At the beginning of the 19th century, the farming implements were practically the same as those of the 16th century. The country’s araire needed a two-headed hitch for shallow symmetrical working of the sandy-clay soils of the Double and Landais plateaux. It was customary to plough in high furrows or ridges 1 metre wide to encourage water drainage.

The manual tools were the spade, the bigot, the weeder, the puddle, the hoy to dig, pick, turn and weed the earth.

Improvements to the spade with a flat and pointed so-called American ploughshare, in country ploughs and then the introduction of the Dombasle and wine-growing ploughs only appeared around 1850-1860. The development and democratisation of agricultural machinery took place at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century, for example with the double reversible double brabant ploughs. These agricultural implements were still pulled by oxen or a few donkeys at the beginning of the 20th century.

Motorisation of ploughing was slow during the 1920s and then more rapidly from 1950 onwards.

Illustrations :

– Postcard of the church of Saint Front de Pradoux with a plot of land ploughed by a pair of oxen pulling a spider from the country. (Collection Henri Brives)

– Photograph of ploughing with the Brabant plough and a pair of oxen in Périgord in the 1980s. (cliché Pierre Broussouloux ©Musée André Voulgre)

– Advertisement by Perrier, a manufacturer of farming implements in Périgueux, in 1872 in the Annales de la société d’agriculture de la Dordogne (©Musée André Voulgre)

– Photograph of the pair of oxen of the Couderc family at Fonvaleix in Saint Astier (Private collection in Hervé Mercier, Saint-Astier, 1900-1950, volume 2, La vie Astérienne, Imprimerie IOTA, 2015)