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Course Title: Soil Management (Agriculture)

Soil Management (Agriculture)

Horticulture Course
Price:340 Qualification: Certificate

Learn how to improve your soils and benefit from them.  This course examines:

  • The properties of soil
  • Testing
  • How to manage and improve soil
  • Soil problems
  • Sustainability of soils and much  more.

Soil is the foundation for profitable farming. There are many things that can be wrong with soil (eg. 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.

Course Structure for Soil Management (Agriculture)

  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 Profiles
    • 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

Aims of Soil Management (Agriculture)

  • Develop a broad understanding of the physical and chemical properties of soils.
  • Develop skills in sampling and field testing soils for basic physical and chemical properties
  • Understand the principles, methods and techniques of sustainable soils management.
  • Understand the principles and practices of earthworks.
  • Understand causes and remediation methods of land degradation and soil problems.
  • Develop a broad knowledge in the use of growing containers for agriculture.
  • Develop strong understanding of soil science and its impact on plant growth.
  • Develop practical knowledge about managing soil for particular cropping uses.

What You Will Be Doing During Soil Management (Agriculture)

  • 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

Price: £340
Qualification: Certificate
Estimated Course Duration: 100 hours
Available Learning Methods: Online, USB (+£5) and Correspondence (+£35)
Enrolment Dates: Our courses are self-paced and you can start at anytime

Enrol today and develop your expertise in this subject

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As soon as payment has been confirmed you will be able to access your course materials online within 24 hours. Any further correspondence will arrive at your address between 3-4 days.

For any Questions or to Enrol please call 01227 789 649