Is the plow going extinct? According to Kiplinger, yes.
The business forecasts and personal finance publication’s most read story of the year was about the 10 things we’ll be saying goodbye to soon. No. 7 on that list was the plow.
Here’s what Kiplinger had to say about the farm implement:
“Few things are as symbolic of farming as the moldboard plow, but the truth is, the practice of 'turning the soil' is dying off.
“Modern farmers have little use for it. It provides a deep tillage that turns up too much soil, encouraging erosion because the plow leaves no plant material on the surface to stop wind and rain water from carrying the soil away. It also requires a huge amount of diesel fuel to plow, compared with other tillage methods, cutting into farmers' profits. The final straw: It releases more carbon dioxide into the air than other tillage methods.
“Deep plowing is winding down its days on small, poor farms that can't afford new machinery. Most U.S. cropland is now managed as ‘no-till’ or minimum-till, relying on herbicides and implements such as seed drills that work the ground with very little disturbance. Even organic farmers have found ways to minimize tillage, using cover crops rather than herbicides to cut down on weeds. Firms like John Deere (DE) offer a range of sophisticated devices for these techniques.”
Also included on the list were physical keys, the clutch pedal and the incandescent lightbulb. For the complete list, see Kiplinger’s slideshow.