TL1183 : Mole ploughing

taken 6 years ago, near to Great Gidding, Cambridgeshire, Great Britain

Mole ploughing
Mole ploughing
Mole ploughing is a field cultivation that aids drainage for the wetter part of the year in arable crops on heavy clay soils.
The implement hanging on the back of the New Holland tractor is a mole plough. At the back of the implement is a leg that is pulled through the soil at around 18" deep. On the bottom of the leg is a "bullet" point This opens up a channel by squeezing the clay soil as it passes through. Moist soil is required but not waterlogged or dry as the Mole wont form properly. Behind the point is a ceramic expander which is slightly wider in diameter than the point. This exerts a final squeeze on the clay sub soil.
The reason mole ploughing works is that it needs to be carried out on fields that have land drains criss crossing them either old clay tile drains or the modern (from late 1970's) plastic drains. Overlying these pipes should be permeable back fill, usually gravel filled to within 12" of the soil surface. The drains are usually around 2' to 2'6" down. The mole ploughing is done so as to be at right angles or as near as to the line of the drains so that excess water can find its way to the permeable back fill and away to the ditches and streams. A well executed mole ploughing will last several years.
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TL1183, 78 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 6 September, 2012   (more nearby)
Submitted
Monday, 24 September, 2012
Geographical Context
Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 1109 8327 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:26.1675N 0:22.0377W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 1115 8328
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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