A Sanderum spring release 4 furrow conventional plough

What Is An Auto Reset Plough?

In the realm of modern agriculture, the quest for efficiency and productivity is an ongoing pursuit. Farmers and agricultural professionals are constantly seeking innovative solutions to streamline their operations and optimize their yields. One such solution that has revolutionized ploughing practices is the auto-reset plough.

Auto-reset ploughs have become an indispensable tool for farmers, offering a significant advancement in the field of ploughing technology. These implements are designed to automatically reset or trip when encountering obstacles, ensuring the smooth progress of ploughing operations while minimizing potential damage to the plough and tractor.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the world of auto reset ploughs, exploring their definition, function, and the two main types: mechanical reset with leaf or coil springs, and hydraulic reset. By understanding the intricacies of these two types, farmers and agricultural enthusiasts can make informed decisions regarding the most suitable auto-reset plough for their specific needs.

We will discuss the advantages, considerations, and factors that come into play when choosing between mechanical and hydraulic auto-reset ploughs. From cost-effectiveness and simplicity to adaptability and precision, we will explore the unique features and benefits of each type, helping readers gain a deeper understanding of these remarkable agricultural implements.

Definition and Function of Auto Reset Ploughs

Auto-reset ploughs are agricultural implements specifically designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of ploughing operations while minimizing potential damage to both the plough and the tractor. These innovative implements are equipped with a resetting mechanism that allows them to automatically reset or trip when encountering obstacles in the soil.

Efficient ploughing is vital in modern agricultural practices as it promotes effective soil preparation, weed control, and seedbed formation. By using auto reset ploughs, farmers can ensure uninterrupted ploughing, even in fields with uneven terrain or hidden obstacles such as rocks, stumps, or roots.

The function of auto reset ploughs is to absorb the impact when the plough encounters an obstacle, causing it to temporarily lift and reset once the obstruction is cleared. This automated resetting mechanism prevents excessive force from transferring to the plough and tractor, reducing the risk of damage to the equipment and preventing costly downtime for repairs.

Who Invented the Auto Reset Plough?

The invention of the auto-reset plough can be attributed to the innovative minds of engineers and agricultural enthusiasts who recognized the need for a ploughing implement that could automatically reset or trip when encountering obstacles.

While the exact origin and specific inventor of the auto-reset plough are difficult to pinpoint, the development of this revolutionary tool can be traced back to the early 20th century. As farming practices evolved, there was a growing demand for ploughs that could overcome obstacles such as rocks, tree stumps, and other obstructions without causing damage or disruption.

The auto-reset feature, which allows the plough to temporarily lift and reset after encountering an obstacle, was a significant breakthrough in ploughing technology. This innovation not only improved efficiency but also protected the plough and tractor from potential damage, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Over time, various engineers and manufacturers made significant contributions to the design and refinement of auto-reset ploughs. These advancements included the development of different types of resetting mechanisms such as mechanical systems with leaf and coil springs, as well as hydraulic systems.

Today, auto-reset ploughs have become an integral part of modern agricultural practices, providing farmers with a reliable solution for navigating challenging field conditions and enhancing overall ploughing efficiency.

While the specific inventors of the auto-reset plough may remain anonymous, their ingenuity and dedication to improving agricultural machinery have left a lasting impact on the farming industry. Their contributions have paved the way for continued advancements in ploughing technology, allowing farmers to overcome obstacles and achieve greater productivity in their fields.

Mechanical Auto Reset Ploughs with Leaf or Coil Springs:

Mechanical auto-reset ploughs utilize leaf or coil springs as the primary resetting mechanism. These springs play a crucial role in absorbing the impact and allowing the plough to lift and reset when obstacles are encountered.

leaf spring auto reset kverneland plough
Mechanical auto reset – green leaf springs.

Leaf springs consist of multiple layers of flexible metal strips or leaves, while coil springs are spiral-shaped and provide elasticity through their coiled structure. These springs are strategically positioned within the plough’s frame, connecting the main body of the plough to the ground-engaging parts such as the mouldboard or the disc.

When the plough encounters an obstacle, the force generated causes the springs to compress, absorbing the impact. This compression allows the plough to temporarily lift and move over the obstacle. Once the obstacle is cleared, the springs extend back to their original position, enabling the plough to reset and resume normal ploughing operations.

Advantages and Considerations of Mechanical Auto Reset Ploughs:

Mechanical auto reset ploughs offer several advantages that make them a popular choice among farmers.

Cost-effectiveness is a key advantage of mechanical auto-reset ploughs. Compared to hydraulic systems, the mechanical design tends to be more affordable, making these ploughs accessible to farmers with various budgets. This cost-effectiveness allows a broader range of farmers to benefit from the advantages of auto-reset ploughs without significant financial constraints.

