The ard or scratch plough is a type of simple plough. It consists of a frame mounting a nearly vertical wooden spike, which is dragged through the soil by draught animals. Rather than cutting and turning the soil to produce furrows, it breaks up a narrow strip of soil, leaving intervening strips undisturbed. Cross-ploughing is often used, where the soil is ploughed again at right angles to the original direction. Ards may be drawn by oxen, water buffalo, donkeys, camels or other animals.
Evidence of its use in prehistory is sometimes found at archaeological sites where the long, shallow scratches it makes can be seen cutting into the subsoil. Ards were used in Ancient Greek agriculture, and were described by Hesiod.Signe Isager and Jens E. Skydsgaard, Ancient Greek Agriculture: An Introduction, Routledge, 1995 <small>(ISBN 0-415-11671-6)</small> p.46
Ards are still used in many areas, mainly in tropical parts of the world.