September 18, 2011

The Purpose of Harrowing After Plowing

From Ranch and Range of North Yakima, Washington on April 15, 1897:


VALUE OF HARROWING.
-----
BY ED. WELLEW.

In riding over our county a few days ago the writer noticed many fields being plowed for grain, potatoes, hops, etc.  More than one-half of the plowed fields were just as the plow left them, some very poorly plowed, some rough and uneven, while in a few cases the harrow or "drag" had followed the plow.

We certainly have one of the best farming countries in the world, but even here such beginnings will not result in successful farming.  Here, where we have warm, sunny days and occasional dry winds, the harrow should follow the plow if good results are to be obtained.  Never allow plowed fields to remain exposed to the sun and dry air, but pulverize the surface as quickly as possible.  In this way the moisture is retained, germination hastened, irrigation delayed, better crops assured, and much time and labor saved.

It is surely a serious mistake to expose a rough surface of the soil and let the moisture evaporate simply because we have an abundance of water to irrigate with.

Last year on a piece of grain land forty-eight bushels per acre of barley were raised where the ground was well plowed and the harrow followed.  On the same kind of soil, near by, a little less than thirty bushels per acre of barley were raised where the plowed field was exposed from two to three days before harrowing.  This last field required more irrigating than the first, had the same kind of seed put in just as well, equally as good soil, was planted nearly at the same time, and yielded more than eighteen bushels less per acre.  There may not always be so great a difference, but there will be a difference.  The successful farmer in any country will agree with us, we believe; at any rate, experiment will prove beneficial to the doubtful.

North Yakima, Wash.

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