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How to Identify a John Deere Plow

The John Deere company, one of the leading manufacturers of plows, tractors and other farm equipment, dates back to 1837. Its founder, blacksmith and inventor John Deere, built the first self-scouring plow from nothing more than an idea and a scrap piece of polished steel from a broken saw blade, "changing the face of agriculture for all time." In 1850, the company produced 1,600 plows, soon adding other farm equipment to its product list. Identifying a plow as a model from the company requires looking for specific traits associated with John Deere equipment.

Examine the plow carefully and look for any traces of green paint. John Deere green is a very specific shade of deep green that is a trademark of the company. Modern equipment has bright green metal pieces with yellow rims inside the wheels of the plow.

Look for “John Deere Moline Ill” printed somewhere on the plow. Early on in the history of the company, it used that simple monogram to identify its plows. The 1857 “Improved Clipper” plow had the information clearly shown on one side of the plow’s center.

Check the plow for a metal plate, which John Deere uses for any identifying information. According to the Retired Tractors website, the company used aluminum in the years around World War II. Rusty tags are often a sign of equipment created during the War years.

Locate the serial number on the plow, typically found on the underside of the plow. Contact John Deere with its serial number and ask for information on the plow. The company keeps records of serial numbers to help customers find parts for their farm equipment.

Compare the plow to photos on the John Deere website, looking for similarities between the two pieces of machinery. John Deere has photos of currently available plows on its website. For older pieces, look at websites that specialize in antique or older equipment, such as Yesterday’s Tractor Co.


The John Deere green color is not the only defining feature of a John Deere plow. A former owner may have painted the plow green to match their tractor, or to make it look like a real John Deere piece.

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