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Q: how much did tractors increase productivity? ( Answered ,   1 Comment )
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 Subject: how much did tractors increase productivity? Category: Miscellaneous Asked by: bugbear-ga List Price: \$35.00 Posted: 25 Jan 2004 10:42 PST Expires: 24 Feb 2004 10:42 PST Question ID: 300069
 ```When tractors were first introduced, how much faster could you plow with one than with horses?```
 ```Hello again bugbear, 1) "When tractors were first introduced, how much faster could you plow with one than with horses?" Well, it all depended on so many variables it is difficult to come up with a neat and tidy answer. For example, is the land sandy or clay? Wet or dry? Hilly or flat? Rocky or clear? How many horses on the team? However, using a basic formula to determine "acres covered per 10-hour day", we inserted some of the figures we found in the links below, which hopefully will be suitable for your purposes. We've focused on the steam tractor because it preceded the internal combustion engine on the farm, but you can use this formula for any type of equipment that you'd like. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BASIC FORMULA: Width in feet x m.p.h. = acres per 10 hour day Example: 1' cut x 2 m.p.h. = 2 acres per 10 hour day Horses: 7" x 2.5 m.p.h. = 1.46 acres per 10 hour day Early Steam Tractors: 9" x 3 m.p.h. = 2.25 acres per 10 hour day >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BOOK: "Probably the simplest and easiest method of determining the duty of a tractor or horse-drawn implement in acres covered per 10-hour day is to multiply the effective width of cut in feet by the rate of travel in mile per hour. Width cut in feet x miles per hour = acres per day. Example: 1 ft. cut x 2 mph = 2 acres per day. The average speed of mules is 2 mph. The average speed for tractors: plowing 3 mph; harrowing, 4mph; cultivating 2-4 mph; mowing, 3-4 mph and combining, 3-4 mph." THE ALMANAC OF RURAL LIVING by Harvey C. Neese NY: Wm Morrow, 1979 p471: Table: Distance Traveled in Plowing 1 Acre >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "It took a farmer an hour and a half to till an acre of ground with five horses and a gang plow. With a 27-horsepower tractor and a moldboard plow, it took only a half-hour to plow an acre and only 15 minutes with a 35-horsepower tractor and a moldboard plow. Today, using a 154-horsepower tractor and a chisel plow, a farmer can till an acre in five minutes." http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe20s/machines_08.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> LINKS: Horses: "The double furrow ploughs turn over 2 1/2 acres per day; and the single furrow 1 1/8 acre per day; the former worked by three to four horses, and the latter by two horses." http://life.csu.edu.au/~dspennem/Albury/Albury_1872/Alb_Cor_1872.html >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "A furlong - furrow-long - used to be how far a pair of horses could pull a plough before they got tired and stopped - further in sandy soil than in heavy clay." http://www.sare.org/htdocs/hypermail/html-home/41-html/0184.html >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "In the spring of 1871 the leading implement firm of Junction City featured an assortment of plows listed as breaking, stirring, corn, subsoil, double Michigan, road, grubbing and gang plows. In 1872 a gang plow equipped with a three-horse equalizing evener was displayed at Wakefield. The observer reported that one man with this plow could do as much as two men, teams and plows....In 1879 the grange store sponsored a competition between a Hapgood sulky 16-inch plow and a 14-inch walking plow, the draft being measured with a dynamometer, with the results certified in favor of the sulky, of course." http://www.ku.edu/carrie/texts/carrie_books/malin/05.html >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "At that time, the steam engine was just being introduced and Mr. Watt decided to perform an experiment. So in 1783, his experiment was performed by hitching a draft horse to a rope with pulleys, which in turn was fastened to a 100 lb. weight, suspended in a well. The draft horse was driven forward at a walk. The normal walking speed of a draft horse is 2.5 miles per hour or 220 feet per minute. Watt observed that the horse while walking forward at 220 feet per minute could easily raise the 100-pound weight. Watt then reasoned that one horsepower was equal to 220 feet per minute times 100 lbs. or 22,000 foot lbs. of work per minute. Watt changed his formula by adding another 11,000 foot lbs., or 50% of the original 22,000 foot lbs, which made it 33,000 foot lbs This formula is still used today to calculate horse power, and it simply means that one horsepower is equal to the amount of power used to raise 33,000 lbs. a distance of one foot in one minute. And so Professor Collins wrote, ?Plowing requires more power than any other one farming operation, the draft of a 14 inch plow plowing 6 inches deep in sudan grass requires 500 lbs. of tractive force, which from the testing results requires three horses to be used for the days work.? http://www.drafthorsejournal.com/vetcolumns/autumn03/autumn03.