Farming Methods & Farming Machinery

| March/April 1986

RR 1, Athens, Illinois 62613

This article represents the personal reminiscences of the Rev. Norbert Lucht, who grew up on a Wisconsin farm in the 1920's. He became a Lutheran minister, but retired due to ill health in 1971. He is an avid collector of steam engine photographs, catalogs, etc. and attends steam shows, having met Pastor Elmer Ritzman (founder and first editor of IMA) in 1952 at the Central States Thresherman's Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois.

Crop Rotation Since I grew up on a dairy farm in a very hilly section of Wisconsin the farmers of necessity practiced crop rotation. In this system you sowed oats on a certain field one year and you seeded it down with clover or alfalfa. The second year it would be in hay and you usually got 2 crops off it. If it was alfalfa you could get 3 crops. Some of the best hay we ever raised was in 1941 and 1943. I recall that in June of 1941 when we went to cut alfalfa by Carl Held's garden it was at least 3 feet tall.

For the 3rd year you would plow under the clover or alfalfa and plant corn on it. If you knew in advance that you were going to plant corn on a particular field you would also haul manure on it.

The soil in that part of Wisconsin is timber soil which is not too fertile. With the introduction of the Agricultural Adjustment Act during the Roosevelt administration the farmers were able to get lime and in the earlier years we spread this by hand. In the spring of 1948 my dad bought a new McCormick trailer type lime spreader. With this spreader my dad drove the horses and I shoveled the lime or phosphate into the spreader. This worked fine.

Plowing In the early years on my father's farm in Wisconsin most farmers used walking plows. My father owned 3 regular walking plows an Oliver, a John Deere bought in 1927, and a Madison bought in 1944. Besides these he also had a Moline sod breaker plow. This plow had an extra long mold board and did a wonderful job in sod. Incidentally, this plow had a wooden beam. In the fall of 1944 my dad and I plowed with 2 teams.