If We Show You a Piece of Farm Equipment, Can You Tell Us What It Does?


By: Jody Mabry

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Have you always dreamed of reducing your carbon footprint by redefining your career goals and hitting the farmlands? You'd love the feel of an open-air office. Do you want to sow the ground and feel the personal fulfillment of growing your own crops? Or, do you prefer to raise your own animals, free of hormones, steroids and anything else the meat picks up from the farm to your store shelf?

Whatever your endeavors, one of your first steps should be identifying what farm tools actually do. For example, do you know that a rake and pitchfork have different jobs? Do you know what a plow's or cultivator's job is? Can you figure out all the tasks a combine can complete? You may know what a tractor is, but would you be able to identify what it's primary task is? 

You've seen this equipment before, and you may even have been lucky to operate some of it. But, do you think you'd be able to figure out what all this farm stuff does from its image? This quiz may be harder than you think, or is it?

Dig your boots into the ground, throw on your safety gloves and take this quiz for a trip around the farm. Your own sustainable farm!

You've seen 'em before, but do you know what they do?

When people think farm, one of the first machines they think of is a tractor. A tractor is generally a high-torque, slow-speed vehicle used to pull large pieces of equipment around the farm both for transport and for field operations.


This one will give you the heebie jeebies, but do you know its purpose?

Farmers have been domesticating and working alongside bees since the domestication of agriculture. The symbiotic relationship has led many farmers to work with beekeepers or become beekeepers themselves. The use of bees on a farm can produce a higher yield and better quality of plants and provide honey as an additional income.


What exactly does this tool do anyway?

A plow is a tool, usually dragged behind a tractor, used to break up the soil into a furrow for planting. In fact, the tools used by colonists in early America were frequently not as good as those used by the Roman Empire 1000 years before for the same task. It wasn't until 1797 that a patent was submitted for what would eventually become the modern plow - something President Thomas Jefferson spent a substantial amount of time trying to improve.


This looks like a fun piece of equipment. Do you know what it does?

A transplanter is used to transplant seedlings to the field. The process is more efficient than manually transplanting and primarily considered an efficient use of time and energy.


Everybody needs a hand once in awhile, what does this tool do?

Jacks come in a huge variety of sizes and are often used to lift equipment from a trailer to a vehicle and even larger equipment. Jacks are often used to repair or replace damaged parts, however, they can also be used to help free equipment which has become stuck.


This process isn't as smelly as you think, what's this equipment do?

Manure is considered one of the best fertilizers used to improve plant production. It is made primarily from animal dung and may also be mixed with a variety of soils and mulched vegetation. Manure spreaders apply an even coat of manure across fields.


Why would a farmer use this on a farm?

Depending on the type of farm and location, different irrigation systems can be used. Flood irrigation uses furrows to divert water above the plants to be released uniformly when needed. Sprinkler irrigation, while expensive, has the ability to cover large groups of plants with an even spray of water as well as other liquids. Drip and micro-irrigation focus on individual plants and areas to supply a limited amount of water to plants or their roots.


What does this knotty tool do?

Rope is commonly used on farms. The best qualities are lightweight, yet heavy duty, strong, easy to splice and has the ability to last for a long time as a knot. Most farmers are adept in a variety of knots; the most common being the farmer's knot, the miller's loop, halter hitch and bowline.


Do you know what this spiked farm equipment does?

A manual roto-tiller may be mechanical, electrical or gas-powered. Manual tillers are used for smaller gardens. The tiller helps to break up the soil into symmetrical furrows and can be used for aeration of the soil.


Do you know why this equipment is so important?

Hydroponics is an alternative farming system where a farmer grows plants in a water nutrient solution as opposed growing the plants in the soil. While there are several positives to hydroponics, the main benefit is the ability to grow plants without taking up valuable field real estate which becomes more valuable as traditional farms are slowly disappearing.


The Grim Reaper may handle it, but do you know the real function of this tool?

The scythe was the first mower. The tool has a curved sharpened metal blade on one end of a long pole. The tool is dragged on the ground as a farmer glides it by twisting their body. While primarily replaced by modern mowers, scythes are still found on many farms and are used in parts of Europe and throughout rural areas of Asia.


