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was done by hand with the seed worked into the ground with a harrow. The first year grain was cut with a scythe and threshed by a threshing block, Ausfuhr Klotz, which was pulled over sheaves of grain by horses. These were replaced by threshing machines, steam and horse driven, as early as 1877.39
During the first year Jacob Fehr of Reinland broke nine acres of land, six of which were sown to wheat and three to oats. 40 The first crop, however, was poor because the land had been broken at the wrong time of year to allow the sad to rot properly. These improper cultivation techniques cut the yields during the first years, but farmers soon learned the best way to break the land and the amount of cultivated land increased rapidly.
During the first few years of settlement most of the grain produc tion was either used to feed livestock, or was ground into flour by a number of steam powered grist mills on the reserve. There was a flour mill in Blumenort by 1877. But flax was also beginning to be grown and seven loads were hauled to Emerson in that year. 41
|Table 3 Selected Agricultural Statistics for the West Reserve|
|Year||proved||Wheat||Oats||Barley||tatoes||Flax||Horses Oxen Cattle|
|Source: Annual Reports. Dept. of Agriculture and Immigration.|
|*Rundschau, Dec. 15, 1881.|
The Mennonites in the West Reserve did not specialize in stock raising, but it was an important part of their economy with the number of cattle increasing steadily. Each farm usually had three to four cows and several hogs. Oxen were the most popular draught animals during the first years of settlement as they were cheaper than horses. As the size of fields increased, however, horses rapidly replaced them. Oxen were especially out of place travelling back and forth from the fields to the village.
By the late 1870's and early 1880's most villages were producing a good surplus of grain and had one or two threshing machines. This