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SOIL MANAGEMENT (AGRICULTURE) BAG103

Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

AGRICULTURAL SOIL MANAGEMENT COURSE

 Agricultural Soil Management
  • Understand soil management for profitable farming.

  • Learn about problems that can affect soil and how to deal with them.

  • Essential for anyone working with the soil.

  • Taught and written by experts in the field.

Soil is the foundation for profitable farming. There are many things that can be wrong with soil (e.g. poor nutrition, chemical imbalance, structural problems such as drainage, lack of microbial life etc). Often minor and relatively inexpensive treatments can make a huge difference to productivity, but the problems need to be identified first, and that requires a solid understanding of soil theory and management practice. Learn about soil properties and requirements in agriculture, and how to apply that knowledge at a management level.

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SOIL MANAGEMENT AGRICULTURE COURSE

 

An Introduction to the Maintenance and Management of Agricultural Soils

  • Understand soil management for profitable farming.

  • Learn about problems that can affect soil and how to deal with them

  • Essential for anyone working with the soil.

  • Taught and written by experts in the field.

Soil is the foundation for profitable farming. There are many things that can be wrong with soil (e.g. poor nutrition, chemical imbalance, structural problems such as drainage, lack of microbial life etc). Often minor and relatively inexpensive treatments can make a huge difference to productivity, but the problems need to be identified first, and that requires a solid understanding of soil theory and management practice. Learn about soil properties and requirements in agriculture, and how to apply that knowledge at a management level.

 

DURATION: 100 hours

COURSE STRUCTURE
There are 8 lessons as follows:

   1. Introduction: Soils And Soil Classification
  • Soil health and Agricultural soils
  • What is soil health?
  • Soil Composition and Formation
  • Classifying Soil Groups and Soil Landscapes
  • Soil Horizons
  • Key Properties of Selected Soil Groups
  • Parent Materials
  • Classifying Soils According to Hydrological Properties
  • Soil hydrology Groups: Uniform Coarse-textured Soils, Permeability Contrast Soils; Cracking Clays; Medium to Fine Textured soils
   2. Properties of Soils and Plant Nutrition
  • Understanding Soils
  • Mineral and Rock
  • How Soils Develop Naturally
  • Mechanical Weathering
  • Chemical Weathering
  • Geo-chemical Weathering Processes
  • Pedo-chemical Weathering
  • Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
  • Organic Carbon
  • Soil Colour
  • Texture and its Effect on Plant Growth
  • Structure and its Effect on Plant Growth
  • Consistence and its Effect on Plant Growth
  • Depth of Profile and how it Relates to Plant Growth
  • PH and Plant Growth
  • Porosity and Plant Growth
  • Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Toxicity
   3. Soil Testing Methods
  • Tilth and Organic Matter
  • Soil Sampling for Chemical Analysis
  • General Principles of Soil Analysis
  •  Tools for Field Sampling and Soil Investigation
  • Digging a Sample Pit or Hole
  • Finding Out about your Soil
  • Settlement Activity
  • Soil Structure Activity
  • Recording Soil Colour
  • Testing Consistence
  • Describing Texture
  • Test for Free Carbonates
  • Soil pH Testing
  • Stability of Clods to Wetting (Slaking and Dispersion)
  •  Bulk Density Testing
  • Measurement of Organic Matter Content of Soil
  • Measuring Salinity
  • Measuring Water Content
  • Fertiliser Solubility
  • Affect of Lime on Soil
  • Laboratory Testing of Soils
   4. Land Degradation and Other Soil Problems
  • Soil Structure Decline
  • Water Repellence
  • Erosion
  • Hard-Layers in Soils
  • Transient Bonding; Compaction; Cementation; and Natural Rigidity
  • Sub-Soil Compaction: Compression, shearing and smearing
  • Soil Acidification
  • Alkalinity and Sodicity
  • Water-logging
  • Salinity
  • Chemical Residues
   5. Soil Management on Farms
  • Conservation Farming
  • No-Tillage (Zero tillage)
  • Minimum Tillage
  • Trap Cropping
  • Cover Crops and Green Manure Cropping
  • Alley Farming (AF)
  • Contour Farming and Strip Farming
  • Controlled Traffic Farming
  • Stubble Management
  • Establishing Water and Nutrient Management Plans
  • Soil Conservation Earthworks
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Direct Drilling in Pasture Establishment
  • Soil Management in Orchards
  • Soil Management in Market Gardens
   6. Crops: Soil and Nutrient Requirements (Part A)
  • Wheat
  • Oat
  • Barley
   7. Crops: Soil and Nutrient Requirements (Part B)
  • Narrow-Leafed Lupins
  • Canola
  • Faba Beans
  • Grapes
   8. PBL Soil project - Soil Investigation and Report
  • Aim is to:
  • evaluate a range of soils for a given situation
  • determine soil problems or limitations that exist for a given land use
  • decide on suitable soil management strategies for the selected land
  •  prepare and present a report
  What You May do in this Course
  • Define terms related to the production and management of agricultural soil, such as: manure, micorrhyzae, ameliorant, pore space, micro-nutrient, denitrification, ammonium fixation, chemo autrophic organisms, colloids, buffering capacity, leaching, compaction.
  • Create a compost heap;
  • Discuss ways that human activity can destroy soil structure;
  • Explain how pH affects nutrient availability;
  • Explain the function of different nutrients in soils/growing media, such at nitrogen and phosphorus;
  • Analyse a soil test report in order to evaluate the soil for horticultural or agricultural use;
  • Describe appropriate soil testing methods for different situations;
  • Compare the use of organic and inorganic fertilisers in different situations;
  • Develop a detailed nutritional management plan for a particular crop, following organic principles;
  • Identify suitable earth moving equipment for different tasks, and the conditions of use;
  • Explain various methods for assessing drainage at a site;
  • Evaluate the use of earthworks to refurbish or improve a specific site;
  • Research Environmental Protection Agency (or equivalent) recommendations for cleaning up chemical spills and for disposing of old household chemicals and their containers;
  • Discuss advantages and problems of importing soil from elsewhere for crop production;
  • Explain appropriate methods of stabiliising an unstable or erosion-prone slope;
  • Remove a soil profile, describe the different soil layers, and compare the effects of different soil treatments on the soil profile;  
  • Report on prevention and control methods for soil degradation, and development of sustainable soil management practices in a case study.

