How Manure Spreading has changed over Centuries

Where it all started

Spreading manure offers a large array of benefits to crops and crop land, but do you ever wonder when we, as farmers realized waste from our livestock can be utilized to promote healthier crops? Originally, scientists believed we started using manure as fertilizer 3,000 years ago in Israeli, Palestine, Syria, Jordon and surrounding areas. However, a more recent study proved that wrong. In 2013, Amy Bogaard and her team started looking deeper into ancient farm lands around Europe it was found that people figured out manure can be utilized as fertilizer closer to 8,000 years ago.

How did people first make this discovery? Well, it’s thought that farmers learned that livestock waste is indeed not just waste simply by noticing in their fields and where they kept their livestock, the spots that had manure piles seemed to naturally have healthier grass and crops. This led to the start of manure spreading in fields. In the beginning all manure spreading was done by hand and manure was manually spread by shovels.

When Manure Spreaders came into the picture

An old advertisement for a New Idea Spreader Co manure spreader
New Idea Spreader Co. Manure Spreader Advertisement from the early 1900’s

That all changed when Joseph Kemp realized the demand for a product that could spread manure faster and by using less manual labor. In 1875, he created the first manure spreader that was pulled by a horse or a team of horses and soon after he started to mass produce them so more farmers could have this piece of equipment.

While most the country fell into the great depression closer to the 1930s, farmers started experiencing this devastating era closer to early 1920s. However, this didn’t seem to spot the demands for manure spreaders. New Idea Spreader Company in 1924 was turning out 125 manure spreaders in just a single 8 hour work day. It’s believed that farmers continued to buy manure spreaders even through such a tough time because they saw it as more of a necessity than a luxury due to the fact it would save them so much time and labor.  

In the later 1930’s the first tractor pulled manure spreader was created. At this time, you could find advertisements for this new version of the manure spreader boasting about their spreaders ability to haul a whopping 65-70 bushels of manure or roughly 85 cubic feet of manure. They were also proud of these reinvented pieces to equipment having new technology which helped prevent the buildup and chocking of manure at the back end of the spreader. Wow, have we come a long way since then.

Art’s-Way Obtains its first Manure Spreader

A picture of a man standing in front of the Roda R2000
Panzer Standing in front of a Roda truck mount R2000

Manure spreaders may have been around for a while, but Art’s Way Manufacturing didn’t get into the building and engineering of them until 2010 when we acquired the Roda manure spreader after they decided to end production. Since then, Art’s Way has produced three different lines of spreaders; the Horizontal Beater Manure Spreaders, Vertical Beater Manure Spreaders and the Truck Mount Vertical Manure Spreaders with additional variations and multiple products in all lines.

Our Latest and Greatest

Our newest model is the X Series Manure Spreader offered in both a 700 and 900 cubic feet capacity. This spreader offers new improvements to our already time- tested product. With this spreader, you can find new features like the flared sides which is the reason it can hold up to 909 cubic feet of product. The guillotine style slop gate helps to create a more controlled amount of manure being spread. Our new densilite flooring minimizes thermal expansion while still allowing manure to move just as smoothly as it does when compared to poly floors. On top of all these features, it offers an industry leading spread pattern and comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the apron chain.  

A time line of general farming and manure spreaders

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