Facebook  YouTube
Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Before starting to plow a field much time can be saved if the field is first staked out in uniform width lands. Methods that leave dead furrows running down the slope should be avoided, as water may collect in them and cause serious erosion. The method of starting at the sides and plowing around and around to finish in the center of the field will, if practiced year after year, create low areas at the dead furrows.

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Fig 1 – Method of laying out field for plowing.

Plowing Level Unterraced Fields

If the field is comparatively level, it can be advantageously plowed in lands. First, headlands approximately twice the length of the tractor and plow should be staked off on all sides. Mark out the headland by plowing shallow once around the field, as indicated in Fig. 1, leaving the comers round to aid in plowing the headland at the finish. Stake out the lands in uniform widths. A multiple of the width of the capacity of the plow should be used. A good device for measuring lands is the A frame shown in Fig. 2. Plow the first furrows through the middle of the second land, then back on the outside of the first land. Continue this procedure until turning is difficult without making a figure-of-eight tum, then swing over and open up another land and finish the first land on the return trips (Fig. 1). When all the lands have been plowed, the headland is plowed by either throwing the furrows toward or away from the outside.

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Fig 2 – An A frame for measuring fields in place of stepping off.

Plowing Terraced Fields

Areas between terraces are irregular in width and the most simple but undesirable method is to plow the whole area between two terraces as one land. This method leaves a dead furrow midway between terraces and often results in serious erosion. The most logical way of plowing terraced land is to use a two-way plow. Begin on the down-hill side of the terrace, throw all furrows up hill, and continue back and forth until the channel of the next terrace down hill is reached. This method will leave the dead furrow in the channel and aid in clearing it of accumulations of silt. The method also aids in counteracting the down-hill movement of the soil.

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Fig 3 – Method of plowing a triangular field.

Plowing Triangular and Irregular-shaped Fields

The simplest method of plowing triangular or irregular shaped fields is to bisect the angles, leaving a strip of equal width on each side of the line unplowed so that all turning can be done on firm soil (Fig. 3). This method will, if practiced, cause the development of deep dead furrows. The use of two-way plows on irregular-shaped fields will leave no dead furrows extending inward from the comers.

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT