Module Identifier BS11210  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr John Scullion  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Malcolm H Leitch  
Pre-Requisite Normally A or AS Biology or its equivalent.  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours  
  Practical   9 Hours (3 x 3 hours)  
  Other   3 Hours Field Work. 1 x 3 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Semester written examination.  70%
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment of practicals. To be handed in first week of term 2.30%
Supplementary Assessment2 Hours One 2 hour written examination; re-submission of failed course work.  100%

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students should


To introduce the main components of soils. To show how variations in these components influence soil properties and management.


This module describes soil properties - physical, chemical and biological - and relates these properties to practical soil management. There is an emphasis on agricultural land use with consideration of both production and environmental issues. Other land uses are considered as appropriate.

The lecture course opens with a consideration of soil physical and chemical processes, describing their implications for soil management and plant growth.

Soil constituents and physical properties covered include particle size distribution; organisation of soil particles and creation of pore space; variations in soil texture, structure and their effects on aeration/water supply; processes leading to the development of structure in soils; soil water content, conductivity and moisture potentials; temperature and heat fluxes in soils. The soil nutrient and fertility section covers soil acidity and liming; major nutrient cycles, the assessment of nutrient availability; principles of using manures and fertilisers; nutrient losses and their environmental impact.

Soil managementtopics covered include drainage problems and their alleviation; irrigation need and practice; cultivation and its effect on soils; compaction, erosion and soil degradation problems.

The course finishes with a consideration of soil-climate interactions as they affect land potential. Included in this section is a discussion of classification systems for various land use and pollution control purposes.

Practical classes provide experience across the themes covered in lectures. A field visit demonstrates soil variation and its implications for land use/vegetation. Laboratory sessions include assessments of basic soil constituents (texture, moisture, organic matter and pH) for samples taken from the field visit site. A computer workshop uses an N-cycle model to provide data on flows of nitrogen for different agricultural management and soils. Data handling and presentation skills are developed in practical sessions.

Reading Lists

** Reference Text
Rudeforth, C.C. et al (1984) Soils and their use in Wales Soil survey of England & Wales
MAFF Technical Bulletin 29 Soil physical conditions and crop production MAFF Technical Bulletin 29
Wild, A. (1988) Russells soil conditions and plant growth 11th. Longmans
Practical examples Soil use and management
Subject reviews Advances in soil science
Brady, N.C. & Weil, R.R. (1996) The nature and properties of soils 11th. Macmillan, New York
Batey, T. (1988) Soil husbandry; a practical guide to the use and managment of soils Soil & Land consultants, Aberdeen
Castle, D.A., McCunnal, J.A. & Tring, T. (1984) Field drainage principles and practice Batsford Academic
Cresser, M., Killham, K. & Edwards, T. (1993) Soil chemistry and its applications. Cambridge University Press


This module is at CQFW Level 4