Agricultural implement used for tilling the soil. The plough dates from about 3500 BC, when oxen were used to pull a simple wooden blade, or ard. In about 500 BC the iron ploughshare came into use. By about AD 1000 horses as well as oxen were being used to pull wheeled ploughs, equipped with a ploughshare for cutting a furrow, a blade for forming the walls of the furrow (called a coulter), and a mouldboard to turn the furrow. Steam ploughs came into use in some areas in the 1860s, superseded half a century later by tractor-drawn ploughs. The modern plough consists of many ‘bottoms’, each comprising a curved ploughshare and angled mouldboard. The bottom is designed so that it slices into the ground and turns the soil over.
The plough is a tool 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 and the remains of previous crops, allowing them to break down. It also aerates the soil, and allows it to hold moisture better. In modern use, a ploughed field is typically left to dry out, and is then harrowed before planting.
Ploughs were initially pulled by oxen, and later in many areas by horses. In industrialised countries, the first mechanical means of pulling a plough used steam-power (ploughing engines or steam tractors), but these were gradually superseded by internal-combustion-powered tractors.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. Ploughs are even used under the sea, for the laying of cables, as well as preparing the earth for side-scan sonar in a process used in oil exploration.
Frame, Three point attach, Height regulator, Knife or coulter, Chisel, Share, also called the plowshare, Mouldboard. Other portions include the frog, runner, landside, shin, trashboard and handles.