Mole Plough

We did a five mile walk round Little Walden, Essex, yesterday.  High up on a big open field an ancient caterpillar tractor hauled a mole plough slowly and noisily back and forth. A mole plough, or subsoiler, is used for deep tillage, loosening and breaking up soil at depths, as much as a metre, below the levels worked by conventional ploughs.  The depth depends on the soil profile.  The aim is to improve crop growth where soil is compacted – it’s nothing to do with the eradication of moles.  Critics of the technique say that it just compresses the soil to the side and creates a vertical hardpan.  This tractor has long since given up hauling anything.

Photo: Little Walden, Essex, September 2107

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