Annals of Agriculture, 15:345-347 (1791)
On breaking up fresh Land, by Paring and Burning.
A. Wilkinson, M.D. of Enfield

It will, perhaps, afford you some satisfaction to hear, that within these last two years, I have broke up nearly zoo acres of waste land, on Enfield Chace. It will surprise you to hear, that the land had been inclosed, and cleared of wood, for above eleven years, without any further steps having been taken towards its improvement, though tythe free, and within eleven miles of London, as a market and a dunghill. Midsummer 1789, when I first entered, I pared and burnt sixteen acres. The wet autumn that followed, obliged me to give up my intention of sowing it with wheat. In the spring, ten acres were sown with oats, on one ploughing; the produce seven quarters per acre. The remaining six acres were sown with the grey hog pea; the produce four quarters per acre; the soil a stiff loam. As it is of consequence to ascertain the profit of breaking up fresh land, of a similar quality, by paring and burning, permit me to state the expenses and the return.

As one summer was lost in preparing for wheat, I must charge the crops with two years rent and taxes.

  L. s. d.
Rent, for two years, per acre, 1 0 0
Poor-rates 3s.—road levy 1s. 0 4 0
Stocking the bushes, 0 6 0
Paring and burning, 1 9 0
Levelling hillocks, 4s. 6d.—spreading the ashes, 1s. 6d. 0 6 0
Once ploughing, 10s.—harrowing, 2s. 0 12 0
Four bushels of seed oats, at 22s. 0 11 0
  4 8 0
Sold 7 qrs. of oats, at 1l. 1s. per quarter, 7 7 0
Seed and expenses, 4 8 0
Profit per acre, 2 19 0
The straw is not charged, which was much more than sufficient to defray the expenses of mowing, threshing, &c.—Oats being dear this year, part of the crop was sold at 22s. 6d.
Pea crop, L. s. d.
The expenses the same as for the oat crop, with the addition of 5s. for four bushels of seed, at 32s. 4 13 0
Sold four quarters of pease, at 32s. 6 8 0
Profit per acre, 1 15 0

Considering the ameliorating nature of pease, and the excellent state in which they leave the land for a crop of wheat, they will, I doubt not, prove, on the whole, more beneficial than the oats. The soil turned up in the autumn, so mellow and loose, that I got in my wheat on one ploughing. The season, I must acknowledge, was uncommonly favourable.