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Research article2015Peer reviewed

Modernized Farming but Stagnated Production : Swedish Farming in the 1950s Emerging Welfare State

Martiin, Carin


Swedish agriculture in the 1950s deviated from general Western European patterns as the increased use of purchased inputs was not accompanied by sharply increased outputs. Instead, some crop yields declined, some were stagnant, and some increased, primarily wheat. There was an increase in pork whereas other animal products were unchanged or reduced, especially the total production of milk. At the same time the Swedish population increased, which meant a decline in total output per capita. This was, however, no problem as Sweden was already self-sufficient with food, and the authorities were glad to avoid surpluses. On the input side, the area of arable land decreased, and the labor force declined drastically, primarily due to fewer smallholdings and fewer employees on the largest farms. Moreover, the decade saw a huge wave of mechanization, in the form of tractors, and an increased use of artificial fertilizers, which were valued for their time-saving potential rather than their yield-increasing effects.


Agrarian history, 1950s, inputs

Published in

Agricultural History
2015, Volume: 89, number: 4, pages: 559-583

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger
    SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economic History
    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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