A plow is a farming tool and a tillage system used to prepare the soil by loosening and turning it before planting or sowing the seeds. In olden times, plows were pulled by animals. Ancient wooden plows were used across Asia, Africa, and even Europe.
Over the years, plowing methods have changed and improved significantly. Instead of being pulled by an animal, it is now mounted on a tractor. Farmers need to be acquainted with this farming implement, especially when looking for the necessary plow parts for sale.
The Difference between Plowing and Tilling
Plowing is an essential step in farming. People have been plowing their fields since time immemorial. Most people use plowing and tilling interchangeably, but technically, they are two different processes.
Tilling is preparing the soil through mechanical agitation. This can include stirring, digging, and overturning the earth. Tilling keeps the ground healthy and primed for the next planting season. Tilling does not dig deep into the soil and is usually done on the top twelve inches of soil.
Plowing, on the other hand, digs deeper into the soil and turns it over. It breaks the seedbed so that the planted seeds will have a higher chance of growing. Plowing breaks through the soil’s hard structure so that the roots of the plants can develop freely and easily. It also improves the drainage of the earth.
Farmers plow to prevent the growth of weeds, to bury crop residue and increase its decomposition rate, and to add nutrients to the soil. Plowing also helps increase the soil’s oxygen content by exposing it to the air.
Types of Plows
There are many types of plows for farmers to choose from. These plows are mainly suited for poorly drained soils, and they make a well-tilled seedbed. Each type has its own unique benefit that serves different farming needs.
- Mould Board Plows. Also known as M.B. Plows, they are one of the oldest agricultural instruments used to break, lift, and turn the soil using a curved plate. The principle of mouldboard plow operation is quite old. Wooden plows were used throughout Asia and Africa for thousands of years. Modern mouldboard plows now use self-cleaning steel as its mouldboard. A moldboard plow can be trailed, mounted, or semi-mounted on a tractor. It is designed to work on any type of soil and is used for tough plowing jobs for its high performance and deeper penetration. It completely inverts the soil, pulverizes it, and up-root all weeds and crop residues to bury them beneath the earth.
- Disc Plow. A disc plow consists of a series of inclined disc blades mounted individually on a frame. Disc plows are suitable for hard, dry, loose, stony, or sticky soils. It can be used to plow open new fields to process rough and hard areas. Like the mouldboard plow, a disc plow is also used for soil breaking, lifting, and turning. In addition, it can also be used for soil mixing. Compared to a moldboard plow, a disc plow is much cheaper to maintain.
- Rotary Plow. A rotary plow, like a disc plow, consists of a series of blades. These blades are mounted on a power-driven shaft. There are three types of rotary plows commonly available: pull-type, tractor mounted, and self-propelled. The self-propelled rotary plows are typically used in smaller farm gardens where the farmer or operator walks alongside the plow. It is used to break the soil and make it soft, and to eliminate weeds.
- Chisel Plow. When you want deep plowing with minimal soil disruption, then the chisel plow is the ideal choice. The primary use of a chisel plow is to loosen and aerate hard and dry soil and to reclaim land for agricultural use. Unlike the previous plows discussed, a chisel plow will not turn the soil. It is perfect to reduce soil erosion, so the soil effectively keeps organic residues.
Benefits of a Plow
Farmers have been plowing the soil for a variety of reasons. Here are the main benefits of plowing that have made it an invaluable farming process for centuries.
1. It effectively prepares and breaks the soil for the seeds.
2. It helps improve soil nutrient content by mixing organic crop residues with the soil.
3. It enhances the oxygen content of the soil. Low oxygen concentration in the soil can affect the plant’s nutrient and water intake.
4. It effectively breaks up weed roots and prevents it from growing back.
Farming is an essential tool that has helped civilizations thrive across centuries. Farming methods have grown over the years, with machines taking the heavy loads off of humans and animals. Every farming requirement is different and every farmer has different preferences. Choosing the right plowing equipment for your farm can make it healthier and more fruitful.