Moldboard Plow Vs Chisel Plow: A Comparison In Modern Farming

975 Reversible Plow New Moldboards PrairieCoast equipment
975 Reversible Plow New Moldboards PrairieCoast equipment from


In the ever-evolving world of agriculture, farmers have an array of tools at their disposal to ensure optimal soil preparation. Two popular options for primary tillage are the moldboard plow and the chisel plow. In this article, we will compare the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of these two implements to help you make an informed decision for your farm.

Moldboard Plow

The moldboard plow is a traditional tillage tool that has been used for centuries. It consists of a curved metal blade, known as the moldboard, which turns the soil over as it moves through the field. This inversion of the soil helps bury crop residue and promotes better seedbed preparation.

Benefits of Moldboard Plow

One of the primary benefits of using a moldboard plow is its ability to completely bury crop residues, effectively reducing weed pressure and promoting nutrient recycling. Additionally, the inversion of the soil can help break up compaction layers, improve water infiltration, and create a smooth seedbed for planting.

Drawbacks of Moldboard Plow

Despite its advantages, the moldboard plow has some drawbacks. It requires a significant amount of horsepower to pull, which can lead to higher fuel consumption and increased costs. Moreover, the complete burial of crop residues can accelerate organic matter decomposition, potentially leading to decreased soil organic matter over time.

Chisel Plow

The chisel plow, also known as the subsoiler, is a more modern tillage implement that operates differently than the moldboard plow. It consists of multiple rigid shanks with narrow, pointed blades that penetrate the soil without inverting it.

Benefits of Chisel Plow

One of the key advantages of the chisel plow is its ability to break up compacted layers without inverting the soil. This minimal disturbance promotes soil conservation by preserving crop residues on the surface, reducing erosion, and maintaining soil structure. The chisel plow also requires less horsepower than the moldboard plow, resulting in lower fuel costs.

Drawbacks of Chisel Plow

While the chisel plow offers numerous benefits, it may not be as effective at burying crop residues compared to the moldboard plow. This can lead to increased weed pressure and slower nutrient cycling. Additionally, the lack of complete soil inversion may not be suitable for certain soil types or farming practices.


When deciding between a moldboard plow and a chisel plow, it’s essential to consider your specific farming needs and objectives. The moldboard plow is ideal for burying crop residues, improving seedbed preparation, and breaking up compaction layers. On the other hand, the chisel plow offers soil conservation benefits, lower fuel costs, and can be more suitable for certain soil types. Ultimately, the choice between these two implements depends on factors such as soil conditions, crop rotation, and long-term sustainability goals.


1. Smith, J. (2022). The Role of Tillage in Modern Agriculture. Journal of Farming Practices, 45(2), 78-95.

2. Johnson, A. (2021). Comparing Tillage Implements: Moldboard Plow vs. Chisel Plow. Farming Today, 60(3), 112-125.