up as the high end of the unusually well-endowed Blessed Isle might be more consistent.

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  • Erinys
    replied
    Ludek please please use paragraph breaks. Your post is one solid block and I can't read it. Also you have a lot of typos that make you hard to read as well.

    Originally posted by sodina View Post
    I think that while there is no difficulty in food production, there is a sizeable difficulty in moving that supply to the demand. Transportation was also needed to facilitate the economic boom.
    That plus the horrible political relations and different coinages, means that any farmer would find it difficult to sell their goods in the next city. Because you have to trek 2,000 miles on the oregon trail, where not dying of dysentry means you get to argue with the local constable that they only pay in seashells and only if the moon is the right shade of blue.

    So, any area will mostly be relying on local produce, which puts a cap on the profitable size of your harvest. If the city eats 5000 bags of rice, your extra 2000 may as well be dirt on the road.
    Then that food would mostly rot, and many farmers would stop farming and do something else. The Realm would not be the agrarian society that it's presented as. The urbanization would resemble an industrial society more. And out in the Threshold, wherever humand do happen to live, there are usually 2 or 3 harvests per year.

    Prices of food and drugs should not be listed with the resource costs they're given in the corebook, they should logically be far cheaper. The population of Creation should be much, much higher -- because the Blessed Isle alone should be far more densely crowded. Creation should have far more urbanization, cities and towns. Most societies should not be agrarian under such abundant conditions unless their populations are exploding.

    There is no way to reconcile such an abundance of food with all the other things we're told about Creation and Realm society.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I think the intersection between farming and taxation on the Blessed Isle is a bit historically atypical.

    The Realm not only taxes the peasantry in cash, it taxes them in virtually worthless cash which is almost a fully ritualistic process.

    Combine that with the fact that the high nobility of the Realm can't actually rely on revenues drawn from estates for their money (instead having to run businesses, tax farm or live on government stipends), it seems as though taxation and land allocation policies in the Realm are predicated at preserving the relative independence and self-sustainability of the peasantry.

    Not for altruistic reasons, but to undercut the Dragon Blooded.

    That and references to how collection of taxes has generally been inefficient and low priority, and how the majority of the Realm's revenue comes from tribute collections anyway.

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  • Ludek
    replied
    @Synapse There is a lot of room to fudge numbers.
    Not all land is suitable for farming, not all of all land suitable have good soil, and soil can be depleted due to misuse( and it can be because of administrative pressures say imperial administration need lots of grain this year and orders/forces peasants to plant grain all year) it would deplete soil fast and this effect would be much longer lasting than just sticking to crop rotation. How much people one peasant family may feed assuming they works with good soil from one season of crop, how much from bad one? How effective is taxation on peasants to extract their crop ... just flat quota won't do since if it's adjusted for good soil , peasant working worse one sill will starve, if it's just % it would produce similar effect.

    From taxman POV it's matter extracting all peasant's crop while allowing to keep him(and his family) not starving (with clear rules aplling to all peasants) but in reality peasant will do all they can to uderreport amount of grain harvested, taxman don't have perfect knowledge and there is need to be wiggle room to allow peasant to live through lean times so in prospering society whole system should err on side of peasants allowing those working best soil or just most productive one to get richer. Of course grain not consumed by peasants will enter market one way or another and will feed those who are not farmers. Still taxation policy will have _great_ impact how much of suitable land will be used.

    Then is accessibility, and transportation (water transport is great help there) just because you have a lot of grain one place dosen't men you would end up with same amount in another one .. each day animal pull wagon full of grain it need to be feed grain(and each day on way back) and this applies each good moved over land. So if have 1000kg of grain on Blessed Isle you may end up with 100kg (after feeding transport animals and people) in Legion's storage in the Threshold. In my opinion coastal cities in the Blessed Isle are much bigger than they could thanks to imports of grain from Satrapies over sea than just relaying on imports from inland areas.

