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Old-time wheat harvest at Homestead

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:15 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We get a look at how the wheat harvest may have looked decades ago in a small field used for education at Homestead National Historical Park.

We caught up with Noel Ditmars of Gage County. “What I have is an Allis Chalmers All Crop Model 60 Combine,” Ditmars said. “This one in particular is a 1950 model. But they started making them very much like this in 1935. This was small enough and cheap enough that most farmers could own their own. It would replace their binder. They would have no need to be in a circle of people who had a threshing machine.”

Ditmars used a John Deere Model 50 from 1953 to pull the Allis Chalmers combine. “In seven years, John Deere got away from the two-cylinder tractors,” Ditmars said. “But this is still a two-cylinder poppin’ Johnny.” Ditmars said by the 1950′s the PTO’s and the hitches were standard enough that people could use a different brand of tractor to pull an Allis Chalmers combine. “With the Allis Chalmers combine, no one made anything to directly compete with it,” Ditmars said.

After the combine work was done, it was plowed by volunteer Robert Hacker from Gage County. He used an Allis Chalmers tractor and John Deere plow to get the job done. “(Homestead officials) used this plot to demonstrate some of the old farming practices for tilled crops,’ Ditmars said. “They used this to demonstrate corn or wheat or oats.”

If you are looking for a fun day, be sure to check the old farm equipment and homesteading history at Homestead National Historical Park.

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