The plough (BrE) or plow (AmE; see spelling differences; /ˈplaʊ/) is a tool (or machine) used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture.

The primary purpose of ploughing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying weeds, the remains of previous crops, and both crop and weed seeds, allowing them to break down. It also aerates the soil, allows it to hold moisture better and provides a seed-free medium for planting an alternate crop. In modern use, a ploughed field is typically left to dry out, and is then harrowed before planting. Ploughs were initially human powered, but the process became considerably more efficient once animals were pressed into service. The first animal powered ploughs were undoubtedly pulled by oxen, and later in many areas by horses (generally draught horses) and mules, although various other animals have been used for this purpose. In industrialised countries, the first mechanical means of pulling a plough were steam-powered (ploughing engines or steam tractors), but these were gradually superseded by internal-combustion-powered tractors. In the past two decades plough use has reduced in some areas (where soil damage and erosion are problems), in favour of shallower ploughing and other less invasive tillage techniques. Modern competitions take place for ploughing enthusiasts like the National Ploughing Championships in the UK.

Read more about PloughEtymology, Parts, Advantages and Disadvantages

Other articles related to "plough":

Stump-jump Plough
... The stump-jump plough is a kind of plough invented in South Australia in the late 19th century by Richard Bowyer Smith to solve the particular problem of ...
Clarence Herbert Smith
... Smith created the first stump-jump plough, entitled the Vixen, in 1876 ... The plough consisted of any number of hinged shares when the blade encountered an underground obstacle, it would rise out of the ground ... a little unorthodox, it proved remarkably effective, and was dubbed the "stump-jump" plough ...
Alfred George Gardiner - Works
... on the Shore (writing as "Alpha of the Plough") (1916) Windfalls (as "Alpha of the Plough") (1920) Leaves in the Wind (as "Alpha of the Plough") (1920) The Anglo-American Future (1920) Life ...
South Warnborough - History - Church, Manor, Plough
... In the book Church, Manor, Plough - Volume 1 of the History of South Warnborough written by John Simpson in 1946, he details a statement made on 28 September 1822 by William Cobbett who was ...
Plough - Advantages and Disadvantages
... Ploughing leaves very little crop residue on the surface, which otherwise could reduce both wind and water erosion ... Over-ploughing can lead to the formation of hardpan ...

Famous quotes containing the word plough:

    We grant no dukedoms to the few,
    We hold like rights and shall;—
    Equal on Sunday in the pew,
    On Monday in the mall.
    For what avail the plough or sail,
    Or land or life, if freedom fail?
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    With plough and spade, and hoe and loom,
    Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
    And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
    England be your sepulchre.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

    And so we plough along, as the fly said to the ox.
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)