Never Plough Snow Under


Probably from the days when they used an 8 or a 10" plough 4" deep.

Possibly something in it for heavy land. Don't think it makes much difference for light land.


Snow has a very high bacterial content. If it is ploughed, say, 8'' under, it doesn't do the soil any good and it will take several years to recover.
That exhausts my total knowledge on the subject.


PLOugh in the snow and it will never grow , thats what my neighbour says ! Just have a duvet day


Interesting idea. Is there a reference to this anywhere?
I have just Googled '' bacteria in snow''. There are plenty of references, but I can't find any reference to the harmful effects of ploughing it down.
The bacteria which might otherwise be degraded on the surface during normal melting of the snow could, if ploughed down, have a harmful effect on soil fungal and other soil microorganisms.

Ploughing by man is a very new concept, and for millions of years soil was never subjected to it, let alone ploughing of snow-covered soil. It might even contribute to the creation of a plough pan.

Surely there's a soil scientist on here. It would provide a study for a research scientist, but it would rely on snow falling just as the study starts. Somebody get out there and plough a representative part of a field, and get in touch with your nearest Agricultural Institute for the mentally retarded to see if any staff or research student with a Diploma in Pratology wants to be involved.
Last edited:


I was told by the older generation that ploughing snow in will give your crops cold feet for 10 years.
The reality is most farms will be able to plough and drill when it drys up, ploughing in the snow could just be recreational tillage!

Simon C

Arable Farmer
Essex Coast
It is damage to the soil biology that is the problem. Very few soil creatures can survive being frozen solid, bacteria, fungi, protazoa or nematodes will all be wiped out. In a normal British winter the top layer may freeze, but everything living below that stays above 0 degrees C will soon re-colonise the top bit when it thaws out and warms up. By ploughing down snow, the whole plough depth could become frozen and so it will take much longer for the any surviving biology to grow back. Since the invention of chemical fertilisers, farmers are not reliant on the soil biology for the major components of nutrition and so this may be no worse than ploughing in the summer when all the biology gets dehydrated to death instead.

Our grandfathers would have been highly reliant on biological nutrient cycling to feed their crops, and so the effect of ploughing down snow would have been much more noticeable to them, hence this saying from the past.


Think it's a old wives tale personally. I've ploughed in snow until tractor can't get grip. Then come back and finished on a dry spring day and no difference in crop
Ford used to have an advert showing its tractors ploughing in extremely wet boggy conditions, boasting that other tractors didn't have the necessary grip. :(

Carbon Week - 1 to 5 March.

  • 74
  • 0
Carbon Week

Carbon Week is a series of AHDB events, taking place from 1 to 5 March.
The webinars and panel discussions will feature a range of speakers and are for farmers and growers interested in understanding more about the carbon cycle, carbon auditing, reducing emissions and the opportunities around this.
More information about each session can be found from these links: