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CONTENTS List of Illustrations Xl New Introduction by Wendell Berry Xlll Preface xxv I. INTRODUCTION An Adventure in Research 1 PART I. TilE PART PLAYED BY SOIL FERTILITY IN AGRICUlTURE II. TilE OPERATIONS OF NATURE 17 The Life of the Plant 20 The Living Soil 22 The Significance of Humus 26 The Importance of Minerals 29 Summary 30 1II. SYSTEMS OF AGRICUlTURE 33 Primitive Forms of Agriculture 33 Shifting Cultivation 35 The Harnessing of the Nile 36 Staircase Cultivation 36 The Agriculture of China 38 The Agriculture of Greece and Rome 39 Farming in the Middle Ages 41 IV. TilE MAINTENANCE OF SOIL FERTILITY IN GREAT BRITAIN 43 The Roman Occupation 43 The Saxon Conquest 44 The Open-Field System 45 The Depreciation of Soil Fertility 46 The Low Yield of Wheat 48 The Black Death 49 Enclosure 50 The Industrial Revolution and Soil Fertility 53 The Great Depression of 1879 55 The Second World War 56 v. INDUSTRIALISM AND THE PROFIT MOTIVE 57 The Exploitation of Virgin Soil 57 The Profit Motive 60 The Consequence of Soil Exploitation 61 The Easy Transfer of Fertility 63 The Road Farming Has Travelled 65 VI. THE INTRUSION OF SCIENCE 69 The Origin of Artificial Fertilizers 69 The Advent of the Laboratory Hermit 72 The Unsoundness of Rothamsted 72 Artificials during the Two World Wars 75 The Shortcomings of Present-day Agricultural Research 77 PART II. DISEASE IN PRESENTDAY FARMING AND GARDENING VII. SOME DISEASES OF THE SOIL 85 Soil Erosion 85 The Formation of Alkali Land 94 VIII. THE DISEASES OF CROPS 103 Sugar-cane 104 Coffee 109 Tea III Cacao 118 Cotton 121 Rice 127 Wheat 129 Vine 132 Fruit 138 Tobacco 147 Leguminous Crops 148 Potato 150 Some Parasitic Flowering Plants 156 IX. DISEASE AND HEAlTH IN LIVESTOCK 158 Foot-and-Mouth Disease 158 Soil Fertility and Disease 163 Concentrates and Contagious Abortion 166 Selective Feeding by Instinct 167 Herbs and Livestock 169 The Maintenance of Our Breeds of Poultry 171 x. SOIL FERTILITY AND HUMAN HEAlTH 173 XI. TIlE NATURE OF DISEASE 187 PART 1Il. TIlE PROBLEM OF FERTILIZING XII. ORIGINS AND SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM 193 The Phosphate Problem and Its Solution 197 The Reform of the Manure Heap 204 Sheet-composting and Nitrogen Fixation 207 The Utilization of Town Wastes 209 Summary 210 XIII. THE INDORE PROCESS AND ITS RECEPTION BY THE FARMING AND GARDENING WORLDS 211 Some Practical Points 213 The New Zealand Compost Box 216 Mechanization 220 The Spread of the Indore Process in the Farming and Plantation Worlds 223 South Africa 224 Rhodesia 233 Malaya 234 India 236 New Zealand 237 Great Britain 238 The United States of America 241 XIV. THE RECEPTION OF TilE INDORE PROCESS BY THE SCIENTISTS 245 PART IV. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS Xv. A HNAL SURVEY 257 APPENDICES A. Progress Made on a Tea Estate in North Bengal 265 B. Compost Making in Rhodesia 270 C. The Utilization of Municipal Wastes in South Africa 274 D. Farming for Profit on a 750-Acre Farm in Whiltshire with Organic Manures as the Sole Medium of Re-fertilization 289 Index 303 ...