Improvements on Dairy Farms

by Laurel | December 4th, 2013

n Rd.

Many thanks to Kevin Haarmann for sharing this photograph of a dairy truck from Peterson’s Farm, located on Mountain Road in West Holyoke. The Petersons of this era would have been the great-grandparents of Kevin’s wife. Thanks so much for sharing, it is a magnificently crisp photo beautifully composed!  I did spend a little time looking into the farm. Personally, I have fond memories of West Holyoke and spent many a summer there at my grandparents’ home on County Road.

In the photo, we see the name Wm. Peterson is written on the side of the cart (I do not know if William is in the photo) , though from all accounts the farm was originally started by William’s father Henry Peterson. I am guessing William and his brothers Christian and Peter probably all worked on the farm.  In earlier years, Henry is seen on the Census working in mills and I can only assume it took some years to save the funds needed to purchase land and start the dairy business. The Peterson family — Henry, wife Oline (Jensen), and sons Christian and Peter were all born in Samsø, Denmark, while son William was born in Massachusetts in 1894.

Extracted from a newspaper article in July 1928:

What is Being Done in the Way of Improving
Old Pastures on Dairy Farms in the County

Improved pastured on dairy farms will mean more profit to local dairy men. Some farmers realize this. J. P. Helyar, state extension agronomist visited some of the Hampden County Farmers recently with County Agent Locke, to see what progress was being made in improving pastures. Prof. Helyar tells the story of what he saw:

[some description of other farms omitted here]

At Henry Peterson’s farm in West Holyoke four acres of cinquefoil and moss were plowed up last fall. Five tons of limestone and a ton and a half of superphosphate were harrowed in. this spring a seeding of sweet clover and Kentucky blue grass was made. Fifteen hundred pounds of 5-8-7 was used to provide plant food for a start. At the present time an excellent stand of clover and blue grass is in evidence. This will not be ready for pasture until late August, but Prof. Helyar seemed to think that Mr. Peterson would not want to pasture it by then, it looks like too good a hay crop. Mr. Peterson has a different notion, however. He has plenty of alfalfa hay, some clear, come mixed with timothy and right now is using some of his “old style” hay land for pasturing. Hay that many farmers would consider as good as their best.

After pasturing this fall, the sweet clover will hold over for another year and be pastured by May and June. But the permanent improvement was in the establishment of the blue grass sod, than which no better pastures have ever been known in the county.

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