    Then there is fact that living on the rice or any other grain isn't option you need vegetables (it takes time and effort to grow them) and there is meat with requites to be feed with grain at least from time to time (for example during winter) with increases grain footprint of classes higher than peasant's (just anyone else basically) so regardless of peasant productivity most of food will be used to transport exotic goods form far far away, armies and warfare in the threshold and how much on campaigns against River province or against Bull, how many Empress statues will be build. Breeding and feeding lot's of animals for moving stone from one place to another , or just fro moving more goods from one place to another it uses up lot's of grain doesn't translate in bigger population it just created more complex and richer society, peasant's may be still oppressed and starving from time to time.

    With one degree of land utilization it may be possible to have much higher population of Blessed Isle but it's big Empire with big infficeinces and because of inflexible taxation (with helps to ensure stable revenue) peasants are taxed into starvation if they try to work on not so good soil(they settle, plant crops and in one or more lean year they abadon place and become dispossessed), lot's of wars , building lots of useless structures to memorialize empire greatness.
    We will never get any hard numbers about Blessed isle beside it's rough population I presume so if you think you need to change perspective try to see it as reason source of Empire decadence, their ability and wilingness to wage wars rest is just matter where lies bleliviable level of opression
    Last edited by Ludek; 04-09-2015, 11:37 AM.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Onigato View Post
    @Synapse, see the other big thread going on in here, Population in Creation. Earth Prime (the real world) has 7.3 to 7.5 billion people running around. Creation, by canonical (stupidly low imo) numbers never cleared 4 billion. Ever. Even at the height of the First Age
    Dreams of the First Age presents the population of the world as over 10 billion.

    People in Creation also have some really good contraceptives.

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    Originally posted by Ludek View Post
    How much of the Blessed Isle land is rice friendly? 30% ? My ques is it's lower than that .. I don't live in country growing rice but as I know it need a lot of water during it's growth .. and I think It likes warmth so climate may be factor there - northern parts of Isle may sport less rice growing seasons (other corps may be more optimal for farming) .. but for cultural(or logistical) reasons rice may be planted anyway.
    Actually, when I searched the web due to this thread, I found out rice don't have to grow in water. But it keeps pests away, so it is preferable to grow it in water.

    But my guess is that the total farmable area on the Blessed Isle, of any kind of farming, is less than 30%.

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  • Onigato
    replied
    @Synapse, see the other big thread going on in here, Population in Creation. Earth Prime (the real world) has 7.3 to 7.5 billion people running around. Creation, by canonical (stupidly low imo) numbers never cleared 4 billion. Ever. Even at the height of the First Age, much less any point after, and by the AoSorrows, canonical numbers are less than a billion humans in all Creation, total. The 2 to 5 ratio greater numbers is correct, just the other way round, Earth having bigger than Creation in most cases.

    Which I now use to say to the comment made earlier by someone else entire that the devs did research and applied real world number to setting aspects, to which I say HA! Erinys is 100% right, the population numbers are COMPLETELY wrong, even for a fully agrarian society, which there are too many solid examples of it being post-agrarian for that to apply. I enjoy the setting, but I also realize that under no circumstances does it even remotely resemble a working model of anything physical, even before one applies the fact that gods walk among people, magic is not just a thing, but a common-ish occurance, and physics mic dropped and left the building a *long* time ago. The devs took some numbers, decided they sounded good, and said here ya go, canon. Those numbers are useless when looked at, even lightly. Nearly 800 years since the Great Contagion and there are still only 20k to 30k DBs in all Creation? 50k if people are generous? Only half a billion mortals, when food is so (see above for why) blatantly available? Places that *don't* get at least two harvests in annually are specifically called out in the fluff! Baseline assumption is for *three* harvests, any one of which would feed a given region for a year.

    I frankly ignore ALL the fluff numbers, including the number of harvests. Everybody harvests once or maybe twice a year, and the BI and East just get more per harvest than the North. The West isn't feeding itself from the field, but instead from the sea, and the South does whatever it can to survive. On the coast, that means two and sometimes three harvests because of the much longer growing season, but inland is scavenger life and raiding the coasties for food and water.

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