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Adoption and Diffusion Processes in the Mechanisation of Irish Agriculture

James A. Walsh


Mechanisation is an important component of the modernisation of agricultural production. It involves the adoption and diffusion of many innovations. The processes which affect the adoption and spatial diffusion of innovations in Irish agriculture have been subjected to very little systematic analysis. This paper traces the introduction and spread of tractors in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from the 1920s to the present. A strong hierarchical effect is evident in the adoption and diffusion pattern which extends westwards from some key clusters of early adopters in the east and south. The distributions of farm sizes, tillage, and hired agricultural labourers, are suggested as important influences on the spatial pattern. Also of importance were the locations of distributors and the networks established by the main suppliers, though this factor requires more research.

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