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Soils and FFA Land Judging


Jim Lathem Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Georgia Department of Education July 2005 This presentation was prepared by the Natural Resource ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Soils and FFA Land Judging

Soils and FFA Land Judging
Jim Lathem Georgia Agricultural Education
Curriculum Office Georgia Department of
Education July 2005
  • This presentation was prepared by the Natural
    Resource Conservation Service in Athens, Georgia
  • Much of the information in this presentation was
    extracted from the LAND JUDGING CONTEST GUIDE ,
    A Guide To the Georgia FFA Land Judging Contest
    (Flanders, rev. July 2004)
  • This presentation is intended to be used as a
    supplement to the FFA Land Judging Contest Guide.
    It contains photographs and additional
    information to assist in the preparation of
    Georgia FFA Land Judging Teams on a local basis.
  • (Instructors should VIEW the NOTES PAGE for
    instructional information)

Definition of Soil
  • The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on
    the immediate surface of the earth that serves as
    a natural medium for the growth of land plants.

(Glossary of Soil Science Terms - Soil Science
Society of America - Part 1 definition of soil)
Soil Formation
Soils are the product of the effects of climate,
topography, and living organisms acting on
parent material over a period of time.
Soil Formation - Parent Material
Parent Material is the base material that a
soil is formed from.
Soils and MLRA
Land Capability Classification
  • Several characteristics of the site must be
    examined before determining the land capability
    class. Each one must be evaluated individually
    and collectively to determine the land class.
    Soil factors to be considered are
  • Topsoil thickness
  • Erosion
  • Topsoil texture
  • Permeability of the subsoil
  • Drainage
  • Effective depth
  • Each of these characteristics is determined
    from examining the soil profile.

Topsoil Thickness
South GA
North GA
South GA
In general, topsoil thickness is measured to
texture change -- the subsoil or clay layer.
Soil Erosion
Soil Erosion is a serious problem that can
threaten the productivity of land and can choke
streams with sediment. Erosion can be reduced in
most cases with the implementation of recommended
conservation practices.
Erosion is expressed as the percentage of
original topsoil which has eroded. At the
contest, the original topsoil thickness will be
listed on the assumption card. Calculate erosion
by dividing the amount of topsoil that has eroded
by the original topsoil thickness.
Erosion Categories 1. None to slight - less than
25 eroded 2. Moderate - 25 to 75
eroded 3. Severe - Over 75 eroded
Topsoil Texture - Relative Sizes of Soil
Soil texture refers to the proportionate content
of sand, silt, and clay fractions
Soil Texture
Soil Textural Classes
  • Fine - A fine textured soil is smooth and sticky
    when wet. The particles feel as fine as flour.
    When balled in the palm of your hand, it holds
    its shape and shows finger marks. A long ribbon
    of soil can be formed by rubbing the soil between
    the thumb and fore finger.
  • Medium - A medium textured soil is a mixture of
    sand, silt and clay particles. It is between
    fine and coarse. The ball will show some finger
    marks and hold its shape. A short thick ribbon
    can be formed.
  • Coarse - Coarse textured soils are made up of
    mostly sand particles. Sand feels gritty and
    particles are large enough to be easily seen.
    The ball breaks in your hand and almost no ribbon
    can be formed.

Permeability of the Subsoil
  • Permeability is the ability of the subsoil to
    transmit air and water.
  • Permeability may vary within layers of the
    subsoil. Students should estimate permeability
    based on the subsoil sample provided.
  • Permeability is based primarily on the texture
    and structure of the subsoil (except when the
    topsoil exceeds 20 inches)
  • Fine textured soils would always be slow in
    permeability EXCEPT for the characteristic of
    structure. Structure refers to the way soil
    particles clump together in groups (aggregates).
    The pore spaces between aggregates are large and
    allow water and air to pass through readily.
    This means that a fine textured soil may be
    moderate in permeability.

Soil Structure and Permeability
Permeability of the Subsoil
  • Permeability classes
  • 1. Rapid -- Due to a coarse texture greater than
    20 inches.
  • 2. Moderate -- Subsoils of fine or medium
    texture well defined nut-like structure
    visible pores of varying size.
  • 3. Slow -- Subsoils of fine texture sticky or
    plastic clay subsoils few or no pores visible.

Soil Drainage
  • Drainage refers to surface
  • and internal drainage
  • The best clue to soil drainage is color.
  • The color of most subsoils is determined by iron
  • When soils are well aerated, the iron compounds
    are in an oxidized form, giving the subsoil a red
    or yellow color. (Iron oxide is "rust".)
  • In a poorly aerated soil, the iron compounds will
    be in a reduced state, giving the soil a gray
  • The soil may have a general gray color or be
    mottled (blotchy, spotted) with gray. Mottled
    colors of gray, yellow, and brown frequently
    appear. Soil mottling generally corresponds to
    the depth of the seasonal water table.

Gray color
Oxidized color
Mottled with gray color
Soil Drainage
Well drained soils -- No mottling or gray soil
Soil Drainage
Gray colors (with or without mottles) indicate
Soil Drainage Classes
  • Excessively drained -- Coarse textured, sandy
    material that continues to depths of more than 40
  • Well-drained -- No gray mottles found in top 30
    inches of profile.
  • Moderately well-drained -- No gray mottles found
    in top 20 inches of profile.
  • Somewhat poorly drained -- No gray mottles found
    in top 10 inches of profile.
  • Poorly drained -- Gray matrix or gray mottles
    found in top 10 inches of profile. Soil may be
    gray completely to the surface.
  • Very wet -- Surface water remains for extended

Effective Depth
  • Effective Depth is that depth to which plant
    roots can easily penetrate. It is usually the
    combined thickness of the topsoil and subsoil --
    measured to the parent material, although an area
    of non-restrictive parent material may also be
    included in the effective depth. However, root
    penetration may be restricted by rock layers,
    hardpans and plow pan layers. A good indication
    of the effective depth is the presence of roots.
  • Effective Depth Classes
  • 1. Deep -- Over 40 inches
  • 2. Moderate -- 20 to 40 inches
  • 3. Shallow -- 10 to 20 inches
  • 4. Very Shallow -- Less than 10 inches

Effective Depth
Root penetration stopped by weathered rock
Root penetration stopped by hard rock
Deep effective depth
Effective Depth
Root penetration stopped by platy soil structure
Root penetration stopped by parent material
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
prohibits discrimination in all its programs and
activities on the basis of race, color, national
origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or
family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to
all programs.) Persons with disabilities who
require alternative means for communication of
program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET
Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a
complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director,
Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten
Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW,
Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964
(voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity
provider and employer.