This equipment is seedy, do you know what it does?

A grain cart works alongside other equipment and is pulled by a tractor to hold harvested grain. The average size of a grain cart will hold over 15 tons of grain. However, they can be small enough to hold a few hundred pounds.


This is one of the biggest pieces of machinery on a farm, but what is its purpose?

A sprayer is a piece of equipment used to spray a liquid over a large area. On a farm, a sprayer is often used to apply herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. Sprayers can be attached to large trucks with barrels of product, or handheld - the liquid following the farmer on a trailer or worn in a backpack-style pack.


What are these farm creatures for?

Domestication first occurred tens of thousands of years ago and likely for the mutual benefit of wolves and people who worked together to hunt. It wasn't until about 10,000 BC that sheep, cattle and pigs were domesticated as a source of food and milk. While there are hundreds of domesticated animals used in farming, these big three - sheep, cattle, and pigs, along with chickens - are largely the most popular as they provide meat, clothing, milk and other dairy products.


Do you know the importance of this farm tool?

A pitchfork is a popular farm tool used to pitch loose materials from hay to compost. The pitchfork has been around for centuries and has been a symbol of agriculture for just as long on everything from politics to flags and art. One of the most prominent displays of a pitchfork is the painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.


This is as iconic as a farm gets, but what do farmers use them for?

A barn is one of the most symbolic buildings used to identify a farm. A barn is a large building used to store grain, hay or straw as well as provide shelter for livestock. Many barns are equipped with livestock milking stalls, farm-specific workspaces and tool and equipment shops.


Do you know what this equipment is used for?

A hay baler is a piece of farm equipment that can cut and compress crops into bales that are easy to transport. Balers can be permanently located, although most farms use portable balers attached to equipment or as their own moving machinery. Balers are commonly used with hay, cotton and straw.


What is this heavy piece of machinery used for?

Many farms have a backhoe which is used to dig by drawing soil toward itself. While backhoes are primarily used as a digging tool. they are also a valuable way to tow or pull heavy equipment which is stuck in snow or mud.


Do you know what this handtool does best?

Shovels come in a variety of head sizes and shapes. Shovels are one of the oldest and most versatile tools in agriculture. From shoveling and pitching seeds, grains, grasses, and gravel to manually preparing small gardens and fields for planting, most farms will have numerous shovels available for different types of work.


What is the use of this farm building?

Many farms have dedicated tool sheds; some have many. A tool shed is often built at the location of use such as a far-off field, or as a single tool location on the farm.


What's this fun and rugged equipment used for?

An ATV - all-terrain vehicle - is considered by many as a leisure vehicle. However, on farms, an ATV is a means of transportation across fields and uneven grounds. An ATV is versatile with regard to how it is used, from transport to hauling and often in herding animals across large fields.


What does this field tool do?

While a harrow may look like a simple tool, it is multi-purposed and essential on larger farms. A harrow is a heavy piece of metal with teeth that are dragged over an already plowed field. The harrow helps to break up larger blocks of soil, remove weeds and cover seeds with a thin layer of soil.


What in the world is this handy tool for?

There are both manual and gas-powered post hole diggers. Post hole diggers are used by farmers to prepare holes in preparation for building a fence. The manual diggers use the strength of a farm hand to lift and with manpower and gravity split and break up the ground to dig a symmetrical hole. Gas-powered diggers will have a screw at one end and expel soil from the ground as the post hole digger digs down creating a round hole for posts.


Is this equipment's job as easy as it looks? What does it do?

A flat-bed wagon can be hauled behind a tractor, truck and even an ATV. These wagons are a popular way to transport large pieces of equipment and machinery.


It's a box, duh! But, what is this box for?

Let's face it, a farmer often seconds as their own engineer and mechanic. With equipment - old and new - breaking down from extended use or mishaps, it is important that a farmer has a portable toolbox which they can quickly grab and go to repair small mechanical failures across the farm.


What does this farm animal equipment do?

