FROM DRAFT TEAMS TO TRAC­TORS

EQUUS - - Eq Tack& Gear -

the sky­rock­et­ing de­mand.

In the early 1850s, H. L. Emery of Al­bany, New York, be­gan pro­duc­ing sta­tion­ary hay presses that com­pressed dried grass into two- by two- by four­foot bales that weighed 250 pounds. Over the next decades a num­ber of new ma­chines be­came avail­able that for the first time turned hay into a com­mod­ity that was eas­ily shipped over longer dis­tances and stored com­pactly on farms. Dif­fer­ent ma­chines cre­ated bales of vary­ing sizes and shapes, and many re­quired mul­ti­ple peo­ple to op­er­ate them.

In 1859, im­mi­grants Wen­delin and Ju­liana Grimm set­tled in Min­nesota and planted al­falfa seed they had brought with them from Ger­many. By se­lect­ing and re­plant­ing seeds only from the hardi­est plants, they de­vel­oped a strain of al­falfa that would with­stand harsh North­ern win­ters. Vir­tu­ally all the al­falfa cur­rently grown in the United States can be traced to the seed the Grimms car­ried with them to Amer­ica.

By the end of the 19th cen­tury, steam en­gines were be­gin­ning to power a va­ri­ety of farm equip­ment, and in the 1890s, Iowa in­ven­tor John Froelich in­vented the first gaso­line-pow­ered trac­tor. But the tran­si­tion from horse-drawn to gas-pow­ered farm ma­chin­ery would take decades.

“The key el­e­ment would al­ways be if the farmer could af­ford to buy the new equip­ment,” points out Hoff­beck. “It was a big change to go from

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