Let's rev up that tractor and see how well you know your farm equipment. From manually operated equipment to heavy machinery, let's see if you know your equipment well enough to run a farm.
When people think farm, one of the first machines they think of is a tractor. A tractor is generally a high-torque, slow-speed vehicle used to pull large pieces of equipment around the farm both for transport and for field operations.
A plow is a tool, usually dragged behind a tractor, used to break up the soil into a furrow for planting. In fact, the tools used by colonists in early America were frequently not as good as those used by the Roman Empire 1000 years before for the same task. It wasn't until 1797 that a patent was submitted for what would eventually become the modern plow - something President Thomas Jefferson spent a substantial amount of time trying to improve.
Manure is considered one of the best fertilizers used to improve plant production. It is made primarily from animal dung and may also be mixed with a variety of soils and mulched vegetation. Manure spreaders apply an even coat of manure across fields.
A manual roto-tiller may be mechanical, electrical or gas-powered. Manual tillers are used for smaller gardens. The tiller helps to break up the soil into symmetrical furrows and can be used for aeration of the soil.
Hydroponics is an alternative farming system where a farmer grows plants in a water nutrient solution as opposed growing the plants in the soil. While there are several positives to hydroponics, the main benefit is the ability to grow plants without taking up valuable field real estate which becomes more valuable as traditional farms are slowly disappearing.
A grain cart works alongside other equipment and is pulled by a tractor to hold harvested grain. The average size of a grain cart will hold over 15 tons of grain. However, they can be small enough to hold a few hundred pounds.
A pickup truck is a popular choice for many farmers' vehicles. The pickup is used both as a family vehicle as well as a hauling vehicle - both on the farm and long distances. The first pickup - or similar version - is attributed to the Gallon Allsteel Body Company in 1913.
A pitchfork is a popular farm tool used to pitch loose materials from hay to compost. The pitchfork has been around for centuries and has been a symbol of agriculture for just as long on everything from politics to flags and art. One of the most prominent displays of a pitchfork is the painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.
A barn is one of the most symbolic buildings used to identify a farm. A barn is a large building used to store grain, hay or straw as well as provide shelter for livestock. Many barns are equipped with livestock milking stalls, farm-specific workspaces and tool and equipment shops.
Many farms have a backhoe which is used to dig by drawing soil toward itself. While backhoes are primarily used as a digging tool. they are also a valuable way to tow or pull heavy equipment which is stuck in snow or mud.
Shovels come in a variety of head sizes and shapes. Shovels are one of the oldest and most versatile tools in agriculture. From shoveling and pitching seeds, grains, grasses, and gravel to manually preparing small gardens and fields for planting, most farms will have numerous shovels available for different types of work.
An ATV - all-terrain vehicle - is considered by many as a leisure vehicle. However, on farms, an ATV is a means of transportation across fields and uneven grounds. An ATV is versatile with regard to how it is used, from transport to hauling and often in herding animals across large fields.
There are both manual and gas-powered post hole diggers. Post hole diggers are used by farmers to prepare holes in preparation for building a fence. The manual diggers use the strength of a farm hand to lift and with manpower and gravity split and break up the ground to dig a symmetrical hole. Gas-powered diggers will have a screw at one end and expel soil from the ground as the post hole digger digs down creating a round hole for posts.
A flat-bed wagon can be hauled behind a tractor, truck and even an ATV. These wagons are a popular way to transport large pieces of equipment and machinery.
A milking machine is usually used by dairy farmers to milk cattle, although they can also be used with sheep and goats. You can think of a milking machine as a giant breast pump that has a vacuum pump, teat cups and a pulsating system to extract and pump milk into large vats which will be processed elsewhere.
A silo is as popular to see on farms as a barn. Silos are used to store grain. While most people think of a tall narrow bin when they think of a silo, many silos are actually pits dug into the ground. One benefit of a standing silo is assistance in drying out the grain.
Leather has been commonly used throughout history to protect the body and hands from injury. In ancient days, warriors would often use leather for its flexibility and durability in combat. Over the millennia, farmers have adopted these same qualities to help around the farm and protect farmers from scratches to severe cuts and scrapes.
A front-end loader can be built permanently onto a motorized piece of equipment or built as a removable attachment. A front-end loader is a machine with a scoop or bucket and on an articulated arm that can be used for digging or filling in holes.
In early days a pickax was used when farms were more manual. For example, breaking up large boulders in a field for easier hauling, or to dig out of the ground. However, you will still find pickaxes on most farms. They are often used in much the same way and can also be used as a lever in splitting or wedging.
The combine harvester, often simply called a combine, is a large piece of farm equipment that cuts, threshes and cleans a crop in one operation. The combine is often followed by a grain cart which will store the processed grains.
No agricultural farm will survive without the use of seeds. Farm seeds are purchased in bulk and are sewn into the ground for planting. The domestication of agriculture began tens of thousands of years ago and can be found in all ancient permanently settled cultures.
Where a tiller is used to break up the ground, a cultivator is used to blend the soil into the finer ground which can then be used to plant seeds and other plants. The finer breaking up of soil helps to provide plants with soil that is well aerated and can easily transport and store water around the plant.
Most farms, especially larger ones tend to have a variety of thick chains. Chains are versatile in use, but often can be wrapped around the bucket, scoop or hitch of large machinery to help haul and tow material such as fallen trees and other equipment.