Simplicity is another notable advantage of mechanical auto-reset ploughs. The use of leaf and coil springs as the resetting mechanism contributes to a straightforward design that is relatively easy to understand, maintain, and repair. The simplicity of these ploughs allows farmers to handle basic maintenance tasks, such as spring replacements or adjustments, without extensive technical knowledge or specialized equipment.

2x conventional “spring release” auto-reset ploughs.

Versatility is a valuable characteristic of mechanical auto-reset ploughs. They can be easily adapted to different tractor models and sizes, offering flexibility for farmers with varying agricultural machinery. This adaptability allows farmers to integrate auto-reset ploughs into their existing equipment fleet without significant modifications or additional investments.

Proper spring selection, adjustment, and maintenance are essential considerations for ensuring optimal performance and longevity of mechanical auto-reset ploughs.

Farmers should carefully assess their specific field conditions and select springs that provide the necessary strength and elasticity to absorb impacts effectively. Regular inspections and maintenance, including checking for spring damage, corrosion, or fatigue, and making proper adjustments, contribute to reliable and efficient ploughing operations.

By understanding the advantages and considerations of mechanical auto-reset ploughs, farmers can make informed decisions when choosing the most suitable ploughing implement for their specific farming needs.

Hydraulic Auto Reset Ploughs:

Hydraulic auto-reset ploughs introduce a different approach to the resetting mechanism, utilizing a hydraulic system to lift and disengage the plough when it encounters an obstacle, and automatically re-engage it once the obstacle is cleared.

a hydraulic auto reset plough in a field
Hydraulic auto-reset – note the hydraulic pipes and black hydraulic cylinders.

The key component of hydraulic auto-reset ploughs is the hydraulic cylinder, which is connected to the plough’s frame. When an obstacle is encountered, the hydraulic system receives a signal, causing the cylinder to extend and lift the plough out of the ground. This action disengages the plough, allowing it to move over the obstacle without causing damage.

Once the obstacle is cleared, the hydraulic system retracts the cylinder, re-engaging the plough and enabling it to resume ploughing operations. The hydraulic pressure provides a precise and controlled lifting action, allowing for smooth transitions over obstacles and ensuring consistent depth and furrow formation.

Advantages and Considerations of Hydraulic Auto Reset Ploughs:

Hydraulic auto-reset ploughs offer several advantages that make them an appealing choice for farmers.

One significant advantage is the enhanced precision provided by the hydraulic system. The hydraulic pressure allows for precise control over the lifting and lowering of the plough, resulting in consistent depth and furrow formation. This precision is especially beneficial in precision farming practices that require uniformity in seed placement and soil disturbance.

Another advantage is the adaptability of hydraulic auto reset ploughs to varying soil conditions. The hydraulic system trigger can be adjusted to accommodate different soil types, allowing farmers to optimize ploughing operations based on the specific requirements of their fields. This adaptability contributes to improved soil preparation and seedbed formation, ultimately enhancing crop yields.

Additionally, hydraulic auto-reset ploughs generally require less maintenance compared to mechanical counterparts. The hydraulic system operates smoothly and reliably, reducing the need for frequent adjustments or replacements of springs. However, it is essential to perform regular maintenance checks on the hydraulic components to ensure proper functioning and prevent any potential issues.

Considerations for farmers opting for hydraulic auto-reset ploughs include the higher initial investment required. The hydraulic system and components can add to the overall cost of the plough compared to mechanical alternatives. Additionally, professional installation and periodic maintenance by hydraulic experts may be necessary to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Differences In The Hinge Design Of Reversible and Conventional Ploughs

Both hydraulic reset and mechanical reset systems in auto reset ploughs utilize a four-ball and socket hinge mechanism, especially in reversible plough designs. This hinge system allows the plough leg to pivot and move freely, ensuring flexibility and maneuverability during ploughing operations. In contrast, conventional ploughs typically employ a single-bolt pivot system.

The four-ball and socket hinge consists of four interlocking components: two balls located on the plough leg and two sockets on the plough frame. These components fit together, forming a secure yet flexible connection. This design allows the plough leg to move in multiple directions, accommodating the contours of the field and ensuring an even furrow depth.

a Kverneland 4 furrow reversible auto reset plough
4 ball and socket hinge on a reversible plough
4 ball and socket hinge allows full range of movement

One of the key advantages of the four-ball and socket hinge is its ability to provide a wide range of motion. This allows the plough leg to adjust to uneven ground, varying soil conditions, and obstacles. The hinge system enhances the plough’s ability to maintain a consistent depth and furrow formation, resulting in improved soil preparation for planting.

Both hydraulic reset and mechanical reset ploughs incorporate the four-ball and socket hinge system, ensuring optimal performance and durability. Whether it’s the hydraulic pressure or the mechanical force of the springs, the hinge mechanism provides the necessary flexibility for the plough leg to reset or trip when encountering obstacles.

