Farming has been around for centuries. One of the most basic tools in farming is the plow. The plow is the tool that a farmer utilizes to till his field. Tilling is what is done to get the field ready for planting. Without tilling, there is no planting; without a plow, there is no tilling; this is why the plow is such a critical tool to the farmer. Over the centuries, plows have advanced dramatically and now there are many types of plows available to the modern farmer.
The moldboard plow is an ancient plow that is still in use on small farms today. The reason for this is that the moldboard plow is very efficient; many other types of plows are based on the moldboard. The moldboard plow consists of a single large blade that enters the ground vertically. The plow is pulled through the ground by horse, ox, human or tractor power. While the blade moves through the earth, it cuts, raises, turns and aerates the soil all in one pass. If solid fertilizer is added to the field before it is plowed, the moldboard plow will also incorporate the fertilizer into the soil.
The reversible plow is another version of the moldboard type of plow. The difference is that this type of plow uses two, four or more blades. One blade or set of blades turns the soil to the left while the other blade or set of blades turns the soil to the right. One blade or set of blades is used at a time. One furrow is done with one blade. At the end of the furrow, the blades are switched, and a furrow is done in the other direction. These are generally large, heavy plows that need to have the power of a tractor in order to be operated.
A sub-soiling plow is another large plow that will need the power of a tractor for proper use. The purpose of a sub-soiling plow is to break up the ground beneath the top layer of a field without bringing the soil to the surface of the field. This is necessary because some modern chemicals that are used in farming cause hard crust of soil to form under a field, and this has to be broken up in order for plants to grow properly. In addition, drainage is greatly improved by plowing a field with a sub-soiling plow.
This is a very common type of plow that is used for the initial plowing of brush-covered fields or plowing of dry, rocky soil. Farmers will sometimes refer to plowing with a disc plow as discing. This plow uses a large concave steel disc to break up the soil. The discs are slightly inclined at a backwards angle, which turn the soil as the ground is broken by the disc. The turning action of a disc plow is not as dramatic as that of a moldboard plow. Depending on the situation and location of the land, a moldboard type of plow will be used after a disc plow is used.