Shabats, Servia (Town) 1911 Profile, #05: Agriculture


Servian methods of farming remain in many respects primitive. Real progress was, however, achieved in the period 1890-1910, chiefly owing to improvements in agricultural education. Indian corn is the principal crop, for corncake forms the staple diet of the peasantry, while the grain is also used for feeding pigs, the heads for feeding cattle and the stubble for manure. The normal yield exceeds 5,000,000 bushels yearly, wheat coming next with a little less than 4,000,000. Flax, hemp and tobacco are also grown; hemp especially near Leskovats. The cultivation of sugar-beet, introduced in 1900, became an important industry, but the attempt to introduce cotton failed. The native tobacco plantations meet all the local demand, except for a small quantity of Turkish tobacco imported for the manufacture of special blends. The best Servian wines are those of Negotin and Semendria. Before the appearance of Phylloxera in 1882 wine was exported to France and Switzerland, but in1882-1895thousands of acres of vines were destroyed. Phylloxera was checked by the importation of American vines and the establishment of schools of viticulture. The creation of state vine-nurseries, stocked with American plants, was authorized by a law of 1908. Orchards are very extensive, and all the fruits of central Europe will thrive in Servia. The chief care is bestowed on plums, from which is distilled a mild spirit known as raki or rakiya. The favourite kind of raki is shlivovitsa (the sliwowitz of Austria), extracted solely from plums. There is a considerable trade in dried plums and plum marmalade. Bees are very generally kept, the honey being consumed in the country, the wax exported. Mulberries are grown on many farms for silkworms; sericulture is encouraged and taught by the state, and over 1 00,000 lb of cocoons are annually exported. Relatively to its population, Servia possesses a greater number of sheep (3,160,000 in 1905) and pigs (908,000 in 1905) than any country in Europe. Large herds of swine fatten, in summer and autumn, on the beechmast and acorns of the forests, returning in winter to the lowlands. The Servian pig is pure white or black, but other breeds, notably the Berkshire and Yorkshire, are kept. Despite American competition and Austro-Hungarian tariffs the export of swine remains the principal branch of Servian commerce. Cheeses are made from the milk of both sheep and goats; but cattle are mostly bred for export or draught purposes. The cumbrous wooden carts which afford the sole means of transport in many districts are generally drawn by oxen, although buffaloes may be seen in the south. The native horses, though strong, are, like the cattle, of small size.

NOTE: This article is an historical reference based on the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, now in the Public Domain. The text is provided through scanning and OCR conversion. There may be transcription errors in the article. Encyclopedia style: 1) For reasons of cost and academic writing style, the paragraphs are long in length. 2) Contributors to articles are sometimes identified by their initials in parentheses at the end of the article. 3) Some articles include a section called "Authorities," a record of all the sources used when writing the article. 4) Information is based on knowledge available in 1911 and may be inaccurate, especially in the areas of science, law, and ethnography. 5) Images and diagrams from the original are not included with article. 6) Do not use this information for medical or legal guidance or any research requiring current information.

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      "Shabats, Servia," The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 24, Sainte-Claire Deville, etienne Henri to Shuttle (11th ed.), (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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