Ploughing - introduction

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Ploughing is the first preparation for planting

A field is normally ploughed when a seedbed is required and:

A properly set up plough will cut and turn the soil so that all of the weeds, grass and crop residue are buried with not a scrap of green showing.

Originally ploughs turned only one furrow at a time as that was all a team of horses could manage. On light soils a 50 horsepower tractor can turn four or more furrows at a time and the most powerful tractors may draw many more.

There is always a trade off between the number of furrows ploughed at a time and the speed at which the plough can be drawn. The object is to turn the whole field in as little time as possible as adverse weather can make the soil unsuitable for ploughing for weeks on end.

There are growing methods that do not require the land to be ploughed every year although even they benefit from occasional ploughing and are best begun on land that has been turned recently.

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