Whatever happened to …

… row crop tractors?

I don’t know about your neighbourhood but around here, people really go whole hog about celebration of the fall.  Of course, there’s Hallowe’en on the horizon, but it’s also time to celebrate the end of the growing season as harvesting begins.

Driving out to Belle River the other day, we noticed that people were starting to take the soy beans off.  Corn will be a little later as farmers wait for natural drying.  The real treat though comes from visiting apple orchards and getting fresh McIntosh apples.  This is actually the only time of the year I opt for them as they’re at their sourest and crunchiest.

It was on this trip that we went by a farm that had a bunch of legacy farm equipment on the front lawn to show things off.  It was there that my wife and I saw a tractor from our youth.

I couldn’t find an image that I could include here but here’s a page devoted to Oliver tractors.  (Of course, I could have driven back to that farm and taken my own …)  But, click through and you’ll get the concept.

Unlike the tractors that you see on the fields these days, the original row crop tractors were unique in design.  In particular, the two front tires are almost close enough to touch each other.  I’ve heard of row crop tractors that actually had just a single tire but I’ve never actually seen one.

The logic in design was so that if you were fertilizing or scuffling a planted field you could drive down the field without driving over the plants.  So, the front tires were between two rows and the rear tires straddled a couple others.

Why don’t you see them these days?  While the big manufacturers still have a product with the name, they are nowhere near the same in design or size for that matter.  The problem was that if you made a sharp turn or were working on the side of a steep hill, there was a danger that the tractor would tip over and potentially put the driver at risk.

I can attest to that.  Years and years ago, I drove one when I was working on a farm.  There really was a safety issue that was apparent.  I remember the advice; while there were no hills on the field, I was told to not make any sharp turns.

For a Sunday, your thoughts?

  • Have you ever driven a row crop tractor?
  • Have you ever driven any type of tractor?
  • Have you ever been to a farm show or a car show where antique farm equipment is on display?  Where?
  • What’s your favourite fall harvest food?
  • What’s your favourite fall agricultural event?
  • Have you ever got lost in a corn maze?
  • Are you a McIntosh apple lover?  If not, what’s your favourite?
  • Do you know what a wind fall is?  If so, what have you used wind falls for?

It might be an obtuse topic but please take a moment to share your thought via comment below.

And to all you city slickers, get out to a local farm and buy something from a stand to get product at its freshest and to let farmers know that you appreciate all the hard work that goes into keeping us healthy.

This post is part of a regular Sunday series of fun-to-write posts from me.  You can read them all here.  And, if you have an idea for a post, drop it off on this Padlet.

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3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Doug, I don’t know anything about row crop tractors, but then I saw your questions. Yes, I remember riding a tractor many years ago when I went to visit my uncle on a farm. Wow! How did I forget this moment until now? Imagine the kind of parking tweets I could do for a tractor. #avivaarriva just got better. 🙂 Thanks, as always, for the trip down memory lane.

    Aviva

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never pictured you as a farm girl, Aviva! It was so interesting how things happen. I wrote this post yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon we went to the beach at Colchester. On the way home, we passed a farm where there was a row crop tractor at the side of the row and it was for sale. It was a Farmall. I was thinking – I should do this. Then common sense kicked in, what would I do with it and more importantly where would I put it. Thanks for reading and dropping off a comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a farmer’s daughter, I spent lots of time driving tractors and riding in them too. Lots of antique tractors on display at the Comber Museum and other agricultural equipment, much of it collected and donated by my grandfather. We went to a great fall event today – the Harvest and Horse Festival at John R Park Homestead. They had a parade of horses with lots of different breeds as well as blacksmithing, gardening, sausage making, cider pressing and other activities.

    Liked by 1 person

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