Module Identifier RD15310  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Alun Davies  
Semester Semester 1  
Assessment Assignment   Soil assessment assignment   50%  
  Exam   3 Hours   50%  

Module description

An understanding of soil physical, chemical and biological processes is fundamental to successful crop and grassland management. This module will firstly concentrate on the physical and biological processes of soils in particular: soil formation and classification, soil texture and organic matter, soil structure. Following this the focus will move to the soil chemical processes, in particular crop nutrition. This involves students gaining a firm understanding of plant nutrients, how they may be supplied to crops as fertilisers and fertiliser planning.


Outcome 1
Assess the physical and biological properties of soils
Performance criteria:
a) The processes involved in soil formation and soil profile development are described.
b) The major soil groups are identified.
c) Physical and biological aspects of the soil profile are identified, assessed and related to agricultural characteristics.
Soils: Local soils of agricultural importance, soils in East of England.

Outcome 2
Identify appropriate means of soil improvement.
Performance criteria:
a) Soil structure and drainage problems are identified.
b) Appropriate techniques for improving soil structure are selected.
c) Soil pH and liming recommendations are determined
Soils: Local soils of agricultural importance.

Outcome 3
Assess the chemical properties of soil and the plants requirement for nutrients.
Performance criteria:
a) Factors affecting availability of plant nutrients in the soil are outlined
b) The behaviour and role of major and minor plant nutrients are described
c) Deficiency symptoms of major nutrients are identified
Availability: weathering, cation exchange, leaching, acidification, antagonism, synergism, fixation, mineralisation

Outcome 4
Identify appropriate fertiliser types and plan fertiliser programmes for arable crops
Performance criteria:
a) Fertiliser rates are calculated and costed
b) Factors affecting choice of fertilisers and manures are understood and used to decide on appropriate materials
c) The principles of fertiliser response and fertiliser recommendations are used in planning fertiliser programmes
d) Fertiliser programmes are designed in a manner appropriate to the crop, the locality and the environment
Fertilisers: inorganic, fertiliser quality.
Manures: FYM, slurry, straw, green manures.