FALLOW (from the same root as Ger. fed or falb, Lat. fulvus, expressing a pale dun, tawny color). This word sometimes signifies waste, untilled land; but usually it is applied to land that is plowed and otherwise stirred, for a season without being cropped. The most of the wheat raised by the Romans was sown after the land was fallowed; indeed, the usual rotation was fallow and wheat alternately. It was only fertile soils that could long support such an exhausting system; hence resulted the decreasing produce which the later Roman agricultural authors so often speak of and lament.
The fallowing of land was introduced into all the countries which fell under the dominion of the Romans. During their sway in Britain, it soon exported large quantities of wheat; and for centuries after the Romans left it, no other mode of cultivating the land was followed. It may here be observed, that wherever the system of fallowing, without giving manure to the crops, is practiced, it necessarily supposes that the soil is at least moderately fertile. This system is most successful on argillaceous soils, which are retentive of organic manure. It must be borne in mind that the chief use of fallow is to liberate the plant-food which is already stored up in the soil as organic matter. The plowing and stirring, by admitting air, promotes decomposition, in the same manner as the turning over of a dunghill does; it also destroys the roots of the weeds that impoverish and choke the crops.
It was long before &Bowing was introduced to any extent in Scotland; but about the beginning of the present century, it was largely practiced. Owing, however, to the draining of the soil, and the extension of the green-cropping system, it is now confined to the most retentive clay-soils, where it affords the only means of thoroughly cleaning the land. In a rotation of beans, clover; oats, fallow, wheat, and barley, erch field is subjected to a process of fallowing once in every six, seven, or eight years, according to circumstances.
Fallow-fields usually receive a deep furrow in autumn. Lying exposed through the winter, the frost pulverizes the surface. In spring, when the weather becomes dry, the cultivator or the plow opens up the soil, and the process of extirpating the weeds goes on. Sometimes as many as three or four furrows are given in summer before the seed
is sown in autumn. In old cultivated countries, land is commonly so much reduced in its organic matter, that fallows receive dressings of farm-yard manure, rape-dust, or guano, to obtain fertility.
Since the general introduction of green crops, the term fallow has departed in some measure from its original meaning. These crops are sown on what was formerly the fallow-break, and are now often styled fallow-crops. The land, no doubt, receives in some measure a fallowing, as the green crops are cultivated by the plow during their growth. Bastard-fallowing is a term which is used in Scotland when hay-stubble is plowed up in the end of summer, freed from weeds, and sown with wheat in autumn.
Where no express stipulation on the subject has been introduced into the lease, it has been held in Scotland, that, as the outgoing tenant might have taken a crop from the land, which, in accordance with the most approved principles of agriculture, he ought to leave fallow, and as the incoming tenant reaps the advantage in case of his abstaining from doing so, he is entitled to claim its value (Purees, Dec. 3, 1822. See Bell's Principles, s. 1263). " This decision," says Mr. Hunter (Landlord and Tenant, ii. p. 458), "has been deemed to have fixed the law." In conformity with the same prin ciple, it has been ruled, that if the outgoing tenant received prepared fallow, the like should be left by him. A tenant who, on entering to his farm, had received a certain extent of fallow, prepared with manure, free of expense, was held hound to leave the same amount of fallow and manure as he had received, and to be entitled to claim pay ment only for the surplus (Brown v. College of St. Andrews, 11th July, 1851). But where a portion of land has been expressly reserved in the lease for fallow and green crop, for which the tenant was to receive merely a certain sum per acre for plowing, the rights of the parties are settled by the contract, and the tenant can claim no addi tional sum for fallow (Sheriff v. Lord Lovat, 13th Dec., 1854).