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Farming With Dynamite

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

A Few Hints To Farmers

Some farmers have the wrong idea about Dynamite.

Farming With Dynamite In 1910
Farming With Dynamite In 1910

They know it is a powerful explosive and believe it is dangerous to handle. Dynamite is very powerful, much more so than gunpowder, but is safer to handle.

After more than a hundred years of experience in making and using explosives, we can truthfully state that by following simple directions with ordinary care, anyone can use the "Red Cross" Dynamite without harm. The purpose of this booklet is to tell you the extraordinary value of using "Red Cross" Dynamite on the farm.

Chief Uses of Dynamite on the Farm.

As farmers all over the country begin to understand the value of "Red Cross" Dynamite in their work, they are constantly reporting new uses for this powerful assistant.

The chief uses are mentioned below and are explained in detail further on. Please read "The Handbook of Explosives for Farmers, Planters, and Ranchers."

  • Clearing Land of Stumps, Trees, and Boulders,

  • Breaking up Hard-Pan, Shale, or Clay Subsoils,

  • Plowing,

  • Planting and Cultivating Orchards,

  • Digging Ditches, Post Holes, Wells, and Reservoirs,

  • Road-Making and Grading,

  • Excavating Cellars and Foundation Trenches,

  • Regenerating Old, Worn-out Farms.

Clearing Land of Stumps, Boulders, and Trees.

It is needless to tell you the advantages of clearing land. The stump-covered site of a former piece of woods is, as you know, new, rich soil that needs no fertilizer.

You also know that pulling stumps with a machine is the most challenging work—liable to injure your horses seriously and sure to require a lot of work to get rid of the stump after pulling. Then too, it leaves the field full of holes. But, of course, these holes must be filled, and plowing the hard-packed soil around old roots is no joke. If instead of pulling the stumps, you can burn them out, the intense heat required destroys the chief fertile elements of the soil all around the fire. So, after all your hard work, you will leave a burned field instead of new, fertile soil. You can dynamite all those stumps for about one-third of the cost of pulling and chopping them up.

The blast splits up the stump into firewood, removes all the dirt, breaks all the primary roots, and loosens the soil for yards around. You can blast fifty stumps in the time it would take to pull and chop up one or two. One man can do all the work if necessary. After the stumps are all blasted out, you will have a new, rich field and easy to cultivate, requiring no fertilizer to yield bumper crops. If you want to remove a whole tree, "Red Cross" Dynamite will lift it bodily out of the ground and usually fall with the wind. When finished, there is no stump left to remove.

Boulders, which you are now obliged to plow around, can be broken into easily handled blocks by a single blast.

Free Demonstration Farming with Dynamite
Free Demonstration Farming with Dynamite

What it Costs to Blast Out Stumps.

At the latest "Farming with Dynamite" demonstration, held under the auspices of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, at Ivor, Va., on August 11, 1910, one and one-half acres containing forty-six stumps was cleared in one day, at the expense of $18.00, including labor, or an average of 39 cents per stump. Records kept by the Long Island Railroad, covering operations on their Experimental Farm, showed that, including the wages of the men who did the work, the cost of blasting out stumps averaged about 16 cents per stump.

Breaking Up Hard-Pan, Shale, or Clay Soils.

Breaking Up Hard-Pan, Shale, or Clay Soils is probably the most important use of "Red Cross" Dynamite. Although complex and expensive, it is possible to clear the land of stumps and boulders in other ways, but it is impossible to break up hard-pan, or clay subsoils, without using "Red Cross" Dynamite.

Land with a waterproof subsoil is practically worthless, as it holds the surface water in such quantities on level ground that the roots of trees and plants rot away. On the hilly land, it prevents the surface water from running off, thus preventing moisture storage, resulting in vegetation dying quickly in hot weather. Blasting with "Red Cross" Dynamite can make such land fertile. The subsoil breaks up and is wholly broken up, and the dry, dead top soil converts into a rich loam for less than the amount of the taxes for a year or two.

The following extract from the Topeka, Kansas, "Mail and Breeze" proves the beautiful results of this use of Dynamite:

"A few years ago, M. T. Williams bought a quarter section of land near Medicine Lodge in Barber County, and, conceiving the same idea that Ex-Governor Crawford and others have used Dynamite in dealing with a hard subsoil. The land was overgrown with sunflowers and cockleburs and would have been considered dear at $10 per acre. However, the soil underlaid it with a hard subsoil that was almost impervious to water. Mr. Williams' idea was to loosen this subsoil with Dynamite. He bored holes in the earth some 3 feet deep and about 40 feet apart, and in each hole placed a part of a stick of Dynamite."

"The dynamite explosion loosened the hard subsoil and made a reservoir for the rains, which had formerly run off the land nearly as fast as they fell. As a result, these 100 acres produced as fine alfalfa as can be found in the state. Mr. Williams has refused $15,000 for the quarter and gathers a net income from his alfalfa from $30 to $35 per acre annually."

"Last season, Mr. Williams proposed to the Baptist church ladies that he would give them a load of hay, provided they would come out to the place, shock the hay, load it on wagons and haul it to town. They took him at his word and shocked and carried to town two tons which sold for $16."

Plowing With Dynamite.

Plowing With Dynamite
Plowing With Dynamite

Ordinarily, plowing merely turns over the same old soil year after year, and a constant decrease in crops is only prevented by rotation or expensive fertilizing. With "Red Cross" Dynamite, you can break up the ground all over the field to a depth of two or three feet for less than the cost of adequate fertilizing and with better results. Fertilizing only improves the topsoil. Dynamiting renders all the moisture and growth elements throughout the blast's entire depth.

