Ploughing is a method of deep tillage which results in a complete inversion of the soil. The plough will turn over the upper layer of the soil in a single pass, which can bring fresh nutrients to the surface. It also buries weeds, trash, and the remains of previous crops, leaving an exposed surface that is highly porous and ready to be prepared for seeding. Ploughing is mostly carried out in the winter months.
For most of recorded history, the plough has been a central theme. Recognised for being an efficient method for preparing large areas of soil to be grown upon, it has no equal and is a true giant among the many tools available to farmers around the world. A plough is designed to assist in the initial cultivation of the soil, preparing the ground by turning and loosening the soil. For centuries, ploughs were drawn by working animals such as horses or cattle – or even by people. The first-ever tractors were steam-powered “ploughing engines” that worked in pairs to pull a plough across the land.
There are 3 main types of plough:
As the tractor draws the implement through the soil, the plough creates long trenches of soil known as furrows. This can then be left to dry out and then levelled and further broken down in preparation for planting by use of a harrow.
There is a wide range of functionality to chose from or specify with modern ploughs. Variable furrow width is one feature, with either manual or hydraulic controls. Furrow ploughs can be fitted with skims, front furrow adjustment, discs, auto-reset feature, and on land/in-furrow configurations. Some of the recent ploughs such as the Kverneland i-plough are controllable from the tractor cab using an ISOBUS module.
Plough maintenance tends to be quite simple. Most of the wearing metal parts are easily replaceable, and in common with all farm equipment, the more advanced designs with a greater number of moving parts will require regular greasing and preventative maintenance to prevent any issues when in use.
How a plough performs is down in large part to the way in which it is set up. Refer to our blog for informative guides on this. We’re also going to be releasing more content soon on the effect of plough body types on performance – watch this space!
When you’re making an investment in such a key piece of farm equipment, it’s vital to know you’re getting the most appropriate took for your requirements. Not sure what plough will best suit your needs? Pick up the phone or come along to our farm for an informative chat with us! Hundreds of farmers have relied on AMTEC for years to give reliable advice and a fair deal.
The most popular brands of ploughs used in our country, all stocked by AMTEC, are as follows:
We also have a used plough buying guide to help you decide
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The first consideration when buying a plough should be the ground it will be working, for stony ground consider an auto-reset machine to save stoppages, the soil type also dictated which mouldboard type will work best. The horsepower of your tractor will obviously determine the size of the plough you can pull. There are also other options and considerations which are mostly to make it easier for the user such as hydraulic vari-width and hydraulic front furrow. If you are still stuck on which plough to buy, consider reading our used plough buying guide.
To protect the legs of a cultivator or plough from damage, many machines will have shear bolts. These bolts pass through the leg and frame of the machine and are designed to snap when the legs come in contact with a rock or other unmoving object. The idea behind this is to save the frame and leg from bending, using an incorrect shear bolt and result in the bolt not shearing and expensive damage occurring to the machine.
Ploughing is a labour-intensive process, and it is tempting to ditch it in favour of much wider cultivation machinery, but ploughing is a very important part of the cultivation system. Ploughing does something that no other cultivator does; it completely inverts the soil burying the trash and weeds. Ploughing every few years and vastly improve control of stubborn weeds such as blackgrass.
It depends on where you are – plough is the preferred spelling of the word in forms of English found outside North America, whereas plow is the preferred spelling in the United States and Canada.
Ploughs come in a multitude of different types. The main four types of ploughs are disc ploughs, mould-board ploughs, reversible mould-board ploughs and harrow ploughs.
A plough is an important agricultural tool, which is used to turn and break up soil providing nutrients to the surface, while burying crop residues and weeds below.