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
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