Chisel Plow Vs Moldboard Plow: Which One Is Right For Your Farm?

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When it comes to tillage practices, farmers have several options to choose from. Two popular choices are the chisel plow and the moldboard plow. Both of these implements are commonly used for breaking up soil and preparing it for planting. However, they have distinct characteristics and are suited for different farming conditions. In this article, we will explore the differences between the chisel plow and the moldboard plow, and help you decide which one is the right choice for your farm in 2023.

The Chisel Plow

The chisel plow is a tillage implement that consists of several rigid, pointed shanks mounted on a toolbar. These shanks penetrate the soil, breaking it up and creating deep channels. The chisel plow is often used in conservation tillage systems, as it disturbs the soil less compared to the moldboard plow. It is particularly effective in fields with high levels of crop residue or where erosion is a concern.

One of the advantages of using a chisel plow is that it helps improve soil drainage. The deep channels created by the shanks allow water to infiltrate the soil more easily, reducing the risk of waterlogging. Additionally, the chisel plow helps break up compacted soil layers, improving root penetration and nutrient absorption by the plants. This can lead to higher crop yields.

The Moldboard Plow

The moldboard plow, on the other hand, is a more traditional tillage implement. It consists of a curved metal blade, known as the moldboard, which is designed to turn over the soil as it is pulled through the field. This flipping action buries crop residue and brings fresh soil to the surface. The moldboard plow is commonly used in conventional tillage systems, where the goal is to fully invert the soil.

One of the main advantages of using a moldboard plow is that it helps control weeds. By burying crop residue and weed seeds, it reduces their contact with sunlight, preventing them from germinating. This can lead to a significant reduction in weed pressure, reducing the need for herbicides. However, it is important to note that the moldboard plow can also lead to soil erosion, especially on sloping fields.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between a chisel plow and a moldboard plow, several factors should be taken into account. Firstly, consider the soil type and condition. If you have heavy clay soils that tend to compact easily, a chisel plow may be the better option, as it helps break up compacted layers. On the other hand, if you have light sandy soils, a moldboard plow may be more suitable for incorporating organic matter and improving soil structure.

Secondly, consider the residue management needs of your farm. If you have high levels of crop residue that need to be managed, a chisel plow can effectively incorporate the residue into the soil without fully burying it. This can help improve soil organic matter content and reduce erosion. However, if residue management is not a concern and weed control is a priority, a moldboard plow can provide better control by burying the residue and weed seeds deeper.


Both the chisel plow and the moldboard plow have their own advantages and disadvantages. The chisel plow is better suited for conservation tillage systems and fields with high residue levels, while the moldboard plow is more effective for fully inverting the soil and controlling weeds. Consider the soil type, residue management needs, and overall tillage goals of your farm before making a decision. By choosing the right implement, you can optimize your tillage practices and improve the productivity of your land in 2023.