Mules

By Ralph Chain

Times have changed, not only in harvesting, but our farming practices have changed so much in my lifetime. I can barely remember when my granddad hooked a team of mules up to a one row lister and listed the wheat ground. Then used a ridge buster to flatten the ridges. Then it went from a one bottom lister pulled by a team of mules to a two bottom lister pulled by four head of mules. The ridges were harrowed by a harrow to level it up. The harrow had no seat on it.

The fellow that drove the four head of mules walked behind the harrow. They tried riding a saddle horse behind the harrow, but sometimes the saddle horse would get his feet in the harrow, so that didn’t work very well. We didn’t farm thousands of acres back then, only a few hundred acres.

Then came the Rumley tractor that pulled a five bottom plow. Then came the D John Deere tractor that pulled a four bottom plow.

From there we’ve gone to air conditioned tractors with auto-steer that steers the tractor. And we can plant 300 acres a day with the John Deere Air Seeder. We used to pull an 8 to 12 bottom plow, but that has changed also. From mow-board plows to sprayers that spray chemical. Soon after harvest we spray our wheat fields with chemical that kills the vegetation. Then we use minimum tillage tools that leave enough residue to protect the soil from erosion. I can remember using a mow-board plow, and it made the ground bare causing the soil to blow and wash away.

Read more in the October issue of OKFR!