Ploughed field with a house. A plough is a large tool used for farming. A farmer drives or pulls a plough across a field to prepare it for planting. The large blades of a plough break up the earth, cutting and turning it so it's loose and ready to be planted with seeds. When you operate a plough, you can say that you plough. Ploughs are used to break up hard soil, to cultivate plants, to roll soil over to incorporate plant matter into the soil, and to build terraces. The old days of ploughing with a mule or oxen were the same, the farmer would raise or lower the handles of the beam to force the plough deeper or raise it shallower. Ridge and furrow is a term used to describe the earthen ridges and troughs that are created by the action of prolonged ploughing, which caused the soil to build up in regularly spaced ridges along the length of a field. Typically, this was a method of cultivation characteristic of the medieval period and later.