Bugs and weeds can destroy crops like corn and wheat. Great Plains farmers in the 1920s did not have many scientific ways to kill insects, control weeds, and boost crop yields. Insects destroyed a large percentage of their crops each year. Weeds competed for soil nutrients and moisture, further reducing yields. To renew the soil and increase yields, farmers collected manure from their barns and spread it on the fields — free fertilizer. Commercially manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides were not widely used by Nebraska farmers until the 1940s.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.