- I haven't heard back from my IT people yet (I think they're still scratching their heads) about the problem with the long paragraphs, so I broke up the two long-ish paragraphs in this installment, just on the off-chance that they'd get cut.
All opinions my own
The agrarian culture of Slovakia is part of the old European peasant civilization and, in general, developed in parallel. Variations in the development of Slovak agriculture were based on local topography and weather, but mainly by historical and social factors; this was mainly reflected in the methods of sowing grain.
The three-field farming system became common in most of Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries. Since that time, it was the most common system in Slovakia where, unlike in Western Europe, it endured until the beginning of the 20th century. Another reason it lasted so long was the lack of pastures and fertilizer, which was necessary for the more-intensive farming that rotated crops in the fields.
The land belonging to a village was divided into three parts (honi, la'ni, podi'le, tarati). Spring grain was sown in one part, winter grain was sown in another, and the third part was left to lie fallow, and was where all the cattle from the village were pastured. It was only in the more economically developed Slovak regions that, at the end of the 19th century, people started growing fodder on the third portion of land instead of letting it lie fallow. However, farmers did not put faith in this method for a long time.
The gradual extinction of the three-field system, which was also protected by traditional law in the territory of now-Slovakia, had already started in the 19th century, with the introduction of new arable crops (root crops, fodder). However, this did not happen equally quickly everywhere in Slovakia. At that time, many different sowing systems began to be used.
In some regions (Orava < http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Slovakia_Orava.gif >, Gemer), the three-field system was so rooted in tradition that new crops were incorporated into the system without any other changes being made. Variants were frequent. Fields surrounding the village would be cultivated under the alternative system, while remote land was fertilized by kos~arovanie only; in this variant, leaving the third portion of the land fallow survived for the longest time. However, what was important was that the community-wide mandatory system of three-field farming ceased, and that farmers began to farm individually, based on their specific conditions.
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