L'évolution de la productivité agricole dans la plaine de Montréal, 1852-1871: grandes et petites exploitations dans un système familial d'agriculture


  • Christian Dessureault


The countryside around Montreal embarked on an important period of change in the middle of the nineteenth century. This study measures the productivity of agricultural development in this region during this period. The study considers three parishes at different distances from the city of Montreal: Pointe-aux-Trembles, Boucherville, and Saint-Damase. Using census data, the author evaluates variations in the productivity of the land and of labour according to parish and expecially according to the level of development. The combined impact of consolidation of holdings and early mechanization brought in the medium term an increase in labour productivity. Productivity of the land continued to remain low, and the yield varied less across the area than did labour productivity. Restructuring of holdings and mechanization had variable effects on indices of productivity. The advantage of these two changes lay primarily in important gains in the productivity of labour. In contrast, the use of less labour-intensive practices no doubt explains why more extensive and mechanized farming enterprises yielded lower productivity of land than did smaller farms employing extra labour and more intensive cultivation.