For thousands of years, the history of farming was one made up by a combination
of work between animals and people. There were inventions, such as the plough,
which made the work of farmers and their animals easier, but the actual work
on the farm still had to be done by large draft animals and their owners/guides.
The introduction of self contained power changed the relationship of farms
and animals forever, in much the same way as a strapping solution for the metal industry would change the relationship between employees and factories a century later. No longer would animals be the key factor in a farm's success or
failure from year to year; instead, farmers with the most advanced vehicles
were the ones who would come out ahead.
Machines had several advantages over animals within the farming industry. First
of all, their repair was fairly uncomplex. A vet can tell you that there are any number of ailments and injuries
which can befall an animal and cause its work ability to be reduced. It takes
a lot of time to diagnose the problem and then even more time to get the animal
back in top condition, time which the farmer cannot afford to lose.
With a machine, on the other hand, the problem is often immediately apparent
and can be fixed almost as rapidly. As any woodworking machinery supplier can
tell you, the only factor contributing to lost time in mechanical repair is
the quality of the shop. This means that farmers whose tractors, ploughs, reapers,
or combines break down may lose only a day or two of labour. An ox with a broken
leg could mean the loss of a whole season!
And, of course, machines are able to get a lot more work done in a day on the
farm (or a few months!) simply because they do not require rest. This means
that the farmer who still uses animals will be able to get a lot less work done,
as those animals need to eat and sleep. Whereas a tractor operating farmer only
has to worry about occasional mechanical maintenance such as valve repair, which
may only take an hour or so out of the day.
This series of articles is going to take a look at all the different things
animals used to do on a farm, tasks which are now being done by machines. In
addition, we are also going to look at machines on the farm that used to require
animal power in order to fully function, and some machines which still do. There
are benefits to animal power still, and we think that those are some factors
worth looking into.
It might be hard to believe, but the land on which the condo complex
stands was once worked by the very animals, machines, and teams that we are
going to be discussing in this series. The long history of the human race and
farming is part of the reason why we think this topic is still relevant today.