Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

War Economy

Mechanisation of Farming

Mechanisation of Farming

As we have seen, the war came in a period of increasing mechanisation of farms.2 In 1930 there were 3900 agricultural tractors in use, but, by 1939, this number had increased two and a half times, to over 9600. The expansion continued apace during the war years, page 188 to reach over 18,900 by 1946. It was assisted by the receipt of over 7000 farm tractors from the United States of America under Lend-Lease. In 1930 there were 16,000 electric motors on farms. The number had reached 51,000 by 1939 and was to reach nearly 77,000 by 1946. Milking machines were in widespread use before the war and their wartime expansion is less spectacular. There were 20,000 plants in 1930, nearly 29,000 in 1939, and 31,800 in 1946.

It was not just a matter of making more power available on farms but of making power available in more convenient form. For example, electric motors were taking over from internal combustion engines. From 1939 to 1946 the number of electric motors used on farms increased by 51 per cent, while the number of internal combustion engines decreased. The electric motor required much less personal attention. Electrical equipment in the home tended in the same direction, allowing the farmer and his family more time to work on the farm and reducing their need to bring in paid labour.

These changes are summed up in the following table:

1Source, New Zealand Official Yearbooks. Numbers rounded for convenience in reading, but percentages are calculated on original figures.

Wartime Changes in Farm Mechanisation 1
1939 1946 Percentage Increase
Agricultural Tractors 10 19 97
Milking Plants 29 32 10
Shearing Machine Plants 10 14 35
Internal Combustion Engines 23 22 -5
Electric Motors 51 77 51

2 See also Chart 4 on p. 15.