In conventional ploughs, a single-bolt pivot system is employed, which offers limited flexibility compared to the four-ball and socket hinge. The single bolt serves as a pivot point, allowing the plough to rotate around a fixed axis. However, this design lacks the multidirectional movement and adaptability provided by the four-ball and socket hinge system.

A Kverneland conventional 4 furrow auto-reset plough (often referred to as “spring release”). Note the more simple single pivot bolt to allow the leg to move up and down, compared to the 4 socket and ball design of the reversible plough.

The utilization of the four-ball and socket hinge in both hydraulic reset and mechanical reset ploughs highlights the importance of flexibility, maneuverability, and adaptability in modern ploughing practices. This design feature allows farmers to navigate various field conditions, improve productivity, and reduce the risk of damage to the plough and tractor.

Do All Farmers Need an Auto Reset Plough?

The need for an auto-reset plough depends on the specific conditions and requirements of the farm. Farmers working in areas with minimal stones or significant obstacles may not necessarily require an auto-reset plough, as the risk of damage to the plough and tractor is relatively low.

It is crucial for farmers to assess their field conditions and consider factors such as soil composition and the likelihood of encountering obstacles before deciding on the necessity of an auto-reset plough. If the field has a history of encountering rocks, stumps, or other obstructions that can potentially damage the plough or cause significant downtime, an auto-reset plough can be a valuable investment.

The Alternative To Auto Reset Is A Rigid Plough With Shearbolt

The alternative to an auto-reset plough is known as a rigid plough which uses a shearbolt in the plough leg for protection. Unlike an auto-reset plough that automatically lifts and resets when it encounters an obstacle, a shearbolt plough relies on a shearbolt as a sacrificial component that breaks when excessive force is applied (like hitting a big stone).

a Dowdeswell rigid 5 furrow reversible plough
A rigid plough by Dowdeswell – note the shearbolt on each leg of the plough.

The shearbolt is typically located between the plough leg and the plough frame. When the plough leg hits an obstacle, the shearbolt is designed to break under the force, preventing damage to the plough and tractor. Once the shearbolt breaks, it needs to be replaced before ploughing operations can resume.

The shearbolt serves as a safety mechanism, absorbing the excessive force and protecting the plough from potential damage. However, the need to replace the shearbolt each time it breaks can be time-consuming and result in downtime for the farmer. Additionally, the cost of purchasing and stocking shearbolts adds to the overall maintenance and operational expenses.

While shearbolt plough legs are still widely used, especially in areas with fewer obstacles or when cost is a primary consideration, they are less efficient and can be inconvenient compared to auto-reset ploughs. Auto reset ploughs offer the advantage of continuous ploughing without the need for manual intervention or component replacement, allowing for uninterrupted work and increased productivity.

Ultimately, the choice between an auto-reset plough and a shearbolt plough leg depends on the specific needs, budget, and field conditions of the farmer. Auto-reset ploughs provide a more seamless and efficient ploughing experience, especially in areas with frequent encounters with obstacles, while shearbolt plough legs can be a more cost-effective option in less challenging terrain.

Choosing the Right Auto Reset Plough:

Selecting the appropriate type of auto-reset plough depends on various factors. Farmers should consider their soil type, farming practices, compatibility with existing tractors, budget, and maintenance capabilities.

For farmers working with predominantly flat and obstacle-free fields, a mechanical auto reset plough with leaf or coil springs may be a suitable choice. These ploughs offer cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and versatility, making them accessible to a wide range of farmers.

On the other hand, farmers operating in fields with challenging soil conditions or frequent encounters with obstacles may benefit from the precision and adaptability of hydraulic auto-reset ploughs. While they may require a higher initial investment and professional maintenance, hydraulic ploughs offer enhanced control and performance.

It is essential for farmers to evaluate their specific needs, consult with experts or equipment suppliers, and weigh the advantages and considerations of both mechanical and hydraulic auto-reset ploughs to make an informed decision.


In summary, auto-reset ploughs have transformed modern ploughing practices, allowing farmers to efficiently and effectively prepare their fields for planting. The two main types of auto-reset ploughs, mechanical with leaf or coil springs, and hydraulic, offer distinct advantages and considerations.

Mechanical auto-reset ploughs provide cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and versatility, making them accessible to farmers with varying budgets and equipment. Proper spring selection and maintenance are crucial for optimal performance.

Hydraulic auto-reset ploughs offer enhanced precision, adaptability, and reduced maintenance requirements. Although they require a higher initial investment and professional expertise, they excel in challenging soil conditions and precise farming practices.

Not all farmers may require an auto-reset plough, particularly those operating in areas with minimal stones or obstacles. Evaluating field conditions and considering factors such as soil composition and potential obstacles is essential in determining the necessity of an auto-reset plough.

Choosing the right auto-reset plough depends on specific needs and considerations such as soil type, farming practices, tractor compatibility, budget, and maintenance capabilities. By making informed decisions, farmers can optimize their ploughing operations and maximize their productivity in the ever-evolving field of agriculture.