Great Plains, 1880-1920
For a farmer to be able to plant different crops on his land, it
is first necessary to eliminate the natural vegetation. This is initially
accomplished through the use of a moldboard plow. The moldboard plow
has one or more metal shares which cut into the ground, and overturn
the surface vegetation. This action exposes the underlying layer of
soil humus, and begins the decomposition of the overturned plant material.
Moldboard plows are inherently required on unbroken land, for without
one, a farmer would not be able to plant a viable crop on his land.
The competition from the undesired natural vegetation would starve
the crop for necessary nutrients, and as a result the yield of the
farmer's crop would be drastically reduced. The plowing process oftentimes
occurs twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. While
spring plowing is accomplished to break up the soil for spring planting,
fall plowing is usually done to destroy plant diseases and insects
that use the previous year's crop as their sustenance.
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Return to Implements Used on the
Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak