Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920

Implements Used on the Farm

Most people viewing the farming images in the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak collections are probably not familiar with the various farm implements shown and their functions. Through the combination of text and images, we hope the viewer will gain a better understanding of the farming process, especially as it was on the northern Great Plains between 1880 and 1920. To locate related images in the collections use the topical terms listed in the "Search on" section.

Moldboard Plow | Disk Harrow | Grain Drill | Grain Binder
Grain Header | Threshing Machine

Since the images in these collections were made, farming and farm machinery have continued to evolve. The threshing machine has given way to the combine, usually a self-propelled unit that either picks up windrowed grain or cuts and threshes it in one step. The grain binder has been replaced by the swather which cuts the grain and lays it on the ground in windrows, allowing it to dry before being harvested by a combine. Plows are not used nearly as extensively as before, due in large part to the popularity of minimum tillage to reduce soil erosion and conserve moisture. The disk harrow today is more often used after harvesting to cut up the grain stubble left in the field. Although seed drills are still used, the air seeder is becoming more popular with farmers. Today's farm machinery allows farmers to cultivate many more acres of land than at the time the images in these collections were taken. As of 1998, the average North Dakota farm is about 1,300 acres compared to 460 acres in 1920, and the number of farms has dropped from almost 78,000 in 1920 to a little under 30,000 today.

Return to the main Hultstrand or Pazandak page
Northern Great Plains: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Collections