Joe Reed and his team of Percherons plant corn.

Harnessing the power of the draft horse: Joe Reed

Joe Reed still chooses to use horsepower to work ground and plant and harvest crops on the farm he and his wife, Sally, own near Fredericktown, Ohio. Despite the lack of air conditioning and a comfortable tractor seat, Reed seems to take great satisfaction in using his horses on the farm.

“I like them, and I enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve done it all my life.”

“We’ll put out about 7 acres of corn. There’s about 15 acres of oats. We’ve done all the plowing with the horses. After I get done picking corn, I start right in plowing. I like to have it all plowed before it freezes it up. And then if the weather is right I can get early oats in especially because I shear sheep. Everybody wants to shear sheep when I should be farming. I shear just shy of 4,000 head. I don’t miss a month that I don’t shear something.”

This four-row corn planter speeds up the process of planting corn using horsepower.
This four-row corn planter speeds up the process of planting corn using horsepower.

Joe uses a 4-row corn planter to plant his corn. It makes the job much faster. Since he doesn’t use fertilizer, the planter is also light enough to only require a team of two horses to plant the corn.

Even with a multiple-row corn planter, there is still plenty of work to keep Joe and the horses busy.

“I keep myself out of trouble,” he said.

Video of the corn planter in action can be seen below.

 

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