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Early drills were small enough to be pulled by a single horse, and many of these remained in use into the 1930s." http://timelinks.merlin.mb.ca/referenc/db0104.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Steam Tractors: "Such engines were truly huge. Some weighed more than 20 tons... The biggest models were used almost exclusively where the soil ? under grass for centuries ? was hellishly hard to break up with any plow pushed by hand or pulled by horses. The soils and climate of the Western states were suited to growing grain, but that was profitable only when the grain was produced on a large scale, and it needed enormous labor to harvest. The flat, open land was forgiving of the great machines' size and clumsiness." "But well past mid-century the source of power was still primarily horses or oxen. Teams of up to 40 horses, hitched to enormous plows and harvesters, worked the ever-expanding fields of the West. To keep a horse requires about five acres of land per horse. Horses need a lot of care. They cannot pull without harnesses, and harnesses need to be maintained. During a workday, teams had to be changed at least once for rest, and often two or three times. Inventors kept working to improve steam power on the land, especially for use with heavy harvesting machinery." "The machines sometimes clanked and rumbled, belching smoke and cinders as they moved along at two or three miles per hour." http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithsonian/issues98/sep98/object_sep98.html >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Although expensive to operate, steam ploughs were significantly more efficient than horses, and they did not need to be fed all year. Steam threshing was certainly faster than the old method, which involved a separator turned by horses on a treadmill, but the machines were not without their drawbacks. With their heavy boilers, steam engines were very heavy, and could only be used on relatively dry fields. Their weight also posed a transportation problem. In addition to the risk of becoming stuck on a soft road, many steam engines were too heavy for local bridges, often necessitating long and time consuming detours. Steam engines were also limited by water supply, and often several teams of waterman had to travel over long distances to keep the boilers full." http://timelinks.merlin.mb.ca/referenc/db0067.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Like our ancestors, we continue to strive for improvement. If we take a look at plough development over the last 50 years there has been enormous change. Horse ploughs soon became redundant for more efficient steam units with large multi furrow balance ploughs, quietly trundling up and down fields with only the sound of a whistle to indicate a change of ploughing direction." "Using converted horse ploughs, the more manoeuvrable wheeled tractor slowly took over from steam in the early 1900's and was the start of the format we are all familiar with today. When Harry Fergurson's 3-point linkage appeared in 1920, it totally revolutionised implement attachment and machine performance and has now become the universal norm." Furrow Width "Over the years, furrow widths have increased from as little as 6in. to over 20in. today. Back in the 1930's, horse and early tractor ploughs operated with furrow widths of 6 to 9in. a) because of limited power to pull them, b) horses were still being used extensively on the land. The average width of a horses foot is around 7in. therefore, when land was ploughed and subsequently sown, often by hand, onto what is termed oat seed furrows, sown seed would roll and lay in the 'V' shaped furrow. The ploughing would then be cross harrowed covering the seeds with soil. Once germinated, the seed would be in rows 7in. apart, just wide enough for the horses foot to pass while walking through the established crop." Furrow Width Adjustment "The majority of early reversible ploughs had furrow widths fixed at 12 or 14in. in size. To improve output efficiency and plough versatility, furrows had to get wider and capable of being adjusted. This was not only to suit soil conditions, but to help reduce manufacture and dealer stocking levels. In the late 70's, plough frames were being introduced with wedges, holes and parallel linkage to enable the furrow width to be easily changed. As today, output was the key factor and 16" ploughs began to appear from Europe." http://www.ploughmen.co.uk/ploughhistory.