The Spike-Tooth Disk

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

Ever heard the saying, “It’s a tough row to hoe”? Sometimes it rains so hard around here that after the puddles dry up, it looks as though someone went through your front yard with a concrete compaction stomper. That makes for some tough hoeing when it comes to planting flowers or getting your garden ready.

I’m sure the same holds true when you look back at when, and why, this contraption was used: the spike tooth disk, otherwise known as a pasture renovator. This was tractor-drawn, with dirt or concrete blocks placed on the top trays as weights. This was used, as the name implies, to disk the soil prior to planting, or to revitalize pastures before fertilizing. When used on pastures, it would improve forage yield and animal performance and growth rate because the grass was given the opportunity to grow instead of competing with weeds for nutrients and water.

Even though the disk was pulled with a tractor, it was still a tough row to hoe. The ground had to be clean and free of weeds, which meant multiple trips across the field, increased fuel costs and time invested by the farmer.

I found this out back of the shed in the weeds. Looks like this area could use a little hoeing!

Until our next history lesson …