Each spring we cultivate alfalfa fields. This is typically done with some sort of danish harrow (spring tooth), drag harrows, and a heavy liquid-filled roller. This is due to our long winters and the damage that is done to the alfalfa fields, as well as the large amounts of rocks that we have in our fields.
On a typical setup, the cultivator levels out the mice mounds and breaks up last years stubble. Then, the roller flattens it out and pushes down rocks, as to make the field less bumpy and to have less rocks for the swather (windrower, mower, or whatever your area calls them) to have less rocks to damage the cutting bar. However, this alfalfa field was only planted last year. Due to the plants being young and the roots not deep, we don’t use a digger on the fields for the first full year of the crop growth.
That being said, needing to only pull the roller made for a great excuse to get out and use one of the old tractors. Where the F-30 hasn’t had a lot of tasks on the farm as of yet, we thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to put it to work and have a few hours of enjoyable (though bumpy) seat time. It also made for a good opportunity to take some photos and videos. The video also contains a John Deere 2010 Utility, which we eventually finished out the field with.
It’s now December 14th, 2021, and there is still no snow on the ground (as of when I went and fed). I had to do that insert as when I started to write this it finally started to come down. But anyway, this year has been pretty unusual for it being nearly mid-December. The other odd thing is that it was quite muddy. Usually by this time it’s been so cold for so long you couldn’t imagine seeing mud on the ground.
Anyway, I really just wanted an excuse to do a quick post and post a few photos from today. I’m **trying** to update the blog more frequently.
Here are some photos of the John Deere 630 with the 3×4 large square bale, as well as my German Shepherd Tristan, and a random portrait iPhone portrait mode of an old Hereford.
Now that the cattle have eaten most of their fall pasture, it’s time to start feeding them again. Feeding the cattle at this time of year is nothing unusual, but having no snow on the ground and being able to wear a baseball cap is!
In this video I’m using a John Deere 630 with a custom built bale feeder to feed my father’s Hereford and Angus beef cattle.
Also, my less than two year old German Shepherd was absolutely loving it. He was pretty small still when we were feeding last year, so I didn’t take him out too often and he mostly tried to hide. This year he knew he was in charge, and he was happy to show that off to those cows!
I had to move the ’39 A out of where I had it currently being stored (it’s a long story), and since it’s not running great and is a hand start I most likely won’t be getting it out this winter, so I put it behind everything else in the side of the barn. I’ve had the carb rebuilt, and it still isn’t running too well. Anyway, since I had it out and had some of the other tractors started and moved out as well, I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a short video.
We’re fortunate that it’s been this warm with the weather as good as it has been. Typically by this time of year we’re already accumulating some snowfall and the temperatures are rarely above the mid-20s.
Hopefully next year I’ll be able to get it running better. But the list of machines I have to work on is getting pretty large…
If you saw my pervious video on chisel plowing with the John Deere 4640, then you saw how we plow the fields each fall. This is followed up by disking the fields, which we typically do in the springtime. After we disk, we then drill (plant) the field. When we plant, I use a spring tooth (danish harrow) with a roller to break up and smoothen the field out before planting. We have a lot of rocks in the valley, so the roller is a necessity to push down the big rocks.
However, this year I decided to try disking in the fall instead of the springtime. Springtime in Star Valley have few open windows of good, dry planting, followed by several days of rain. If you can get your crop planted early enough to beat the rains, then your crop usually does better, especially given that not everything we do is under irrigation. So, I thought this may be a good thing to get done in the fall while we have time, then skip in the springtime to allow for more time to get the seed planted before the arrival of the rains.
I guess I’ll find out next fall if it was a success or not. 🙂
The tractor is a John Deere 5020 with a John Deere BW disk. Yes, I know the disk is old and small, but it’s all that I have at the moment. Upgrading takes time and money. 😉
Over the weekend I acquired a 1950 John Deere MT single-front. I already had two parts MT machines, so I thought this would be a fun one to add to the collection. In this video we load it up with the Ford F-350, haul it home, and run it for the first time.
The MT was the row-crop version of the John Deere M. The M is unique as it was a two-cylinder vertical engine with a foot clutch. The M also replaced both the models H and LA. The H was the smallest of the horizontal two-cylinder machines.
As I mentioned earlier, the MT was the row-crop version of the M. The M was considered a “standard”, meaning non-adjustable wheel tread and a lower stance. One of the things that interests me about the M is that we used to have a model M on our farm. The photo above is the model M that was once on our family farm. They were popular utility machines, as they were small and easy to use as they had a standard clutch to operate. In the photo above, you can see it connected to a manure spreader. Back then they had an old dairy barn with the large large rounded-roof loft. The cows would be milked and also were fed in the barn. This created a good deal of manure which needed to be removed daily. The M in the photo shows it hooked up to a manure spreader. This would have been the daily task of the tractor–to drive through the barn and haul out the manure. I recall my grandfather talking about the process, mentioning how they would manually shovel the manure into the spreader each day. There’s plenty of manure to be seen on the tractor as well.
Shot in 4K HDR Dolby Vision. If you have an iPhone 12 or later (or HDR compatible Android phone), then the color and brightness should really pop.
About a year and a half ago we picked up a non-running 1936 Farmall F-30 tractor from someone over in Eastern Idaho. The F-30 is the predecessor to the popular Model M tractor. Where I already have a Model M and the successor Super M, I thought the F-30 would be a good addition to the lineup.
The F-30 is a hand-start only tractor with no battery or lights. It also originally shipped on all steel wheels, so the four speed transmission tops out at around 5 MPH. It’s not exactly the tractor to take if you want to get somewhere in a hurry… However, it was considered a big tractor for the time–almost too big, as the smaller Model F-20 was the top seller (by a long shot).
The John Deere tractor that competed with the F-30 was the Model G. The earlier G did not sell as well either, where the smaller Model A has significantly higher sales. The John Deere A was even outsold by the even smaller Model B. I guess farms at the time just weren’t ready for the larger equipment yet.
Anyway, I’ve been slowly working on the machine for the past year. I finally took the plunge and purchased new back tires, which was the last thing it really needed to be able to get it out and use it some. Where tires are so expensive I was procrastinating the purchase for a while.
In this video I use the 1951 John Deere model A to feed cattle. I feed with a custom built feeder (it was once a home-made round bale plastic bagger). As much as I hate talking on video, I tried to explain some of what was going on and a bit of the hardware.
The model A is one if my favorite of the two-cylinder machines, as it is a great machine that feels “two-cylinder” as it gets. Okay, personal opinion there, but it’s mine to give. 🙂
Mowing hay (a mixture of alfalfa and grass) with a John Deere Model A and Number 5 sickle mower. We have a nice rotary swather, but thought it’d be fun to spend some time and shoot some video of the A and No. 5.
I was a little later getting to the feeding tonight, but it gave me a good opportunity to use my newly installed LED lights. They are a lot brighter than the originals, yet still fit in the same housings (and look “original”). Also, the snow is getting deeper. It’s been pretty cold lately, so the tractor still goes through it okay. It was around 10 degrees F when I was feeding.