STUMP – JUMP PLOUGH

The stump-jump plough was created by South Australian agricultural machinery expectant Richard Bowyer Smith in 1876 and was later discovered and perfect by his brother, Clarence Herbert Smith. This plough, which ‘jumps’ over stumps (and other obstructions like rocks) as the name proposes, became a cause of a complete revolution in tilling unrefined land.

In 1860s and 1870s, as wheat growing developed into the dry Mallee country of South Australia and Victoria, coping with difficulties appearaed due to diversity land refining. A vast amount of Mallee stumps were left in the ground becoming an expensive problem to farmers having desire to plough land. This country vegetation is comprised of a dense cover of Mallee eucalyptus (a small tree which characteristically has several stems growing from large stumps at or just below ground level), which had to be grubbed out before the land could be cultivated.

This was not quick and high-expensive process, until a special kind of scrub roller was created which could be pulled through the scrub by horses or bullocks, smoothing the small trees and undergrowth without hindrance from stumps and other obstacles. The smoothed vegetation was then left to dry before being burnt. It was the stump-jump plough which let farmers to jump over the stumps on their way, thereby ensuring their machinery and evading the cost of having to get rid of each stump. When one of the mould-boards on this plough hit a stump or root, its levers let it rise out of the ground and pass over the obstruction, giving partially cleared land to be cultivated successfully.

Thus the stump-jump plough allowed farmers to cultivate the land without getting rid of rocks and stumps, and along with the Ridley stripper (another South Australian invention), the stump jump plough revolutionised farming worldwide.