Agriculture developed with social and technical innovations and as humanity settled into a less nomadic lifestyle. Arable farming became widespread in Antiquity, then the medieval agricultural revolution influenced demographic, economic and urban expansion. Cultivation without leaving land fallow first appeared in the 16th century. In the 19th century, scientific advances, such as mechanisation and artificial fertilizer improved yields. Crops became specialised by region.
Cereal farming requires vast cultivable expanses, a significant labour force and appropriate tools. This method of farming is nonetheless similar to that of market gardening. Ploughing, sowing, fertilising, irrigating and treating are steps that have been followed for thousands of years to ensure an adequate yield and an abundant harvest. Arable farming in industrialised countries now relies on a variety of specialist mechanical devices.