Written by Kevin Adolph
A few days ago when I was hauling a load of fresh picked ear corn with my 1964 Allis Chalmers D-17 tractor, I was thinking of all the things that my dad and I had done with that tractor and how lucky I was to have kept this jewel in operation today. My dad bought the tractor in 1968 from a local farmer that was going to retire it like new. I remember when he brought it home and thinking it was so big compared to our other tractors we used. But of course with a bigger tractor came bigger equipment.
The first thing we did was upgrade to a tandem disk. It was a used 13 ft we could pull, that with a few drag sections behind it, was great. No more double digging and then dragging. Then we put it on the planter, and wow, power steering! That was like going to auto steer today (so much less stress). Now a big jump was a 4 row cultivator from a two row. No more catching a nap; you had to pay attention or you really cleared out a spot. Then it was time to bale hay. This baby had live power and a hand clutch, so no more wiping those guys off the rack with the smooth starts and stop. We also used it on the corn picker and once again this tractor was awesome. The fan blew all the warm air over the engine, so when a heat houser was added you could stay nice and cozy. After a while, we had to update our plow from a 2 bottom to a 3 bottom. Who would have thought 16 inches more would make things go so much faster.
One fall it froze early, so we had to hook another tractor to the front for more power. When fall work was done, our job on Saturdays were to haul out manure with the D-17. To make it fun, my dad used the incentive program. When you would get the spreader full we would hook up a couple of sleds to the back with a bunch of twine strings we gathered to make a long rope. He would then pull us about a half a mile to unload, unhook the sleds and let him spread the manure, then hook them back up for the faster ride home.
The D-17 had a few years of rest were it was put in storage, when one winter a couple of friends (Thanks Guys) who also have a few old family tractors ask if I wanted to get it fixed up and running again. We took it in the shop and gave it a work over. We cleaned it up and got it purring like the day my dad brought it home. Since then we use it every fall to haul ear corn just like it did 45 years ago. I also have bought a loader, cultivator, and plow for it.
I’m sure every farm has one tractor or piece of equipment that has been passed from one generation to the next with several memories tied to it. We need to keep them in the shed for the next generation to have and make sure that all the story’s go along with it. Maybe even go as far as to write them down and keep them to pass along with it.
In 1967, my dad paid $2,810.00 for the D-17. I had a guy offer me $5,200.00 for it a few months ago and I told him no way it already has my son’s name on it.
Kevin grew up on a family farm between Fulda, and Worthington, MN and now lives in a small town in Rushmore, MN. Prior to working at AFS, Kevin worked for an independent retailer in Okabena, MN. There he sold crop inputs for 9 years. While working in Okabena, Kevin updated his Agronomy degree with more Ag education. Kevin came to AFS with over 30 years of experience in chemical, seed, and fertilizer sales. Quality, and service are two of Kevin’s high priorities at our Fulda, MN location. When Kevin is not working at AFS you can find him in a farm shop just on the outside of Rushmore. He enjoys working on farm equipment getting it ready for the next farming season and spending time with his family.