This film is part of Free

Farming and Flowers in the 1930s

A wonderful example of farming in the days before mechanisation, showing horse drawn ploughs and harvesters, and the labour intensive activity of building giant haystacks.

Non-Fiction 1939 12 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


With the Second World War yet to break out, a chance to see the dawning of farm mechanisation as an early motorised thresher is seen in action alongside horse drawn harvesters and ploughs. As farm-hands with pitch forks collect the hay in the traditional way, and cute piglets enjoy the outdoors, our filmmaker makes the most of the newly introduced Kodachrome colour film to also capture some wonderful garden scenes.

It isn’t known who made this film, or where, or exactly what year it is. Some farms tried early steam tractors, as horses were drafted into WW1, but it wasn’t until 1937, when Ferguson-Brown produced their tractors, with a three-point linkage system, that horse numbers much declined. The popular Ferguson-Ford 9N tractors came out around the time of this film, in 1939. After WW2, with the drive to increase food production, farms with tractors grew from 100,000 to around 450,000, from 1946 to 1963. Despite the fact that tractors can plough ten acres of land a day compared with only two with horses, there is still at least one farm, in Hampshire’s Avon Valley, still using horses. But only 1.5% of pigs are free range.