Carving Out a New Dust Bowl

Sodbusting is changing the face of Great Plains farming

Earlier this month 500-h.p. diesel tractors, brand-named Big Bud 525 and Steiger Panther, pushed 60-ft.-wide chisel plows into the gentle prairie around the hamlet of Winnett, Mont., quickly transforming what once was Wayne Bratten's 28,000-acre ranch into a raw wound of overturned earth. Eastern Colorado Wheat Farmer Emmett Linnebur became a part owner of the Crow Rock Ranch near Miles City, Mont., and used a fleet of ten supertractors to tear into 50,000 of its acres for wheat planting. In recent years, tractors have...

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