On Aug. 7, 1976, issues of Indiana Prairie Farmer arrived in mailboxes. It was its own magazine, with an office in Indianapolis. For the first time since this series looking back at old magazines began, we found an issue where “Indiana” appears in big letters and “Prairie Farmer” is in smaller letters beneath it.
The magazine is still the “big size,” and while there are some four-color ads, many ads are still black-and-white or two-color. The products offered for sale paint a picture of an evolving corn-and-soybean-oriented agriculture.
Ads tell story
Here are products found in a few of those ads. Some of the companies that offered these products are still operating today under the same name. Others have undergone changes since the mid-’70s.
• P-A-G Seeds. “What can you say when your best-selling ’75 hybrid doubles its sales in ’76? Man … that’s corn!” That’s how P-A-G Seeds advertised SX-98 in a full-page, color ad showing a Gleaner combine dumping corn into a tandem truck on the go — not a grain cart, a truck.
P-A-G dates to Lester Pfister in 1920. Visit pfisterseeds.com to learn more. Pfister is owned today by Dow AgroSciences. Dow AgroSciencies is now part of DowDuPont, and is scheduled to become Corteva Agriscience in June 2019.
• Kewanee equipment. Hay elevators, augers, disks, running gear and more — Kewanee promoted it all in a full-page color ad. Perhaps known best for hay and ear corn elevators, the company dated back to 1912 in Kewanee, Ill. In 1976 it was a division of Chromalloy Farm and Industrial Equipment Co., with a plant also in Kirksville, Mo.
According to internet antique machinery buffs, Bush Hog bought Kewanee; then it ended up as part of Allied Equipment, which eventually was folded into Agco. The production plant in Kewanee closed in 1991. The name no longer appears on new farm equipment.
• Chevy trucks. Chevrolet used the slogan “Your money’s worth. Mile after mile after mile.” in a 1976 ad promoting the Chevy C20 Fleetside pickup. The ad promoted using the truck to pull a fifth-wheel trailer, and said it was available with a 454 V8 engine and four-speed manual transmission. You could also get four-wheel-drive if you wanted.
How advanced was agriculture then? The combine dumping wheat into the fifth-wheel trailer with wooden sides pulled by the Chevy pickup didn’t have a cab. But another picture indicated there was a hoist on the trailer bed.
• DMI Hydrawide moldboard plows. DMI advertised moldboard plows with 40 inches of clearance and claimed they were non-clogging, heavier and easier to pull than the competition. The ad used two colors, highlighting the blue color that symbolized DMI equipment.
Moldboard plowing is no longer the primary form of tillage on most farms. However, DMI also made tillage plows.
HEAVY PLOWS: You could get a seven- or eight-bottom DMI moldboard plow in 1976. Many farmers were into moldboard plowing then, but the trend was about to shift toward chisel plowing.
The company was started in the early 1960s by a farmer in Goodfield, Ill., who began making hog equipment and then fertilizer equipment. The company found its niche in tillage. Case IH bought DMI from the employee group that owned the company at the time in 1998. In 1999, Case IH merged with New Holland to become CNH. The blue paint is gone, but the Goodfield plant is still operating. It was scheduled for closure in 2006, but CNH reversed course and still manufactures machinery there today.
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