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Seeding the Crop

Seed Drills

When settlers first began farming, most had a seeder that was very small and could be pulled behind a horse. The seed drill planted the seeds in rows and would even push the soil to cover the seeds. When larger drills were made, a farmer would need more horses to pull the machinery. Eventually, a tractor would pull the seed drills with more success. Over the years, the tractors and seed drills became larger and allowed a farmer to seed larger amounts of land faster. However, the design of the seed drill didn’t change much until the 1970s.

A man is riding on a seeder being pulled by two horses.


This is the first style of seeders that settlers used.

A farmer is riding on drills being pulled by two horses.


This farmer is using a seed drill to seed his crop in 1913.

A man is holding onto the reins of four horses, as the horses pull harrows over a farm field.

This farmer is seeding with a seed drill.

Air Seeders

In the 1970s, a Saskatchewan farmer named Frank Bourgault invented the first air seeder. Air seeders use pressurized air to plant the seed into the soil. These have a few major advantages for farmers. Air seeders allow farmers to plant directly into the stubble of the previous year’s crop. This is called minimum or zero tillage farming and is one of the best methods for preventing soil erosion.

A man is steering a tractor with steel wheels in a farm field.

This farmer is seeding with an air seeder, which has many benefits.

Air seeders also allow farmers to put fertilizer down at the same time they are seeding. They can set the air seeder to plant different seeds at different depths and spacing. This allows the farmer to make sure everything is perfect for the type of seed they are planting.

An illustrated cultivator that is being pulled by a horse is shown.

First Seed Drills

An illustrated cultivator is being pulled by a current-style tractor.

Current air seeders have many benefits including being incredibly accurate and efficient.

Learn more about how air seeders work and the process of seeding a crop with one.