Good earnings on smuggling
Farmers north of the river Kongeå did not necessarily have to cultivate their land. They just had to make sure they had fields with grass for the many cattle that would be smuggled across the border.
Farmers north of the river Kongeå did not actually have to farm the land. It was sufficient just to have some meadows with grass, which they could rent out. For there was always plenty of cattle that had to be smuggled south and the animals needed something to eat before they went further with their journey.
This meant that farmers could make a living from renting their meadows. This soil became the most expensive in the kingdom, and the farmers could earm a good annual salary with very little effort at all.
The road-farmers were reportedly the most lazy farmers along the river Kongeå. They would rather enjoy themselves at Skallevad Smugkro ( illicit drink shop) than spend time farming the fields.
Cattle due to be smuggled south, were taken down to the meadows in the morning, while the farmer's own cattle were back at the farm. Under cover of darkness, the cattle were smuggled across the Kongeå river and the farmer's own cows were taken back to the meadows.
The customs officers could not recognize the one red cow from the other and did not notice there was any smuggling going on.
The squire seized the land
At one point, a squire seized all the farmland between Skodborghus and Ellestrup, a total of about 400 acres of land. The farmers brought a case against the squire, and the king demanded an explanation from him.
The squire explained that it was good and productive land, which was used only by the farmers for grazing. The soil could be used far more productively and provide a good return, which would also mean more taxes for the king.
This was an argument that the king could understand. The farmers lost their case, and the squire was allowed to keep the land.
Source: Erik Larsen, Skodborghus