Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 75
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that purpose, and then set it again for the next furrow. There are usually no
roots, stumps, etc., to prevent the plough from pursuing its even course. One
team usually ploughs from one and a quarter to two acres per day. Labor on our
farms is worth about $18 per month.- Those ploughs cut furrows from twelve to
twenty inches wide. The breaking up should be done soon after the grass is up in
the spring, or early in the summer, so that the grass may have time to rot before
sowing the wheat in the fall or spring. The winter wheat should be sowed the
latter part of September,. or early in October, though good crops are often made
when sowed as late as December. After being sowed on the sod, the seed is gen-
erally harrowed in with a. heavy iron-toothed harrow, which is the best way,
though it is sometimes ploughed in, which may be done, provided the grass roots are
sufficiently rotted. Spring wheat is usually sowed from the 1st of February to the
1st of March, and this is also sowed on the sod and harrowed in, in like manner.
It is best to go over the ground with a heavy wooden roller, after the harrow, in
order to make the surface smooth, though this is not always done. It will also
improve the crop to go over it a second time with a light harrow, after the frosts,
and after the wheat has come up and been pastured on. This is done in March
or early in April, and then this second harrowing should be followed by another
The reason is as follows: At this time the roots of the wheat have extended so
deep that the harrow does not injure them, but kills all the weeds that have taken
root, and loosens and levels the ground that had been trod by the stock, so that
the wheat then grows up more even-and more thrifty, and is much better protected
against a late frost.
On ground entirely new, there is very little difference between a winter and a
spring crop, as the ground not having had time to become rotted and mellow in
the fall, the yield is not as good as afterwards. But generally after the first plant-
ing, the winter crop yields more than that sown in the spring, as the root has had
more time to extend, and there are more stalks to the grain, and the ground being
better covered, the crop is better, protected against a late frost and the sun. It
also ripens or matures about a month earlier than spring wheat, the latter being
usually not ready for harvesting till about the middle of June, while the former is
commonly ready by the middle of May.
As regards the amount of the yield, we state generally that twenty bushels to the
acre is just about a fair average crop in Texas, taking the various kinds and quali-
ties of soil into consideration, and taking all seasons, good and bad, into the ac-
count. We often hear farmers state that they make over forty bushels to the acre
in good seasons, and from thirty to forty bushels are doubtless very often made.
Our wheat has usually been cut with cradles, but patent reapers are now coming
into general use. These reapers or harvesters are obtained of L G. Williams, in
Galveston, and from New-Orleans, and sometimes they are ordered direct from the
North. Their cost is about $1.75 in Galveston. They cut about ten acres per
day with two horses and a certain number of hands to bind it.
The country is now pretty well supplied with threshing-machines of various
kinds, most of them by horse-power, but many also by water and steam. Those
who have not these machines already, can generally find one within a convenient
distance, which they can have the use of for. their crop, at charges fixed by the
custom of the place. Some four or five years ago, the threshing was all done by
horses or by hand, but these machines are now in almost universal use. The
prices of these machines are various, according to the particular kind, and the
amount of the work they will do is also various. These machines thresh from one
hundred and twenty-five to eight hundred bushels per day, according to the num-
ber of horses, a single-horse machine turning out about one hundred and twenty-
five bushels. The wheat is usually perfectly dry and ready for grinding the mo-
ment it is threshed.
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/76/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.