Once There Were A Thousand, Now There Are Five!

By Staff
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R.R. 1 Lamesa, Texas 79331

Forty years ago Dawson Company, in west Texas, was infested with
‘G’ John Deeres. There are over 300,000 acres of row crop
cotton, and at that time it was said there were over a thousand
G’s in use. There were more G’s than all other tractors
combined. Seems like they were everywhere.

Five years ago I was smitten with the old tractor virus that
seems to be going around. I found some good ones and I found some
junk. I had obtained about 15 tractors but something was missing. I
didn’t have a G and didn’t know where one was. I had a
small plane and flew out over the whole county. I believe I found
the only two that were left. They had grown to the ground and were
not for sale at any price.

I remembered when I was a boy my dad, a friend, and I were
planting cotton with three four-row John Deeres, because the engine
speeds differed slightly. At times the three would be firing at a
timing that made them sound like a smooth six cylinder. At times
they would be firing together where they sounded like one, and at
times the three could make some weird sounds.

When my childhood friends and I would get together, the
conversation would quickly turn to speculation as to how much
better John Deeres were than, any of the others. We thought that
everybody who was somebody owned a G.

About this time most farmers were converting their gasoline
tractors to propane because propane was six cents a gallon, so most
G’s were changed over.

There were very few gasoline John Deere’s left. Then in the
1960’s Mexican buyers were able to cross the border with
tractors. Their favorite was a G John Deere. In a few years nearly
all G’s were gone.

I found a 1945 GM at a farm sale in Pampa, 270 miles away, and
bought it. Last year I found two G’s in Gatesville 260 miles
away and bought them. By bringing three G’s into Dawson County
there are now five and I have the only three that will start and
run. It is hard to believe once there were so many and now there
are only five.

Shown above is a 1951 G neatly put on propane. Due to a high
compression head it will put out 44 HP at the PTO. Note how the
steering shaft runs through the tank; this is typical of a 1950s
conversion.

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