Fences are critical on farms for keeping livestock in an area; preventing them from wandering far from the farm. The fence can also be used to segregate animals and keep animals - wild and domesticated - from going into fields and eating plants or disturbing ground.
Farming can be a messy job. Considering that most of the country's farming is done in areas that receive significant amounts of rain it is important for farmers to have rubber boots which help farmers get around in saturated ground without becoming caked in mud. Rubber boots range from just below the calf muscle to the knees and hip.
A cultipacker is usually hauled behind a tractor over a large field in preparation for planting. The cultipacker can crush packs of soil, remove air pockets and press down smaller stones. This helps create a smooth surface for farms which broadcast seeds across a field for shallow planting.
Farming comes with many dangers. From stepping on nails and dropping heavy equipment to accidentally kicking hard objects, the feet are in a constant line of fire. Steel-toed boots provide additional protection to a farmer's feet with an additional piece of hardened steel usually built into the leather or rubber toes of boots.
Chainsaws are a popular piece of farming equipment. They are used to cut down and dissect trees, often in the removal of dead trees which pose a threat to people, animals and equipment. They are also commonly used to cut out large and stubborn roots. While the origin of chainsaws is often debated, it appears that there was a fashion of chainsaw in the late 1700s used more by doctors cutting bone in patients than in agriculture.
A fence charger creates a pulsating and light charge of electricity that follows a wire along a fence. The fence charge is an additional security for farmers and provides a reminder to animals to not try to escape from a fence. The charge is enough to send a quick shock through an animal but not enough to permanently harm an animal.
A front-end plow is used to knock down small piles of loose soil and even out the ground. In northern states, that plow is used for snow removal and displacement.
Regardless of the size of a farm, it is not financially possible to provide electricity to all areas. Whether used as a backup or for prolonged use, a portable generator helps provide farmers electricity where it is needed and when needed in an area that is without. While they have changed significantly, the first electromagnetic generator was created by Michael Faraday in the early 1830s - later leading to the physics principle: Faraday's Law.
Rakes are one of the most popular tools used in agriculture and everyday use at homes. Rakes are often used as a clean-up tool. Whether clearing leaf cover, remnants of hay in a barn, or other loose debris. Rakes come in several shapes and styles to be used with lighter loose material to dense gravel.
While a harrow may look like a simple tool, it is multi-purposed and essential on larger farms. A harrow is a heavy piece of metal with teeth that are dragged over an already plowed field. The harrow helps to break up larger blocks of soil, remove weeds and cover seeds with a thin layer of soil.
Let's face it, a farmer often seconds as their own engineer and mechanic. With equipment - old and new - breaking down from extended use or mishaps, it is important that a farmer has a portable toolbox which they can quickly grab and go to repair small mechanical failures across the farm.
Many farms have dedicated tool sheds; some have many. A tool shed is often built at the location of use such as a far-off field, or as a single tool location on the farm.
A hay baler is a piece of farm equipment that can cut and compress crops into bales that are easy to transport. Balers can be permanently located, although most farms use portable balers attached to equipment or as their own moving machinery. Balers are commonly used with hay, cotton and straw.
Domestication first occurred tens of thousands of years ago and likely for the mutual benefit of wolves and people who worked together to hunt. It wasn't until about 10,000 BC that sheep, cattle and pigs were domesticated as a source of food and milk. While there are hundreds of domesticated animals used in farming, these big three - sheep, cattle, and pigs, along with chickens - are largely the most popular as they provide meat, clothing, milk and other dairy products.
A sprayer is a piece of equipment used to spray a liquid over a large area. On a farm, a sprayer is often used to apply herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. Sprayers can be attached to large trucks with barrels of product, or handheld - the liquid following the farmer on a trailer or worn in a backpack-style pack.
The scythe was the first mower. The tool has a curved sharpened metal blade on one end of a long pole. The tool is dragged on the ground as a farmer glides it by twisting their body. While primarily replaced by modern mowers, scythes are still found on many farms and are used in parts of Europe and throughout rural areas of Asia.
Rope is commonly used on farms. The best qualities are lightweight, yet heavy duty, strong, easy to splice and has the ability to last for a long time as a knot. Most farmers are adept in a variety of knots; the most common being the farmer's knot, the miller's loop, halter hitch and bowline.
Depending on the type of farm and location, different irrigation systems can be used. Flood irrigation uses furrows to divert water above the plants to be released uniformly when needed. Sprinkler irrigation, while expensive, has the ability to cover large groups of plants with an even spray of water as well as other liquids. Drip and micro-irrigation focus on individual plants and areas to supply a limited amount of water to plants or their roots.
Jacks come in a huge variety of sizes and are often used to lift equipment from a trailer to a vehicle and even larger equipment. Jacks are often used to repair or replace damaged parts, however, they can also be used to help free equipment which has become stuck.
A transplanter is used to transplant seedlings to the field. The process is more efficient than manually transplanting and primarily considered an efficient use of time and energy.
Farmers have been domesticating and working alongside bees since the domestication of agriculture. The symbiotic relationship has led many farmers to work with beekeepers or become beekeepers themselves. The use of bees on a farm can produce a higher yield and better quality of plants and provide honey as an additional income.
Seed drills are used to individually sow seeds into the ground and cover them at a specific depth. This use of consistent planting helps to improve the yield more than other planting techniques.