Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mechanization


It's another beautiful day in southwest Ohio. I hope Woody was proud of his team yesterday but they did make a lot of mistakes. He would have a lot of coaching to do this week!

Joel Gruver shared his slides for one of his classes at Western Illinois University on Crop Talk. It is about the History of Agricultural Mechanization. That has always been a fascinating subject to me. I was privileged to complete 19 quarter hours of Agricultural Engineering at Ohio State while Woody was busy coaching the football team.

What do you think are the most important agricultural mechanizations? Probably one sticks out in your mind but many made life more enjoyable. It sure stirred up the need for mechanics!

My family and most farmers I knew were crop and livestock men, many of them were really animal husbands who had to grow crops to feed their stock. I think dad and grandpa were that way but both had a great interest in agronomy because good feed is necessary for good livestock.

These farmers also needed lots of labor on their farms so family became so important they really had to be good husbands! My dad's family is the last generation to have a big family in order to have enough help on the farm. As machines were adapted to the farm, many farm families dwindled in size, too. Not all, but my family did.

The tractor was the most important tool when I was a kid. I was tractor crazy! The tractor wasn't worth much though without a tool to pull so all kinds of tools were invented to pull behind the tractor, steam to combustion engined.

We had a tractor, a plow, a disk, a harrow, a drill, and a corn planter. The corn was husked by hand until the corn picker came to our farm, then the wagons changed shape from flatbeds with sides to gravity beds the grain would roll out of. One neighbor bought a pull type combine and he cut our wheat.

The one tool that seemed to have the most effect for change on our farm was the notill planter. This was 1976. Soon, all those other tools sat rusting in the barnyard. I remember when moldboard plows brought less than scrap iron price at farm auctions.

The drill never fell out of favor on our farm though and the notill drill probably has saved more soil than the sowing of fescue in the south. Fescue is credited for saving millions of tons of soil from not eroding into watersheds.

Take a look at Joel's presentation and leave your comments, please. I enjoyed it and I think you will also. I have several books on the subject in my personal library.

I am looking to taking a friend to the 50th annual Farm Science Review near London, Ohio this week. There we will see the latest in farm inventions and many of them in actual use in the demonstration areas.

It's sure to be a good week!

Ed

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