A plough (UK) or plow (US; both ) is a tool or farm implement used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting to loosen or turn the soil. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by working animals such as horses or cattle, but in modern times are drawn by tractors. A plough may be made of wood, iron, or steel frame with an attached blade or stick used to cut the soil and loosen it. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, although written references to the plough do not appear in English until c. 1100 at which point it is referenced frequently. The plough represents one of the major agricultural inventions in human history. The primary purpose of ploughing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying weeds and the remains of previous crops and allowing them to break down. As the plough is drawn through the soil it creates long trenches of fertile soil called furrows. In modern use, a ploughed field is typically left to dry out, and is then harrowed before planting. Ploughing and cultivating a soil homogenises and modifies the upper 12 to 25 cm of the soil to form a plough layer.
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