The severity of wheat yield crises on eight Spanish farms, 1700-1774

Abstract: The main purpose of this article is to measure the severity of the wheat yield crises that occurred during the first three quarters of the 18th century, using records from eight farms and estates in Extremadura, Castile and Andalusia. Specifically, the research is based on account books from several monasteries and the Chapter of the Cordoba Cathedral. We have developed an indicator that considers yield drops in the years of sterility and, where appropriate, the magnitude of cereal deficits during the three-year periods before and after the crises. Our two most relevant conclusions indicate that: 1) the most disastrous cereal crops were obtained in the first quarter of the 18th century; and 2) the decreased severity of the crises in the second and third quarters corresponded more to the mitigation of yield deficits just before and after the years of sterility than to a moderation in their drop during the same periods of scarcity.