Without herbicides to selectively kill weeds, farmers hoed the weeds by hand, which was hot, back-breaking work; or they spent hours criss-crossing the fields with a machine called a cultivator, which turned over the soil and cut off the weeds at the roots.

“Our rows were 40 inches wide … that’s what it took for the horses [to walk] through…That way you could cultivate north and south or east and west. And weeds were a big problem because they didn’t have no herbicides, so if you could go both ways then you could get most of your weeds.” — Dean Buller Quicktime Logo (Quicktime required)


A farmer cultivates with a horse-drawn cultivator.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt.

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