A milking machine is usually used by dairy farmers to milk cattle, although they can also be used with sheep and goats. You can think of a milking machine as a giant breast pump that has a vacuum pump, teat cups and a pulsating system to extract and pump milk into large vats which will be processed elsewhere.


Your mom might be surprised to see you with one of these, but what does it do?

Rakes are one of the most popular tools used in agriculture and everyday use at homes. Rakes are often used as a clean-up tool. Whether clearing leaf cover, remnants of hay in a barn, or other loose debris. Rakes come in several shapes and styles to be used with lighter loose material to dense gravel.


You've seen these tall towers, but why are they on a farm?

A silo is as popular to see on farms as a barn. Silos are used to store grain. While most people think of a tall narrow bin when they think of a silo, many silos are actually pits dug into the ground. One benefit of a standing silo is assistance in drying out the grain.


Do you know what this tool is used for?

Regardless of the size of a farm, it is not financially possible to provide electricity to all areas. Whether used as a backup or for prolonged use, a portable generator helps provide farmers electricity where it is needed and when needed in an area that is without. While they have changed significantly, the first electromagnetic generator was created by Michael Faraday in the early 1830s - later leading to the physics principle: Faraday's Law.


Do you know why these tools are so useful?

Leather has been commonly used throughout history to protect the body and hands from injury. In ancient days, warriors would often use leather for its flexibility and durability in combat. Over the millennia, farmers have adopted these same qualities to help around the farm and protect farmers from scratches to severe cuts and scrapes.


This is a heavy piece of machinery. But, what would a farmer do with it?

A front-end plow is used to knock down small piles of loose soil and even out the ground. In northern states, that plow is used for snow removal and displacement.


This is one of the most important pieces of machinery on a farm, but what is it used for?

A front-end loader can be built permanently onto a motorized piece of equipment or built as a removable attachment. A front-end loader is a machine with a scoop or bucket and on an articulated arm that can be used for digging or filling in holes.


Do you have any idea what this does?

A fence charger creates a pulsating and light charge of electricity that follows a wire along a fence. The fence charge is an additional security for farmers and provides a reminder to animals to not try to escape from a fence. The charge is enough to send a quick shock through an animal but not enough to permanently harm an animal.


What is this dangerous tool most commonly used for?

In early days a pickax was used when farms were more manual. For example, breaking up large boulders in a field for easier hauling, or to dig out of the ground. However, you will still find pickaxes on most farms. They are often used in much the same way and can also be used as a lever in splitting or wedging.


Danger, danger, what is this bad boy used for?

Chainsaws are a popular piece of farming equipment. They are used to cut down and dissect trees, often in the removal of dead trees which pose a threat to people, animals and equipment. They are also commonly used to cut out large and stubborn roots. While the origin of chainsaws is often debated, it appears that there was a fashion of chainsaw in the late 1700s used more by doctors cutting bone in patients than in agriculture.


What does this multi-use piece of machinery do?

The combine harvester, often simply called a combine, is a large piece of farm equipment that cuts, threshes and cleans a crop in one operation. The combine is often followed by a grain cart which will store the processed grains.


These tools help a farmer to...

Farming can be a messy job. Considering that most of the country's farming is done in areas that receive significant amounts of rain it is important for farmers to have rubber boots which help farmers get around in saturated ground without becoming caked in mud. Rubber boots range from just below the calf muscle to the knees and hip.


What do these little fellas do?

No agricultural farm will survive without the use of seeds. Farm seeds are purchased in bulk and are sewn into the ground for planting. The domestication of agriculture began tens of thousands of years ago and can be found in all ancient permanently settled cultures.


This is used on more than just farms, but what is its purpose?

Fences are critical on farms for keeping livestock in an area; preventing them from wandering far from the farm. The fence can also be used to segregate animals and keep animals - wild and domesticated - from going into fields and eating plants or disturbing ground.


What is this heavy duty stuff used for?

Most farms, especially larger ones tend to have a variety of thick chains. Chains are versatile in use, but often can be wrapped around the bucket, scoop or hitch of large machinery to help haul and tow material such as fallen trees and other equipment.


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