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What Would Grandpa Say About Today's Farm Tractors?

What Would Grandpa Say About Today's Farm Tractors?
Terms like auto-steer, buddy seat and ROPS could make grandpa's head spin

Imagine if your grandpa – who might have farmed in the 50s and 60s – came back today and saw the picture here? It's from the cab of a T8050 New Holland tractor. When we were aboard, it was pulling an undersized field cultivator.

According to the displays running up and down the right-hand column, even at 8 miles per hour it was only utilizing 79% of tractor capacity.

First, grandpa would wonder why the tractor said New Holland. They don't make tractors – at least in the 50s and 60s they didn't. But they later merged with Ford.

New age: This modern tractor certainly has all the bells and whistles that monitor and display tractor performance. The only caveat is learning how to find the indicator you want when you want it.

"OK, but Fords were gray." He might answer. They went blue in the 60s. How Ford New Holland became part of CNH Industrial, and who exactly is CNH Industrial? It might take all day to explain that to grandpa.

Related: Nostalgia Plays A Huge Role In The Perception Of Agriculture

Let's assume you get him to the tractor and ready to climb into the cab.

Cab? "Why do tractors have cabs?" he might say. "And where is the tricycle front end? This thing looks like the rear-wheels are on the back."

No, those are large tires for front-wheel drive. Cabs and rollover protection systems built into cabs came because too many of the older, narrow-front tractors with high centers of gravity were accident-prone.

You finally get him in the cab. He'll sit in the buddy seat.

Wait. A 'buddy seat'? It rides better than the one and only standard seat of almost any tractor produced in the 1950s.

Then he would start noticing the real toys. Auto-steer – that would be a real head-scratcher – a tractor that virtually drives itself. He could also see a screen that displays how much of the field has been covered.

"Where are my oil pressure and water temperature gauges?" he might ask. One of the first things many farm boys of that era were taught was to stop if the needle on the water temperature gauge went into the red. That's assuming it still worked.

Related: Bibs, Fried Chicken and a few Animals? Not Today's Farms

That's when you could show him how you could get those readings, plus literally hundreds more related to tractor performance, all in real time.

By this time grandpa might be saying, "I thought New Holland made only hay balers." You would have a choice, either explain the technological and corporate revolution of agriculture over the past 50 years, or nod your head. It might be easier to nod your head.

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