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Threshing days give taste of early-day farming

Staff writer

Leonardville farmer and antique tractor enthusiast Charles Dugan, who farms 1,200 acres of cropland, brought his two yellow John Deere industrial tractors to Goessel’s Country Threshing Days over the weekend.

As a farmer, he’s accustomed to using modern equipment, but still loves having the old equipment around.

“I like the old tractors, too,” Dugan said. “You never should forget the past.”

The business of raising crops has seen “huge, huge change” over the years, but much has also remained the same from the days of the late 19th- to mid-20th century farm equipment on display at Country Threshing Days, Dugan said.

“The tillage and stuff is similar to how they did it back then,” Dugan said.

A steam-powered 1914 Reeves Emerson Brantingham Canadian Special tractor gave a farmer 23 horsepower. For a farmer of that era who had one or two horses, the equipment was amazing.

The one at Country Threshing Days drove a belt for a sawmill exhibition.

The Reeves Co., incorporated in 1869, made sawmills, steam engines, industrial wooden pulleys threshing machines, industrial pulleys, and a few early automobiles. The company was sold to Emerson-Brantingham Co. in 1912, then to J. I. Case & Co. in 1928.

The model on display at Goessel pulled a plow in Texas for one year, then operated as a thresher until 1957. It was purchased by Concordia resident Wilson Carlgren in 1958 and is still operated and maintained for shows.

A typical modern tractor has up to 620 horsepower, Mitch Guetterman, manager of PrairieLand Partners, said.

“The old tractors didn’t need all the computers and they still ran,” Dugan said.

Modern technology has created a different world of raising crops, Dugan said.

A farmer can program how much fertilizer and seed he wants applied in specific areas of his fields and maximize yield, Dugan said.

“If you program something into the tractor and you send it in, it can tell you what’s going wrong,” Dugan said.

“It’s become very technical and the farmers are becoming more efficient,” Guetterman said.

Dugan brought two yellow John Deere industrial tractors to display last weekend.

“You don’t see them very often but you can still get yellow tractors from the factory,” Guetterman said. “They are a special order item.”

At its most basic, farming is still planting, watering, harvesting, and marketing crops, despite the many technological changes, Dugan said.

Also on display were Ford Model TT pickups, antique cars, draft horses, field operations, and blacksmithing demonstrations.

Last modified Aug. 9, 2017

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