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2) how much did tractors increase productivity? "The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that it took 40-50 labor hours to produce 100 bushels of wheat on five acres with a gang plow, seeder, harrow, binder, thresher, wagons, and horses in the 1890s. By 1930, it took 15-20 labor hours to produce 100 bushels of wheat on 5 acres with a three-bottom gang plow, tractor, 10-foot tandem disk, harrow, 12-foot combine, and trucks." http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe20s/machines_01.htm >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Additional Links: Farming through the Century: Good general discussion -- talk of plowing --horses/tractors -- changes/innovations http://www.webfamilytree.com/farming_through_the_century.htm Horse Power to Tractor Power: "A pair of horses could generally pull a one-bottom plow. When the settlers arrived and started plowing the virgin prairie they were only able to work about 8 acres a year." "When WWI started to draw men from the farm a more efficient means of farming had to be introduced. Steam traction engines were the forerunners of the modern tractor. Steam engines were used to replace horse power on the farm in several ways. At first they were to big and slow to replace the draft animals in the field so they were used to power stationary machinery like threshers, cornshellers and elevators. Because the steam engine uses fire to produce steam there was always the chance of a fire. Steam traction engines became more maneuverable and versatile and were introduced to jobs that draft animals were generally used for such as plowing. This greatly increased the amount of land that could be worked by a farmer." http://www.agmuseum.com/horsetotractor.html Economic History of Tractors in the United States: http://www.eh.net/encyclopedia/white.tractors.history.us.php Russian Harvest: Tools, Machines, & Other Items Needed for Harvesting Grain: http://hometown.aol.com/remmick9/Remmick.Home.Site.5/Page46.html Comparison of horse and tractor traction using energy analysis: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: ...compares typical horse in context of 1927 Sweden to typical tractor in context of 1996 Sweden. ...average horse of 1927: served 8.4 ha, weighed 700 kg, worked 150 days hard & 50 days light, draught power: 0.7 kW ...average tractor of 1996: 65 kW (drawbar traction: 21 kW), 4000 kg, serves 38 ha http://www.elements.nb.ca/extra/horsetractor.pdf "One 60kW tractor is capable of plowing seven to eight hectares per day or one hectare per hour." ://www.google.ca/search?q=cache:b4obRYEKhggJ:www.knowledgebank.irri.org/ppfm/farmPower/WebHelp/farmPower.doc+distance+traveled+plowing+horse+tractor&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Appropriate Technology -- Agricultural Tools: Includes many books/manuals about the current use of animal traction throughout the world: http://www.villageearth.org/atnetwork/atsourcebook/chapters/agtools.htm I hope we've answered your question - if you have any questions, please post a clarification request before closing/rating my answer. Thank you, hummer Google Search Terms Used: old tractors "miles per hour" horses plough acres per day horses acres "steam tractor" "horsepower" acres "steam tractor" "horse power" acres "steam tractor" "horse power" "steam tractor" efficiency horse vs tractor distance ploughed by horse tractor ploughing horses tractors history distance traveled ploughing horse tractor distance traveled ploughing distance traveled ploughing acres "history of farming" horses "steam power" "farm mechanization" horses tractors "farming technology" ploughing "farming technology" plowing horse tractor work comparison ploughing "history of ploughing" "history of plowing" plowing horses tractors```
 bugbear-ga rated this answer: and gave an additional tip of: \$7.00 `Very thorough answer, thanks.`
 ```Thank you, bugbear, for your thank you, nice rating and tip, all are appreciated. Sincerely, hummer```