Vard Terry
Now-retired President, Vard Terry, looks on beside a modern spreader. (Photo: The Holloway Group)

By Brian Milne, Vice President, Director of Marketing & Communications, The Holloway Group

The agriculture industry has done some remarkable things over the years.

Despite the agricultural evolution and ability to produce more food today than it ever has in our history, outsiders sometimes mislabel the ag industry as outdated and technophobic when it comes to its farming practices.

But if you’ve worked in or followed agriculture closely over the past couple of decades, you’ve seen just how far technology has come on our farms.

Looking back at Holloway’s 90 years working in Central California, we see that technological evolution first-hand in our photo archives.

Back in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Holloway spread gypsum and other soil amendments with pickup trucks that were outfitted with spreading mechanisms on the beds.

By the 1960s and 70s, Holloway had switched to larger, commercial-sized spreading trucks, but the process of spreading amendments across a field or orchard hadn’t changed that drastically. In fact, for the first 60 years, little changed with how we spread amendments here in California – other than the axle width and horsepower used.

Then came GPS technology in the mid-1990s, which drastically changed the accuracy and precision we spread amendments with today, with little compaction issues or impact on the crop or soil.

In recent years, variable rate technology has allowed tech-savvy managers – equipped with field sensor data, aerial maps, and other ag technologies – to apply inputs at different rates depending on soil type, soil/water/tissue analysis, and for different varieties. All of which have drastically helped improve soil and crop health while cutting down input costs, particularly in permanent crops.

Here’s a look back at how spreader technology has changed over the decades:

Holloway spreading gypsum over cotton by truck in the 1960s, when field crops were a dominant crop in Central California. (Photo: The Holloway Group)
By the 1970s, Holloway was using larger commercial trucks to spread gypsum in specialty crop types such as almonds, fruit tree orchards, and vineyards. (Photo: The Holloway Group)
Today, spreader trailers can deliver amendments right along the tree row and irrigation lines. (Photo: The Holloway Group)
Today’s tractors are also outfitted with precision GPS to ensure operators are efficient and delivering amendments exactly where they need to be for crop uptake. (Photo: The Holloway Group)

You can read more about California ag history as part of Holloway’s 90-year anniversary celebration by visiting online at

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