A common misconception is that the tractor was the sole reason for the demise of the working horse on the farm. This is not entirely the case, the loss of arable land in many areas meant there was simply no need for having as many horses on the farm. Ever since the Great Agricultural Depression of the late nineteenth century farmers were reducing the amount of land that went under the plough. From 1879 onwards, times were financially challenging for many farmers. Many chose more extensive farming methods, such as sheep farming or rearing beef cattle, which required much less labour as compared to arable farming. What is surprising in the period from 1870-1910, the number of horses used in agriculture actually increased from 966,000 to 1,000,137.
The tractor in 1914 was still in its development. . Steam ploughs with a single or double engine had some success, but the horse was still providing the most power in the field. Tractors became the focus of many farmers because although the horse was still very numerous, horses, like men were necessary for use by the army. Half the steam ploughs were thought to be laid idle in Great Britain due to the lack of both labour and skills required to use them. Prices of agricultural produce increased due to a higher demand, and the farmer was able to consider investing in modern machinery.
 M.A.F.F, A Century of Agricultural Statistics, Great Britain 1866-1966, p.61.
 Ibid, the acreage of wheat in Great Britain fell in the period 1866-1938 from 3,350 000 acres to 1,923,000. Barley in the same period also fell from 2,237 000 acres to 984,000, p.34.
 J.Brown, Agriculture in England, A Survey of Farming 1870-1947, p.1.
 M.A.F.F, p.129.
In 1925 there were only 14, 565 tractors in England and Wales used for field work. The Agricultural Output of England and Wales 1925, cited in P.E Dewey, British Agriculture In The First World War, p.60
 P.E Dewey, British Agriculture in The First World War, p.60.
 Ibid, p.61.