Harnessing previously unused farm inventories and corn books, we provide data on wheat storage and sales by English farmers, 1750-1850. Wheat was predominantly stored outdoors in thatched stacks (or “ricks”) – often for more than a year, sometimes for multiple years – although carryover volumes were generally small. Farm stocks tended to be threshed and sold evenly across the year to meet demand. Storage costs were low, and carried over wheat sold at a premium as the natural drying process raised its quality. Wheat was frequently sold directly to millers, bypassing the open market, but private sale prices tracked market prices closely.
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© 2021 Economic History Society
- grain storage
- food supply
- industrial revolution