Full text: Iceland 1930

much larger share of the land was public property; indeed, about the 
middle of the eighteenth century it is considered that one-half of the 
country was either national estates, church lands or farms owned by 
the bishops’ sees. But towards the end of the eighteenth century and dur- 
ing the first decades of the nineteenth all farms belonging to the sees 
and a great number of national estates were sold, so that about the 
middle of last century only one-third of the land was publicly owned. 
Later still, more national estates were disposed of, though not very 
many, for all such sales required the sanction of the legislature, until 
1905 when the government was authorized, subject to certain restrictions 
and conditions, to sell all national estates, and in 1907 it was further 
authorized to dispose of the church lands. Since then both national 
estates and church lands have been sold to such an extent, that at the 
survey of 1916-1918 only 17 per cent. of the land was public property 
(10 per cent. church lands, 6 per cent. national estates, and 1 per 
cent. owned by various public funds and municipalities). 
About one-half (48 per cent) of the farmers are free-holders, the 
rest (52 per cent.) tenant farmers. Of the latter about three-fifths are 
lenants of private persons, two-fifths renting publicly owned farms (i.e. 
national estates and church lands). Of late years, the number of free- 
holders has increased considerably, while that of tenants has decreased 
in the same proportion. About the middle of last century only 17 per 
cent. were free-holders: in 1910 their number had risen to 37 per cent. 
All farming in Iceland is based on the cultivation of grass. The hay 
from the homefield is almost exclusively used for cattle (cows’) fodder, 
while horses and sheep zre fed with the hay from the meadows 
(different species of sedge and cyperacez). The ,fada‘ (hay of the home- 
field) forms about one-third of the whole crop of hay. The yield of 
hay is usually counted in horse-loads, which, though varying consider- 
ably in weight in different districts, mav as a rule be put at from 80 
to 100 kg. each. 
Since the beginning of the present century, the annual yield of hay 
has been as follows (in 1000 horse-loads): 
Hay from 
Year homefields meadows Total yield 
1901—1905 average 1862 
1906—1910 1947 
1911—1915 2090 
1916—1920 2069 
{921-1925 2078 
19261928 2177

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