Minnesota Farmer

Plowing with old iron
September 5, 2011, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Farm, history, Minnesota, tillage | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Labor day afternoon, 2011, old iron enthusiasts gathered near Delft, Minnesota to show off what their old iron could do.  At one time there were 26 tractors totaling 67 bottoms, plowing the wheat field near U.S. Highway 71.

There were tractors of many brands turning over the earth in the wonderful late summer weather.

Trucks, trailers, cars and people were everywhere.  It looked like a farm sale was on.  Traffic on the highway slowed for folks to see the old iron at work.

My dad hooked the old Cockshutt onto an old 3 bottom to try it out.

There were two tractors on steel wheels plowing.

Two old Deere's


The biggest tractor there was a 3020 Deere.

3020 Deere with a 4 bottom plow.

Most of the tractors had been rebuilt and painted, but a few were unrestored.

When you lined them all up nose to tail the line was over a quarter of a mile long.  They would plow a swath almost 90 feet wide when they all made a pass.

Stopping for pictures

It was a fun day to talk old iron and remember why we don’t plow with these old tractors anymore.

Here’s a few more pictures of the day.


Old iron, gotta love it!






6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Really great to see the old stuff. Wish we could have been there. Our “old” A-C D17 would likely be too new.

Comment by EBCD1C8b

Totally enjoyed seeing these images of an event I know I would have enjoyed. Thanks for taking me there via your photos.

Comment by Minnesota Prairie Roots

They look great, don’t they?
And for crying out loud, tell us non-farmers why aren’t they used anymore. I get that I’d rather drive a 2011 car than a 1961 car for a variety of reasons; is it the same with tractors? They’ve gotten incrementally better? I’m enjoying the site and the chance to learn more about farming!

Comment by Jane

Not only have tractors gotten better, but the implements they pull have gotten better.
When the pioneers came to the plains they brought the plow and used it to turn over the sod so that they could plant food crops that people could eat. But the soil of the plains could not take being without plant cover and much soil washed or blew away,think dust bowl. Although some farmers still plow, they are becoming fewer as we learn ways to keep the pant material from previous crops in place and still plant a crop. Modern chemicals, many of them nature based, keep the weeds at bay while allowing a new crop to grow and help keep the soil in place.
Today, because of the better jobs in the city, there are fewer farmers left to till the soil, and we must farm ever increasing acres as more and more rural young people move to city jobs. The tiny tractors of the past cannot hope to keep up with the acres we must cover to feed the world. We still love to see them in operation, but they are tools of the past as much as the abacus and the slide-rule.

Comment by Michael

My name is Dustin and I was the one with the Old 1931 John Deere Model “D”. I had a great time that day talking to allot of people. For a lot of these guys it was almost the saying “I remember my father using these tractors”. I had a gentleman that just loved the sound of the old “D” and followed me around in his cart for almost the whole day. It’s great to see the younger generations come out and see what kind of implements were used during this period of time. I do have to say this event was more exciting than going to a tractor show, seeing the tractors at work. I started collecting and restoring the lettered series John Deere tractors when I was 20 years old I can thank my grandfather for that. I loved going out to the farm as a young boy and hearing the old John Deere’s run.

Comment by Dustin

Our “D” is not as old as yours but we sure enjoying seeing these pictures and reading the comments Our D is a 1949.John had looked for over 25 years for a D that was manufactured in 1949 (the year of his birth) and one that was close to his birthday on July 13th. I found him that tractor in Racine, Mn. We love hearing of and attending activities such as Michael posted.

Comment by Susan Engen

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