A bottom plow is a shovel-shaped tillage tool used in farming. The bottom plow, also referred to as a moldboard or breaking plow, is essential for preparing new fields.
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The bottom plow has four basic parts. The moldboard turns the soil; the plow point cuts the bottom of the furrow; the plow shear cuts the side of the furrow; and the tag wheel helps support the plow. Optional components such as coulters, notch-edged blades and turnouts make the job easier.
Bottom plows break up soil in fields and gardens. They turn the topsoil and vegetation over, aerating and exposing the underlying nutrient rich soil. Spring plowing prepares the field for planting and fall plowing kills off destructive pests.
In 1720, England first produced the successful and popular iron-sheathed moldboard. Thomas Jefferson and Jethro Wood created a cast iron plow in 1819. Their plow worked great in the Eastern U.S. but not in the Midwest. John Lane and John Deere developed steel plows in the 1830s that successfully plowed the fields of the American Midwest.