Farming now isn't what it used to be five decades ago. The technological advances made sure that farmers could do their job better without putting too much effort. From steam engines to tractors, farming machines have come a long way. Here are the top 5 pieces of equipment that changed the face of farming forever.
Although steam tractors managed to do the job, they required a lot of fuel and water. Moreover, you needed a trained engineer to operate the tractor. But thanks to John Froehlich from John Deere, the first combustion engine came into the limelight in 1892. He was the inventor of gasoline tractors but it was Charles Parr and Charles Hart that commercialized this machine. Initially, these tractors were heavy and too big but by 1920, the manufacturers made better models that became hugely popular in the American farms.
Manually separating kernels from the straw was a slow and labor-intensive job. Farmers had to haul the grain to a barn, spread it on a threshing floor, and then beat them with their hands or trampled them by animals. That helped to knock the kernels from the straw. The remaining mixture had to be tossed in the air so that the heavier grain settled down on the threshing floor.
Andrew Meikle, in 1786, came up with the first threshing machine. This machine had a toothed cylinder and concaves. Later, in 1830, John and Hiram Pitts invented the American separator. This came with a horse tread power that not only helped to thresh the drum but also separate the grain simultaneously.
American farmers in the 18th century had to rely purely on their strong arms and backs to haul crops from one factory to another. This was one of the most laborious jobs ever. The new farm machines developed towards the end of the 18th century required more power. As a result, the factory owners started using horses, mules, and oxen.
But it was in 1870 that saw the introduction of the self-propelled steam traction engine. It became the go-to machine for threshing rigs throughout the world. These engines could also pull multiple gang plows in large fields of a wheat belt.
From carrying machines to crops, humans had to do everything earlier. There was no machine that would help them ease their job. Sometimes farmers got hold of two-wheeled carts to carry the critters and crops, but they were so heavy that the carts often broke down. Later, the four-wheeled wagons did come to the rescue of farmers. But it was International Harvester that came up with the concept of Auto Wagon in 1907.
This allowed farmers to carry some of the heaviest machines and crops from one place to another without putting too much pressure on themselves. After that, almost every farm had an auto truck to help transport the produce.
Initially, the trucks had steel-lugged wheels. They vibrated a lot and had shook bolts here and there. Moreover, they had a limited speed. Farmers had to push the trucks if the wheels dug into soft grounds. This made transportation of crops quite difficult.
But Harvey Firestone wanted to bring a change to this system. He started experimenting with rubber tires and soon succeeded in coming up with a range of low-pressure tires for trucks and wagons. The advent of pneumatic tires also had an impact on the economy and performance of the trucks. They consumed less fuel and made the ride comfortable for the drivers.
It's unimaginable to think about life without technology in the 21st century. These inventions have made it possible for farmers to speed up their work and improve yield at the same time. It's fascinating to think of what's in store for the future of farming.