Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A History of American Agriculture 1776-1990



16th to 18th century

 Oxen and horses for power, crude wooden plows, all sowing by hand, cultivating by hoe, hay and grain cutting with sickle, and threshing with flail

1776-99
1790's - Cradle and scythe introduced
1793 - Invention of cotton gin
1794 - Thomas Jefferson's moldboard of least resistance tested
1797 - Charles Newbold patented first cast-iron plow


1800-1810-1820

1819 - Jethro Wood patented iron plow with interchangeable parts
1819-25 - U.S. food canning industry established


1830s

1830 - About 250-300 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with walking plow, brush harrow, hand broadcast of seed, sickle, and flail
1834 - McCormick reaper patented
1834 - John Lane began to manufacture plows faced with steel saw blades
1837 - John Deere and Leonard Andrus began manufacturing steel plows
1837 - Practical threshing machine patented

1840s

1840's - The growing use of factory-made agricultural machinery increased farmers' need for cash and encouraged commercial farming
1841 - Practical grain drill patented
1842 - First grain elevator, Buffalo, NY
1844 - Practical mowing machine patented
1847 - Irrigation begun in Utah
1849 - Mixed chemical fertilizers sold commercially

1850s

1850 - About 75-90 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn (2-1/2 acres) with walking plow, harrow, and hand planting
1850-70 - Expanded market demand for agricultural products brought adoption of improved technology and resulting increases in farm production
1854 - Self-governing windmill perfected
1856 - 2-horse straddle-row cultivator patented

 1860s

1862-75 - Change from hand power to horses characterized the first American agricultural revolution
1865-75 - Gang plows and sulky plows came into use
1868 - Steam tractors were tried out
1869 - Spring-tooth harrow or seedbed preparation appeared









1870s

1870's - Silos came into use
1870's - Deep-well drilling first widely used
1874 - Glidden barbed wire patented
1874 - Availability of barbed wire allowed fencing of rangeland, ending era of unrestricted, open-range grazing

1880s

1880 - William Deering put 3,000 twine binders on the market
1884-90 - Horse-drawn combine used in Pacific coast wheat areas

1890s

1890-95 - Cream separators came into wide use
1890-99 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 1,845,900 tons
1890's - Agriculture became increasingly mechanized and commercialized
1890 - 35-40 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2-1/2 acres) of corn with 2-bottom gang plow, disk and peg-tooth harrow, and 2-row planter
1890 - 40-50 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with gang plow, seeder, harrow, binder, thresher, wagons, and horses
1890 - Most basic potentialities of agricultural machinery that was dependent on horsepower had been discovered

1900s

1900-1909 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 3,738,300
1900-1910 - George Washington Carver, director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute, pioneered in finding new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, thus helping to diversify southern agriculture.

1910s

1910-15 - Big open-geared gas tractors came into use in areas of extensive farming
1910-19 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,116,700 tons
1915-20 - Enclosed gears developed for tractor
1918 - Small prairie-type combine with auxiliary engine introduced


1920s

1920-29 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,845,800 tons
1920-40 - Gradual increase in farm production resulted from expanded use of mechanized power
1926 - Cotton-stripper developed for High Plains
1926 - Successful light tractor developed

1930s

1930-39 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,599,913 tons
1930's - All-purpose, rubber-tired tractor with complementary machinery came into wide use
1930 - One farmer supplied 9.8 persons in the United States and abroad
1930 - 15-20 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2-1/2 acres) of corn with 2-bottom gang plow, 7-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, and 2-row planters, cultivators, and pickers
1930 - 15-20 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with 3-bottom gang plow, tractor, 10-foot tandem disk, harrow, 12-foot combine, and trucks

1940s

1940-49 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 13,590,466 tons
1940 - One farmer supplied 10.7 persons in the United States and abroad
1941-45 - Frozen foods popularized
1942 - Spindle cotton picker produced commercially
1945-70 - Change from horses to tractors and the adoption of a group of technological practices characterized the second American agriculture agricultural revolution
1945 - 10-14 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2 acres) of corn with tractor, 3-bottom plow, 10-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, 4-row planters and cultivators, and 2-row picker
1945 - 42 labor-hours required to produce 100 pounds (2/5 acre) of lint cotton with 2 mules, 1-row plow, 1-row cultivator, hand how, and hand pick

1950s
1950-59 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 22,340,666 tons
1950 - One farmer supplied 15.5 persons in the United States and abroad
1954 - Number of tractors on farms exceeded the number of horses and mules for first times
1955 - 6-12 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (4 acres) of wheat with tractor, 10-foot plow, 12-foot role weeder, harrow, 14-foot drill and self-propelled combine, and trucks
Late 1950's - 1960's - Anhydrous ammonia increasingly used as cheap source of nitrogen, spurring higher yields

1960s

1960-69 - Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 32,373,713 tons
1960 - One farmer supplied 25.8 persons in the United States and abroad
1965 - 5 labor-hours required to produce 100 pounds (1/5 acre) of lint cotton with tractor, 2-row stalk cutter, 14-foot disk, 4-row bedder, planter, and cultivator, and 2-row harvester
1965 - 5 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (3 1/3 acres) of wheat with tractor, 12-foot plow, 14-foot drill, 14-foot self-propelled combine, and trucks
1965 - 99% of sugar beets harvested mechanically
1965 - Federal loans and grants for water/sewer systems began
1968 - 96% of cotton harvested mechanically

1970s

1970's - No-tillage agriculture popularized
1970 - One farmer supplied 75.8 persons in the United States and abroad
1975 - 2-3 labor-hours required to produce 100 pounds (1/5 acre) of lint cotton with tractor, 2-row stalk cutter, 20-foot disk, 4 -row bedder and planter, 4-row cultivator with herbicide applicator, and 2-row harvester
1975 - 3-3/4 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (3 acres) of wheat with tractor, 30-foot sweep disk, 27-foot drill, 22-foot self-propelled combine, and trucks
1975 - 3-1/3 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (1-1/8 acres) of corn with tractor, 5-bottom plow, 20-foot tandem disk, planter, 20-foot herbicide applicator, 12-foot self-propelled combine, and trucks

1980-90s

1980's - More farmers used no-till or low-till methods to curb erosion
1987 - 1-1/2 to 2 labor-hours required to produce 100 pounds (1/5 acre) of lint cotton with tractor, 4-row stalk cutter, 20-foot disk, 6-row bedder and planter, 6-row cultivator with herbicide applicator, and 4-row harvester
1987 - 3 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (3 acres) of wheat with tractor, 35-foot sweep disk, 30-foot drill, 25-foot self-propelled combine, and trucks
1987 - 2-3/4 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (1-1/8 acres) of corn with tractor, 5-bottom plow, 25-foot tandem disk, planter, 25-foot herbicide applicator, 15-foot self-propelled combine, and trucks
1989 - After several slow years, the sale of farm equipment rebounded
1989 - More farmers began to use low-input sustainable agriculture (LISA) techniques to decrease chemical applications

Information found on about.com

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