Ancient Egyptian Farmers

Farming was a very important part of life in Ancient Egypt. 

Since most of the Ancient Egyptian cities were close to the Nile River, farming was usually very good, and the farmers could grow food to trade and live on.


Most of the farmers from Ancient Egypt were peasants.  When the pharaoh owned a farm, he would hire peasants to come and do his farming for him.  The farmers would take care of all the land, which was normally a lot if owned by a pharaoh.

Villagers were also farmers.  They would live in the towns and would take care of the farming so that they could eat and support their families.


The Ancient Egyptians had many crops such as barley, figs, wheat, vegetables, grapes, pomegranates, cabbages, lettuce, onions, beans, and many, many more.

Grain was the most important crop that the Ancient Egyptians would grow.  Grain was used to make things such as bread and other food but even more importantly, grain and barley were used to make beer which was very popular in Ancient Egypt.  When it was time to harvest the grain, the Egyptians would throw it in the air so that the wind would blow the chaff off of it.

There was a time each year when the flood would come.  After the flood, the grain would grow and it would allow farmers to be able to make food, trade, and eat good food.

Corn was another important crop.  The farmers would go and cut the ripe corn and then women and children would follow behind them and collect all of the corn that had fallen.

Farming Seasons

There were two different seasons that were used for farming one was the growing season and the other was the harvest season.

During the growing season, the crops were planted into the land.  This was a time of hard work where the farmers would always have to make sure that the land was ready and that nothing was eating the crops.  Since the farmers would farm close to the Nile River, water was not usually a problem.

During the harvest season, farmers would pick all of the crops and gather them for selling.  This was another time of hard work and farmers would work many hours a day preparing their crops.


Each year in June, the Nile River would flood.  This was considered the flooding season and was a time when farmers would take a break to get all of their tools and things ready for after the waters went down.

Farmers did not miss having food though, because they would go fishing in the water so that they could have extra money and food when they were not growing crops.


Farming was no easy job and the Ancient Egyptians had many tools that would help them to do work.  They had reapers, sickles, cattle, hoes, rakes, plows, scoops, and more.

During the farming season, cattle and oxen were very important because they would help to trample over the land and get the grain off of the stalks.  The animals would be very useful to pull things and to help with all of the farming needs on the land.

Sometimes, the animals would trample the seeds and eat the grain or wheat that was not wanted.  The animals would then get fatter and the farmers would sometimes use them for food, as well.

Some of the most known animals for farming were the geese, pigs, goats, cattle, oxen, ducks, and cows.


Once the Nile River would flood and the water would dry up, anything that was under the water would die. 

During this time, there would be all kinds of mud that were left, and it would take a little bit of time for the sun to dry the water out of the dirt.

Floodwater was very important for the Ancient Egyptians and they would try to keep as much of the water as they could from the flood.  They would build traps to keep the water in so that it would not dry up in the sun.

When the farmers would plant their crops, they would need to get water and they would use a shaduf.  A shaduf is a piece of wood that is like a pole. 

The pole would be tied with a rope and a bucket on one end to help it to balance.  The farmer would raise the water in the bucket by pulling on the shaduf and then he would spin around and dump the water on the crops.

Facts About Ancient Egyptian Farmers

  • Most of the farming tools were made out of wood and stone.
  • Some tools were found by historians that were made out of metal.
  • There were three different seasons in Ancient Egypt: Akhet, which was flood season, Peret, which was the growing season and Shemu which was harvest season.
  • Another name for flooding season was called inundation.
  • Another crop that the Ancient Egyptians grew was called flax and this was used to make linen.

What Did You Learn?

Who were the farmers of Ancient Egypt? 

Most of the farmers were peasants and villagers.

What were some of the crops that the farmers would grow?

Some of the crops that the farmers grew were barley, corn, grain, and many fruits, and vegetables.

What happened each year that the Ancient Egyptians had to wait before they could plant the crops?

A flood of the Nile happened each year.

What was the flood of the Nile called?

The flood was called inundation.

Why was grain important?

Grain was important because it was used to make food to trade, for trading and to make the Ancient Egyptian’s favorite drink, beer.