The Ard and the Mould Board Plough.

The word "ard" in Dutch translates to the word earth. The Dutch language derives from Anglo-Saxon origins so it is clearly an earth tool. To be precise it is an early plough. The ard pre dates the mould board plough.

The ard, or scratch plough consists of a wooden (sometimes metal tipped) lightweight spike that cuts a groove in soil of about 4 inches deep in which to sow seeds. This would be drawn by a beast of burden. It is pertinent to point out that the essence of ploughing is to prepare a seedbed for a planned crop.

A Photo to show the scale of the Ard.
The action of the mould board in turning over or inverting a complete furrow differs entirely from that of the ard. The ard differs from its antecedent the mould board plough in that it does not contain a mould board, a curved piece of metal or wood, held at an angle on the plough in order to turn the soil over which creates a deeper groove thus airing the soil.

Properly used the mould board plough fully inverts a furrow, leaving the surface bare. At the same time it can be used to bury surface manure or turn in relatively immobile fertilisers, such as marl and lime (known to have long standing use) and potash and phosphates.

The above 2 ploughs are associated with major agricultural changes. Ploughing reinforced the strip system. Ploughing by either the ard OR mould board plough led to increased productivity as a larger area of land could be sown by one man in less time.

An old Ard