What is a plow | Gardening On

The plow is one of the most suitable agricultural tools for primary tillage, that is, plowing and turning the land. It is true that as you go deeper into the ground, the resistance of the plow tool must increase, which means more pulling power with a consequent increase in fuel consumption. It appeared for the first time more than 5.000 years ago and it was a revolution when furrows were already being made for planting. In addition, it was created based on the hoe or shovel, but using it with animal traction, in fact it was one of the most important advances in knowledge of the time.

With varying degrees of success, it spread from the cradle of civilization, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and in Rome, it marked an epoch; the way the plow was used and improvements in its design continue to this day. The possibility of working at an angle and the positioning that allow to increase the depth of plowingwhich not only helps in sowing, but also makes the soil more spongy.

The plow today

The term “plow” refers to the process that allows true horizontal clods to be dislodged from the soil surface. These will then be overturned and crushed to return the soil to its initial phase and facilitate the passage of organic substances, guaranteeing space and nutrition for the new crop. The machines used for plowing are precisely defined “plows”, and are pulled by a high-powered tractor and are share and moldboard. With this technique, you can work at different depths.

Plows are machines that work the soil on the surface before sowing. They allow plowing, that is, removing the upper layer of the soil and preparing the soil for the next crop by aerating it and incorporating the residues of previous crops. Today, plows are available in many forms: heavy, light frames, mounted or semi-mounted, simple or reversible plows, stubble plows, etc. Before plowing, it is very important to check the condition of your equipment, the parts of your plow, but also your soil. Soil that is too wet is not optimal for plowingsince it is a soil sensitive to erosion, where light work is preferred.

When it comes to your farm equipment, the balance and pressure of all your tires, as well as the good condition of the lift and drive rear parts, are the first factors in the performance of your plow.. Depending on the working conditions on your plots (flat, uneven or mixed terrain), the axis of your third point will be approached differently (in fixed hole or light). To adjust it, there are three elements to take into account: depth (rear adjusting wheel and front lifting height), bottom out (thanks to the third point crank) and finally plumb (the position perpendicular to the ground of your plow) thanks to the front adjusting screw).

Why the plow is important

The objective of this process is, in fact, to eliminate the weeds and, above all, the vegetal residues of the previous croppushing them deeply so that they do not interfere with the growth of future seedlings. In this way it is possible to soften the soil and prepare it little by little to receive the next harvest.

When the plow is done

The plow is done after the harvest

Generally, plowing is done at the end of the harvest phase. Plowing can be done at different times of the year, although the best results are obtained in the intermediate seasons. In fact, with the autumn plow, the crop residues and organic fertilizers are buried in a contextual moment to the increase in rainfall and the drop in temperatures.

In this sense, a lower temperature implies freezing and thawing actions and, therefore, a rapid decomposition of the clods. As for the spring, in this case the plow has a mainly preventive purpose. It is done very shortly before sowing to avoid hardening of the soil caused by the progressive appearance of the sun and heat.

Plow benefits

There are many reasons why, even today, the plow turns out to be a very important technique for preparing the ground. Here are the main advantages that this processing method can bring.

  1. The ideal state of the soil is restored. Moving the earth, turning it over and leaving space on the surface for a “new” soil, which has not previously been intensively touched by cultivation, favors the birth and development of the future new plant.. The latter, in fact, will be able to find the right space to spread its roots in the ground.
  2. The new soil is waterproof and rich in oxygen. With the plow, the soil is renewed: consequently, its porosity increases, which is essential to ensure the passage of water, oxygen and other organic substances. In addition, the residues of the previous harvest, which are carried deep by the plow, become a source of food for the new plant.
  3. There is strict control over weeds. Moving the soil also means destroying weeds and reducing the activity of animal parasites that prevent or hinder the lush growth of the crop.

Disadvantages of the plow

The plow has several disadvantages

With technological innovation, the plow has increasingly become a topic of discussion by agronomists and farm managers. This technique also brings with it several drawbacks, which sometimes collide with a very current concept of eco-sustainability. These are the main disadvantages of plowing:

The soil is populated by microorganisms that have different needsDepending on the layer in which they are found: aerobic microorganisms live on the surface, which require a lot of oxygen to survive; going deeper, there are anaerobic bacteria and fungi, which suffer from contact with the air. It is clear that turning the soil means acting on the delicate balance of the microflora: over time, this causes significant damagewhich results in a progressive loss of soil fertility.

The considerable weight of the plow crushes the soil and creates a layer, the so-called ‘processing bark’.which, in the long run, gets deeper and deeper. This layer does not allow the passage of water and air and hinders the development of the root system of the new plant, gradually causing the loss of fertility in the soil.

Finally, consumes higher energy and economic consumption. Complementary works involve higher fuel costswith a greater environmental impact. In addition, plows require a high traction force and consequently specific tractors, which can also reach high costs.

What is a plow | Gardening On

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