Our cultivating tractor arrived this week from Pennsylvania!
We have TWO tractors in our fleet of equipment at Three Sisters. Our larger machine has been the focus of our tractor campaign & deserves its own blog post when it arrives: a 55-horsepower tractor for big jobs like plowing, getting fields ready to plant, pulling large implements like a manure spreader or transplanter, and heavy lifting jobs like turning compost and moving bulk veggies around the farm.
But this smaller tractor, though it’s much older, less powerful, and vastly cheaper (and will break down & need repairs far more often!) is a crucial part of the team. It is primarily for taking care of weeds: mechanically, rather than by hand, which reduces our labor budget and keeps costs lower.
Weeds are one of the biggest challenges for an organic farmer – we don’t have as many tools in our toolbox for fighting weeds as a conventional farmer (no herbicides!). So a light-duty tractor that helps manage weeds and keeps crop yields high is essential. These tractors went out of style in the 1960s and later, when farmers turned to higher-tech spray equipment for herbicides, hence the age and beauty of our machine. It’s a Farmall Super A, with a gas engine. We are thrilled it’s here: bring on the weeds.