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Tractors Come to the Farms

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Time Frame: Early 1900's

Farmers welcomed the tractor to their farms. More acres could be worked with tractors than with horses. But there were advantages to horses.
The Iowa Heritage Roots in the Soil
©1979
Iowa Public Television

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Transcript

A lot of my neighbors had them and I could watch them across the fields, you know, it kind of makes you feel jealous, when they got one and you ain’t. A man could farm more land when he had a tractor. He would get another piece of land when he had a tractor, so he could get out and plow more acres. It was getting the work done. Going over more acres in a day. And you know many times, if the weather isn’t just right, a few days makes a lot of difference in how weedy your corn gets. Or a few days makes a difference in getting your oats harvested.

But old ways die hard. And many old ways seemed a lot more reliable.

The horses weren’t always breaking down and sometimes the old tractors wouldn’t start—they were boogers to start. If they were hot in the summertime they wouldn’t start. If they were too cold in the wintertime they wouldn’t start—didn’t have that trouble with horses. You didn’t have to buy the fuel it ate. You raised your own fuel, you see. You didn’t have to buy gasoline.

 


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