Home Crops In Kenya Articles Moldboard Plough: A Comprehensive Guide To Its Uses And Benefits

Moldboard Plough: A Comprehensive Guide To Its Uses And Benefits


Moldboard ploughs are one of the oldest and most traditional agricultural tools used in farming. They were invented in the 18th century and have been used ever since. The ploughs consist of a curved blade that is attached to a frame and pulled by a tractor or other vehicle. The blade is designed to turn over the soil and bury any weeds or other unwanted vegetation that may be present.

The use of moldboard ploughs has been a popular practice among farmers for centuries. The ploughs are particularly useful in areas where the soil is heavy and difficult to work with. They help to break up the soil and create a more fertile environment for crops to grow. Moldboard ploughs are also useful in areas where the soil is compacted, as they help to loosen it up and improve the soil structure.

History of the Moldboard Plough

The moldboard plough is a farming tool that has been used for centuries. It was invented in China in the 2nd century BC and was later introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages. The plough was a significant improvement over earlier designs, such as the ard, which was a simple digging stick that scratched the soil.

The moldboard plough was more efficient because it could turn over the soil, burying weeds and other plant material while also aerating the soil. The plough was pulled by animals, such as horses or oxen, and was used to prepare fields for planting crops. It was particularly useful in areas with heavy soil or where the soil had become compacted over time.

Over time, the design of the moldboard plough evolved, with improvements made to the shape of the moldboard and the addition of other features, such as the coulter, which cut through the soil ahead of the ploughshare. By the 18th century, the moldboard plough had become an essential tool for farmers, and it remained in use until the 20th century when it was gradually replaced by more modern machinery.

Design and Components

The moldboard plough is a traditional agricultural tool that has been used for centuries to prepare the soil for planting crops. It is made up of several components that work together to achieve its purpose. These components include:

  • Moldboard: This is the curved metal plate that turns the soil over and breaks it up. It is attached to the ploughshare and is responsible for creating the furrow.
  • Ploughshare: This is the pointed metal piece that slices through the soil and creates the initial cut. It is attached to the frame of the plough and is responsible for breaking up the soil.
  • Beam: This is the long wooden or metal bar that connects the ploughshare to the yoke or hitch. It is responsible for distributing the weight of the plough and keeping it level.
  • Yoke or Hitch: This is the part of the plough that attaches it to the draft animal or tractor. It is responsible for pulling the plough through the soil.

The design of the moldboard plough has evolved over time to become more efficient and effective. Early ploughs were made entirely of wood and were pulled by oxen or horses. Later versions were made of metal and could be pulled by tractors. Today, there are many different types of moldboard ploughs available, each designed for specific soil types and farming practices.

Overall, the moldboard plough remains an important tool for farmers around the world. Its simple design and effective function make it a valuable addition to any farming operation.

How to Use a Moldboard Plough

Using a moldboard plough can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to it. Here are some steps to follow:

  • First, make sure the plough is properly attached to the tractor and that the depth is set correctly.
  • Start by driving the tractor and plough to the starting point of the field you want to plough.
  • Engage the plough and lower it gradually into the ground.
  • Drive the tractor forward, allowing the plough to cut through the soil.
  • Make sure to keep the plough level and straight, and avoid going too fast or too slow.
  • When you reach the end of the row, lift the plough out of the ground and turn the tractor around.
  • Repeat the process, making sure to overlap the previous row by about 20% to ensure complete coverage.

It’s important to note that the depth of the plough should be adjusted based on the soil type and condition. If the soil is hard or compacted, you may need to go deeper, while softer soil may require a shallower depth.

Soil Type Plough Depth
Heavy clay 8-10 inches
Sandy loam 6-8 inches
Loamy soil 7-9 inches

It’s also important to maintain a consistent speed and avoid sudden turns or stops, which can cause the plough to dig too deep or leave unploughed areas.

moldboard plough
moldboard plough

By following these steps and adjusting the plough depth based on soil conditions, you can ensure a successful ploughing process with a moldboard plough.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The moldboard plough is a popular tillage tool that has been used for centuries. It has a number of advantages and disadvantages that farmers should be aware of before deciding whether to use it on their fields.


