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If I'm a peasant during the dark ages, what surface (in meters (<- I am in advance on my time)) I need to farm to get enough cereal (for bread and brew) ?

how many cereals (in kg (<- again, I'm in advance on my time) this surface will deliver per year ?

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Wikipedia article on British Agricultural Revolution presents a table relevant to the second part of your question (in bushels per acre, though) –  default locale Jun 13 '13 at 15:57
Here's a paper from references: English Agricultural Output And Labour Productivity, 1250–1850 –  default locale Jun 13 '13 at 16:01
but dark ages time period is around 500-1000 AD I guess. Anyway I will take a look –  bob - Master of black magic Jun 13 '13 at 17:39
There wasn't a lot in the way of technological advances in farming, at least not that we're aware of, between the fall of the Roman Empire in the West and the beginning of the period referenced in that paper. There is a huge issue, of course, with just how much we know about that period of time. You could look at yields from ancient Rome and you could look at yields from the mid-Medieval period, and that 500-1000 area could be way, way off from that. There's just not a lot of evidence available, at least not from the West. –  NotVonKaiser Jun 13 '13 at 21:33
Not in technological relations of farming. But in social relations of farming across Europe significant change occurred. Also, taking the Power-Postan work: the prime limit in the dark ages is social distribution of ownership, not a rational subsistence division of land. –  Samuel Russell Jun 13 '13 at 21:46

2 Answers 2

About about 0.25 wallach was enough to support a family (so at least two adults and all they children) on a good land in Lithuanian territory at about 1600. The size of wallach was about 21.3 ha so 21 3000 square meters. Wallach itself was a norm for a relatively easy, descent life. Family was a team, and all had they specialized work roles, including older children. Probably none could be as efficient with the proportional part of the land alone.

Just enough area to grow crops is not enough because crop rotation is required when using medieval technologies only.

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It highly depends on what you grew on it, where, and how many tools you had at your disposal.

Generally vegetables had higher yields, but were harder to harvest. So the reason why grain became a staple food is that there was just enough place for it to be grown. Legumes were also a staple food; they provided more calories per hectare besides baring much needed proteins. Crop rotation required that one in three fields lay fallow, but farm animals could pasture on that providing alimentary diversity.

Crop yield was much better in southern Europe than in Northern Europe, especially in fertile river valleys. You could grow more wheat, cut grass more often (more hay), harvest crops more often and grow better/less cold resistant variations of staple crops. In the north you had to rely on barley and rye instead of wheat, later on potatoes, rice and maize improved the calories per hectare ratio both in the south and in the north. In the south they had olive oil too, which was a valuable resource, because it had high calory yields and relatively low soil requirements.

Equipment, training, access to technology and further food sources and tax policy of your local lord also play a big role. Of course you had to buy and sell goods to pay your taxes and to buy new tools. If for various reasons, you were not a serf, tax might have played a smaller role. For example a yeoman in England or a "Freibauer" in Tirol were exempt from feudal taxes. Living near monasteries often provided an extra help regarding agricultural technologies, as monasteries also spread that. If you had farm animals you had to do much less work yourself, saving a lot of calories yourself too.

Finally, where i come from (the Alps) in the 19th century 3 hectares were enough for subsistence and a small extra for a family (mother, father and somewhere between 5-20 children usually employed on the farm) if you had a good farm on the valley floor. High pastures and the like usually required several dozen of land. As much of the harvesting technology on high pastures and their living conditions now are pretty much the same as in the middle ages, except for better cow breeds, they are a a good indicator for what a family might have needed. Taking into account that animal husbandry requires a lot of space, people were smaller and living standards lower, cows gave less milk and that you had secondary sources (fishing in lakes, hunting in forests during winter) - i guess a family of yeomen not living in high altitudes with good soil and a good location, probably lived off less than 5 hectares.

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