As with all my blogs, I like to talk about machinery and equipment. So this one is going to be no exception, in this edition I am going to talk about the plough and ploughing.
Ploughing is a type of cultivation and the purpose of ploughing is to turn over the top layer of soil bring all the fresh nutrients to the surface. As the ground is being turned over it is also burying all the weeds, remains of last years crop, allowing them all to break down under the surface. Once ploughed, you normally leave the ground for a couple of days to dry, and then you can harrow the ground to produce a finer seed bed.
The first ever ploughs used to be human powered, but once animals started to be used, this became a lot easier and efficient. The first animals that used to pull ploughs used to be oxen, and then in many areas the use of horses became more popular. It was said that a horseman and his team of horses could plough an acre a day, and in that day he would walk 11 miles whilst ploughing.
Ploughs also could be pulled mechanically, This was first done by a team of ploughing engines. These were specific traction engines that had a winch on the underside of the engine. One engine would be one side of the field and the other engine the other side. The plough would then be connected to each winch cable and then would be pulled up and down the field.
As you can see from the picture below (Picture 8) this lists all the bits on a horse drawn plough. Here is a brief description of all the parts:-
Hake – Is connected to the set of whipple-trees and you also use this to set the angle of draught.
Furrow Wheel – Sits in the furrow against the furrow wall and determines the your depth.
Land Wheel – Sits on top of the land and give you stability.
Skimmer – Clears trash into the bottom of the furrow so it is buried by the cut slice of land.
Coulter – This acts with the share to cut the side wall of the cut slice of land so it folds over into the furrow.
Share – Aids in cutting into the ground to start the process of turning the cut slice.
Mouldboard – Lifts and turns the cut slice of soil.
Above you can see a Ransomes YL plough we still use on the farm today. Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries (also known as Ransomes, Ransomes, Sims & Head) based in Ipswich Suffolk, was a British agricultural machinery manufacturers producing a vast range of products including traction engines, ploughs, lawn mowers, combine harvesters and other farming machinery. They also manufactured aeroplanes during the First World War.
Once again I hope you have enjoyed another one of my machine orientated blogs, and I will now have to think hard of another bit of equipment I write about next time.
Ben Preston – Heritage Farming Apprentice