The New Tractor: Summer CSA ’13 ” Week #2

 In CSA Newsletter

Like most small businesses, we reinvest our profits into equipment and infrastructure.  This allows us to grow more food and work a little less hard each year. Even though last Wednesday was technically my birthday, I’m pretty sure Mike got the birthday present – our first ever, brand new (not just new to us) tractor. A 2013 Case IH 110A. He had the nervous excitement of 16-year old with a freshly minted driver’s license. I couldn’t help but stop working just to witness his first climb into the cab, his first jerky moves as he began the process of learning the machine’s clutch.

To fully understand just how momentous this occasion was, it’s useful to know something about our existing tractors.

Meet our tractor lineup. It’s a motley, aged crew of machines.

The 886

The International 886.It’s an 80 horsepower tractor from the 1970s. We use this for primary tillage – to break up the ground to make the soil a soft medium into which to plant. It’s a monster of a machine – rusty red.

The Hydro 84.  Think slow. This is a 60 horsepower tractor than can go extremely slowly. Its main use is for transplanting. We hook up a water wheel transplanter to the back of the tractor. This implement marks and waters a hole into which a human hand will plant a seedling.  The Hydro is able to go slowly enough to match the pace of the human planters riding behind it. The Hydro can also go faster speeds, so we can use it for other things on the farm, like tine weeding, direct seeding, light tillage, and spraying the organically approved sprays we use on a few crops – Bt, copper, Spinosaid

Cultivating kale with the Kubota

The Kubota L245. Originally made for tobacco farming, this little orange number is from the 1980s. It’s 30 horsepower. We use it to cultivate tall crops on a 2-row system. Side note – I cultivated with this tractor for the first time last week, after bringing Mike his first strawberry of the season. Mental note – bring husband special treats and gets chances to drive the tractors!

The electric Allis Chalmers G. This little tractor is from the 1940s. It is used for cultivating (aka weeding mechanically) crops that we grow on a 3-row/bed system. It has a thin frame and travels low so that the driver can look down and see exactly what he/she is doing at the ground level. Mike converted this G to run electrically. No combustion engine necessary.

So that’s our lineup.

So why the new tractor?

1. This tractor can do everything our 886 and Hydro 84 can do. It has the horsepower to do primary tillage (it’s 100 hp) AND the ability to drive at very slow speeds for transplanting.

2. We farm at our home farm, and we also do some farming at the Pioneer Road fields, owned by Mike’s parents. It’s a lot of traveling back and forth between farms. This tractor will allow us to drive tractors back and forth less. And when a tractor does need to drive on the road, it will be with a newer, safer, more reliable machine.

3. We are finally in a financial position to afford a tractor that is brand new and built specifically for our needs.

Exciting times!  Perhaps a picture of Mike in the new tractor to come soon. Thanks and enjoy your veggies!





In the Box:

  • Bok Choi
  • Cilantro
  • Head Lettuce, Redleaf
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Salad Turnips
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini

REGs only = Chard, Rainbow

EOs only = Kale, Red Russian

EOs only = Salad Mix

EOs only = Arugula

Recipes: Sign-up for your free CSA menu planning with Local Thyme. Register here and use the code: CROSSRCF

Summer CSA Week #2: Wednesday, June 19th ” REGs & Group B -EOs