In an article by J. H. Caldwell, of Spartanburg, S. C., in September 1910, Technical World Magazine, he states that before Dynamite broke up the ground, he planted his corn with stalks 18 inches apart in rows 4 feet apart and raised 90 bushels to the acre. After the ground was blasted, it nourished stalks 6 inches apart in rows the same distance apart and produced over 250 bushels to the acre. This is an increase of about 160 bushels to the acre yearly for an original expense of $40 an acre for labor and explosives.

F. G. Moughon, of Walton County, Georgia, reports that he has been raising crops of watermelons, weighing from 50 to 60 pounds each, on land blasted by exploding charges of about 3 ounces of Dynamite in holes 2-½ to 3 feet deep, spaced 8 to 10 feet apart.

Planting and Cultivating Orchards.

In the orchard "Red Cross," Dynamite saves much labor and time in planting the trees and ensures the best growth and large yields. A man will spend an hour digging a tree hole that Dynamite will excavate instantly. But, unfortunately, the spaded hole will be hard down, making it difficult for the transplanted roots to take hold. Compacted soil is one of the chief reasons transplanted trees die so often. "Red Cross" Dynamite excavates the required hole and loosens the ground for yards around, killing all grubs and forming a spongy reservoir for moisture. That is why trees planted in dynamited holes live and thrive. A whole row of tree holes can be excavated instantly when charged with "Red Cross" Dynamite. Old trees benefit from exploding small charges under them or between the rows. Blasting with Dynamite keeps the ground loose and free from grubs.

A well-known fruit grower reports that he planted peach trees some years ago to determine whether anything was to be gained by using Dynamite. Several trees were planted in holes by detonating a charge of explosives to make the holes, and others were planted in holes of the regulation size, dug by hand. Three years later, the trees planted in the blasted holes were strong and healthy, each producing between five and six bushels of excellent peaches. The other trees, planted on the same ground without blasting, bore no peaches, both fruit and leaves having shriveled up and dropped off during the dry season.

Digging Ditches, Post Holes, Wells, and Reservoirs.

Excavating of any kind is slow, hard work when done with a pick and shovel, especially in the mixed ground containing large stones, roots, streaks of gravel, or shale. Several rods of the ditch can be excavated in an instant with Dynamite, varying the size of each charge according to the nature of the ground at that point. The blast throws most of the dirt out, and the remainder is broken up, ready for the shovel.

A Missourian advises us of a ditch he has just blasted through a swamp for $100, which he says would have cost him $500 if dug in the usual way.

On August 11, 1910, at the demonstration at Ivor, Va., above referred to, a ditch 85 feet in length, 3 feet deep, and 4-½ feet wide at the top was blasted with Dynamite at a cost not exceeding 10 cents per yard, or about $2.75 for the entire work. "Red Cross" Dynamite is especially useful in excavating wells and reservoirs, as it opens up all the springs in the nearby ground.

Road Making With Dynamite
Road Making With Dynamite

Road-Making and Grading.

"Red Cross" Dynamite significantly saves time and labor in making new roads or leveling grades on old roads. Rock, shale, clay, gravel, or sand can all be easily broken up simply by varying the charge according to the ground's nature and the desired excavation depth.

Excavating Cellars and Foundation Trenches.

Excavating can do this work with "Red Cross" Dynamite in one-tenth the time required for hand and team shoveling, and the cost of the Dynamite is a fraction of the value of the labor saved.

Regenerating Old, Worn-Out Farms.

All over the Eastern and Southern sections of the United States are farms and plantations, once rich, fertile, and profitable, but now either abandoned or so unproductive as to be almost worthless. The chief trouble with these farms is that the topsoil is worked out. A farmer can use "Red Cross" Dynamite with complete success to turn up entirely fresh, fertile soil and convert a $10 an-acre "worked-out farm" into land worth $50 to $100 an acre. The cost of Dynamite for this conversion would be about $10 to $15 an acre, according to the nature of the soil. Indeed it is as essential to restore the productiveness of established farms in the East as it is to open up new, fertile fields in the West and Southwest. If any portion of your farm is unproductive, it is probable that "Red Cross" Dynamite can make it effective.

The leading railroads of the country are taking the most significant interest in the increasing use of Dynamite on the farm because they know by actual results that it means more and better crops, more significant shipments, and greater prosperity all along their lines.

Mr. H. B. Fullerton, Director of Agricultural Development of the Long Island Railroad, is one of the pioneers in this movement. In an article entitled "Reclaiming Waste Land on Long Island," his wife, Edith Loring Fullerton, graphically describes the use of Dynamite in preparing wasteland for cultivation.

How Can Dupont Help You?

Dupont has been making and selling explosives for more than a hundred years. We maintain a highly skilled corps of chemists, explosive specialists, and field representatives whose sole duties are to study conditions and devise means for handling them. Bear in mind that the age, reputation, and high standing of this Company are ample assurance that any statements made by us are conservative and based on long and varied experience.

In any case, please read "Handbook of Explosives for Farmers, Planters, and Ranchers," we believe that you will understand how simple, safe, and economical the use of "Red Cross" Dynamite is and that you will find many ways to save and make money with its aid.

This is some fascinating information from Dupont. Keep in mind that this information is from 1910. The information contained here is for general information purposes only.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Co.


November 1910


Hophead Jon

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