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Home > History of Development > Technology Through Time > Soil and Agriculture > Haying > Tractor Haying

Technology Through Time

Tractor Haying

Seeding, n.d., Suffield.The switch from horse power to tractor power in haymaking happened very suddenly. Although factory-built mowers and side delivery rakes for use with tractors had been available from dealers in Alberta since the 1920s, very few farmers owned such machines when the Second World War began. Labour and equipment shortages during the war prompted many Alberta farmers to convert to tractors and to adapt existing horse machinery.

For example, horse-drawn mowers could be converted to tractor power by shortening the pole and attaching it to the tractor drawbar. Mowers powered directly from the tractor's power-take-off also became more and more popular. Mowers needed to be driven at a constant, moderate speed to avoid clogging, so for this job tractors had a clear advantage over horses. The side delivery rakeDump rake pulled by a team of horses, 1929. could also be adapted for use with a tractor by a relatively simple modification of the pole, but it was impractical to adapt dump rakes. Because of their design, using a dump rake with a tractor actually added to manpower costs. One person had to ride on the rake to make the hay piles, while a second person drove the tractor. Some farmers tried to overcome this problem by operating the dump lever from the tractor using ropes, but most simply continued to use horses for this phase of haymaking into the 1950s.

Judy Larmour. Making Hay While the Sun Shone: Haying in Alberta Before 1955. n.p.: Friends of Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society and Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism, Historic Sites and Archives Service, 1992. With permission from
Friends of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society



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