During the Great Depression years, a few tractors were emerging on the scenes while the use of horses was dwindling. In 1920, there were over 10 million head of horses on the farms. But upon the arrival of the 1930s, the number had dwindled to 2.5 million.
Even with the tractors, horses were still needed where small farms were cut up with ditches. Many of the horses were old, and combined with the factors of the extreme heat and humidity, it was recommended that extra care be taken in working them: a barrel of water and a pail needed to be taken to the field to water them, they should be worked shorter days and stopped more often to rest. They also lacked their usual strength because of the lack of proper fed.
A tractor dealer in Gallatin, the Farmer’s Mercantile Co., was trying to “hook” the farmers on the benefits of using the tractors. Some of these points taken from an advertisement concerning the use of the Farmall were:
Since the coming of the FARMALL, there has been a steady increase in tractor farming, and a desire to get away from horses and horse drawn equipment.
Today there are over one hundred FARMALL tractors operating in this county, and we have never heard any owner say that it would not do the job.
One FARMALL and it’s equipment replaces eight head of horses and two men, at an average of less than $3 per day while in use.
We feel the row crop tractor will gradually take the place of the work team as the motor car did the buggy and road team, at a big savings in expense.
If you have too many horses or horse equipment, we will trade for them.”
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO