The Bugnot Rapide in action


The Bugnot Rapide is a shallow plough developed in France with the organic producer in mind and was seen working at Shimpling Park Farm on 20th August.  The soil type in Hanslope clay and the field being ploughed was in wheat this season and had recently been spread with Limex and was being ploughed to incorporate the Limex.   Recent rains – approx. 50 mm over the last couple of weeks had softened the ground and the combining and spreading operation had resulted in definite wheelings about 60 mm deep.  Between the wheelings the ground was quite spongy.  It was probably too wet to plough and would have improved for being left to dry and was being ploughed for the sake of the demonstration.

2014-08-20 10.49.45

The shallow mole boards have a rather obtuse angle and there was some thought that the furrow was being rather “bulldozer” and it  thought a knife added to the chisel might help this.


2014-08-20 10.44.15

Incomplete inversion of longer stubbles

The inversion of the stullbe was far from complete.  It was noted that the stubble was quite long  – a function of a yawling combine header and an impatient contractor and the stubble incorporation was far better on areas where stubbles were  shorter.




Bugnot Rapide followed by subsoil and press

Bugnot Rapide followed by subsoil and press

Having seen the plough in action we looked at some land ploughed about 10 days previously.  This had then been passed with a sub-soiler and press.  There had been very impressive kill of blackgrass and a new flush starting to emerge that will be dealt with through further cultivation.  It was felt that the shallow plough and subsoil/press combination had left a tilth that could be drilled with little further cultivation.  There was some discussion about the use of a green manure/cover at this point but it had been rejected due to the additional costs of seed and establishment (exacerbated by low prices).

Deeper plough and subsoil and press

Deeper plough and subsoil and press

The adjacent field had been ploughed using the farm’s Kverneland deep plough and there was no observable improvement in the incorporation or kill of blackgrass.  The field was noticeably rougher and certainly required more cultivation head of any drilling.  This was a more expensive approach with little of no discernable benefit.


In conclusion the Bugnot Rapide looks like an interesting tool.  The benefits being greater working speed and so workrate and lower horsepower and fuel requirement.  It may not replace a deeper plough at Shimpling Park for a few years (if at all) but will certainly be an effective, low cost alternative when conditions are right.


Why we should be encouraging Nightcrawlers and using Latex on our fields?

Luckily I have an American sitting across the office from me to translate and I am reliably informed Nighcrawlers are “big fat worms” – thanks Kathy.  The video below is a fantastic illustration of how beneficial these magnificent creatures can be in developing our soils structure and improving water penetration and drainage.

What a great way of illustrating the state of soil structure on farm.  Should farmers start using Latex on their soils to see how well worm activity is improving their soils, if at all?  It would be great to see this on some UK soils to get an impression of the soil structure the fissures, worm activity and possible barriers that were in the soil.