 
 
How Do You Manage Farm Soils?
 
Soil cultivation was in the past; considered an essential practice on almost every farm. This has changed today. Cultivation is still used of course, but there are other ways to manage soils that do not always involve cultivating it.
 
 
Zero Tillage
This system replaces all cultivation with herbicides so that soil disturbance occurs only at sowing time when the planting implement engages the soil. Mulch cover is maintained at a maximum level.
Zero tillage (or direct seeding) involves the planting of a crop into untilled stubble of a previous crop.
This system uses crop rotation and herbicides to control weeds. All crops except tuber and root crops can be produced in this fashion.
Zero tillage eliminates soil erosion, saves moisture, and reduces fuel, labour and maintenance costs.
Zero tillage can be practiced on all soil types. However, wet, heavy clays are more difficult to manage without tillage.
 
 
Minimum Cultivation
This system involves some primary cultivation for weed control, mulch management and seed bed preparation. Herbicides are usually used in conjunction with tillage. Reduced tillage refers to the least amount of tillage required to create a good seed bed. This tillage system leaves sufficient ground cover (50 per cent on clays and silts, 65-75 per cent on sandy loams and sands) to prevent soil erosion throughout the period when no crop is growing. There are numerous options for reduced tillage, depending on the tillage equipment available. The amount of residue remaining will increase with decreased depth and lower tillage speed. Tillage after low-residue crops such as lentils and field beans should be avoided or limited to one pass.
 
 
Trap Cropping
The general practice of trap cropping involves a “trap” crop planted next to a higher value crop. The trap crop is naturally more attractive to a pest as either a food source or oviposition (egg laying site) site, thus preventing or making less likely the arrival of the pest to the main crop and/or concentrating it in the trap crop where it can be economically destroyed.

 

 

 

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Meet some of our academics

Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.


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