In the last 20 years there has been one great and effective gardening technique after another, and most all work better than the old plow. That is, they work for the family gardener. I only used row gardening the first 3 years until I learned better, and have continued to implement new methods ever since. My last large raised bed garden was 5 ft beds 20 ft long, 8 of them. I used the large rear tine Troy-Built tiller and a land-scape rake to prep and shape the beds. The most difficult part was harvesting the produce. There are hundreds of agricultural schools in the US alone. Today's farmer is very well educated, uses a computer and modeling just as much as his tractor. Today's farmer has a cash flow in the millions each year. They try anything that will increase their yields. In California, beds are used to raise vegetables commercially. So where it is the best way to go, that is what becomes the commercial practice. Farmers farm the way that they do because it produces the most bang for the buck. It's just as simple as that.
Offered by Ron.
Plowing is a "faux pas" today. What one should be doing is putting mulch over the soil. The mulch breaks down the soil and provides nutrients. Plowing breaks up the soil and also allows the best soil, the "top" soil, to blow away in the wind. I live near one of the largest farm conglomerates in the country. They have over a 1000 acres. They plant corn and soybeans. They do not plow. They apply seed and mulch. Don't worry about plows, worry about mulch.
Offered by John.
Plowing is done for weed reduction and to eliminate soil compaction. Both of these can be accomplished without plowing. There are several research farms throughout the US that employ raised bed techniques rather than row cropping and report outstanding yields. True, the labor requirements are greater in terms of hand labor, but when you compare the cost of fuel, maintenance of equipment, etc. you will find that raised bed gardening is the way to go after the pole shift!
Offered by Roger.