  • The moldboard plough is highly effective at turning over soil and burying crop residues. This helps to reduce weed growth and improve soil fertility.
  • The plough can also help to break up hardpan and improve soil structure, which can enhance water infiltration and reduce soil erosion.
  • By burying crop residues, the plough can also help to reduce disease and pest problems in subsequent crops.
  • The moldboard plough is relatively easy to use and requires minimal maintenance, making it a cost-effective option for many farmers.
  • Finally, the plough can be used in a variety of soil types and conditions, making it a versatile tool for farmers around the world.


  • One of the main disadvantages of the moldboard plough is that it can lead to soil compaction, especially if used repeatedly in the same field.
  • The plough can also be slow and labor-intensive, especially on larger fields.
  • Using the plough can also lead to increased fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which can have negative environmental impacts.
  • In addition, the plough can disrupt soil ecosystems and reduce soil biodiversity, which can have long-term negative effects on soil health.
  • Finally, the plough can be expensive to purchase and maintain, which may make it cost-prohibitive for some farmers.

Maintenance and Care

Like any other farm implement, the moldboard plough requires proper maintenance and care to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Here are a few tips on how to maintain and care for your moldboard plough:

  • Regular cleaning: After use, remove any dirt, debris, or plant material from the plough. This will prevent rust and corrosion and ensure that the plough is ready for use the next time.
  • Proper storage: Store the plough in a dry and covered area to protect it from the elements. If possible, keep it off the ground to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Sharpening the blades: The blades of the plough should be sharp to ensure that they cut through the soil with minimal resistance. Sharpen the blades regularly, and replace them if they become too worn out.
  • Inspecting the plough: Regularly inspect the plough for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Replace any damaged or worn out parts as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

By following these simple maintenance and care tips, you can ensure that your moldboard plough remains in good condition and performs optimally for many years to come.


In conclusion, moldboard ploughs are an important tool for farmers looking to prepare their land for planting. The ploughs work by turning over the soil and exposing fresh, nutrient-rich earth to the surface. This can help to improve crop yields and ensure that plants have the best possible chance of thriving.

While there are many different types of ploughs available, moldboard ploughs are particularly well-suited to certain types of soil. They are especially useful for breaking up hard, compacted earth, and can be used to create furrows that are ideal for planting seeds.

One of the key benefits of moldboard ploughs is that they can help to control weeds and other unwanted vegetation. By turning over the soil, the plough can bury weed seeds and other pests deep beneath the surface, preventing them from sprouting and competing with crops for nutrients and sunlight.

Overall, moldboard ploughs are a valuable tool for farmers looking to maximize their crop yields and ensure the long-term health of their land. While they may require more effort and time than other types of ploughs, the benefits they offer in terms of improved soil health and weed control make them well worth the investment.

Also Read: Use Of Chisel Or Disc Plough In Farming

Sources: Eltom, AE Farid, et al. “Effect of trash board on moldboard plough performance at low speed and under two straw conditions.” Journal of Terramechanics 59 (2015): 27-34. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022489815000142

Jeshvaghani, Hamed Shahmirzae, et al. “Comparison and optimization of graphical methods of moldboard plough bottom design using computational simulation.” J. Am. Sci 9.6 (2013): 414-420. Link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hamed-Shahmirzae-Jeshvaghani/publication/286601964_Comparison_and_Optimization_of_Graphical_Methods_of_Moldboard_Plough_Bottom_Design_Using_Computational_Simulation/links/566c06e408ae62b05f0825d4/Comparison-and-Optimization-of-Graphical-Methods-of-Moldboard-Plough-Bottom-Design-Using-Computational-Simulation.pdf

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John Kamau is a highly experienced agriculture expert based in Kenya. He holds a degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and has over 15 years of experience in the field. Throughout his career, John has been committed to promoting sustainable agriculture practices in Kenya. He has worked with small-scale farmers in rural communities to improve their crop yields, implement irrigation systems, and adopt environmentally friendly farming practices. John is also an expert in the use of technology in agriculture. He has worked with organizations to develop mobile applications that help farmers access information about weather patterns, market prices, and best practices for crop management. In addition to his work in Kenya, John has also been involved in agricultural projects in other African countries, including Tanzania and Uganda. He has served as a consultant for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and has been recognized for his work with numerous awards.


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