Reminiscing on changes in agriculture over the years


One of the hardest jobs on the farm was shocking the oats (or other grain) to dry it a bit prior threshing.  You can still wee shocks on some Amish farms

There was a time, not too many years ago, when the period between Thanksgiving and March was sort of the ‘getting ready time” on family farms in Wisconsin. There were few farm meetings at the time (the Corn -Soy Expo, Dairy Strong and PDPW Conference had yet to appear) and It was the time for fixing and planning for the coming spring cropping season.

The farm machinery was resting in the shed waiting for the spring fix-up and the horses were enjoying doing nothing much except hauling the manure to the field (if they could get there) and the kids were back in school after the long Christmas school vacation. It was sort of a resting time on the farm but no one really rested. The cows had to be fed and milked, the barns cleaned every morning, the hogs cared for and the chickens fed and watered and the eggs gathered daily.

A Jamesway manure carrier that ran on a track got manure from the barn gutters out to the manure spreader.

Pardon me if that scenario sounds a bit strange — what Wisconsin farm today raises cows, pigs and chickens? None, but when I was a farm boy growing up on the 80-acre Oncken farm in the township of Rutland in Dane County, most everyone did. It was also a time when dairy barns were cleaned daily with a fork, shovel and scraper and manure was stored on a pile in the barnyard, silage was thrown down the silo chute with a wide fork and hay was stored loose (or in small bales) in the haymow.

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