Soil Science: The Importance Of Soil Testing (Essay Sample)
Complete a 3 – 4 page written answer for the following question and submit your answer to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the due date indicated in the Outline .
Your friend has just inherited some rural agricultural land that is currently being cropped for agriculture. He wants to continue agricultural cropping on the site for the near future and is planning to enter into a share cropping agreement with a neighbouring farmer who has mentioned a variety of concepts they should use to plan for cropping. The share cropper has mentioned soil testing and soil test reports, accredited labs, nutrient management (especially N, P and K, pH and buffer pH), organic vs inorganic fertilizers, fertilizer grade and environmental concerns, just to mention a few things.
Your friend is a bit overwhelmed and embarrassed that he does not understand a lot of what the share cropper is talking about. He knows that you have been studying soil science and asks you to help him understand these concepts, how they relate to crop growth, why they are important and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with all of this. What would you tell him?
Written Assignments will be marked according to the University of Guelph grade range definitions published in the Undergraduate Calendar and as listed below.
80 - 100 (A) Excellent: An outstanding performance in which the student demonstrates a superior grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to go beyond the given material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas, and a thorough familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.
70 - 79 (B) Good: A more than adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to organize and examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a good understanding of the relevant issues and a familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.
60 - 69 (C) Acceptable: An adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a generally adequate grasp of the subject matter and a moderate ability to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student displays an adequate understanding of the relevant issues, and a general familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.
50 - 59 (D) Minimally Acceptable: A barely adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a familiarity with the subject matter, but whose attempts to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner are only partially successful. The student displays some understanding of the relevant issues, and some familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.
0 - 49 (F) Fail: An inadequate performance.
Subject and Section
Knowing the importance of different tests and procedures is vital in agriculture. It allows the farmer to properly make decisions as to the different modes of farming that would not only increase crop yield but also protect the environment around and within the crop area. In relation to the case provided, I would tell him about what each of these concepts means and the benefits and advantages of each, and allow him to make an informed decision as to whether agree with the sharecropper or not. Nonetheless, I believe that the manner of conveying the message should not be too technical in order to effectively inform him of these concepts in soil science.
First, I would inform him about the very concept of sharecropping. Sharecropping is the method of farming whereby a landowner allows the tenant to farm in the former’s fields in exchange for a part of the crop yields (Boadu, 2016). While the practice itself is rooted in its economic benefits, studies have also found out that sharecropping is beneficial for the environment when done right. This is because some of the sharecroppers make sure that the land remains viable by employing techniques such as crop rotation, where they plant crops with different residues. This mitigates the amount of water runoff and surface crusting which helps maintain the viability of the land.
Second, I would tell him about the importance of soil testing and soil test reports in improving both crop yield and sustainability. Soil testing is the process where the soil is sent to the lab and checked for all the macro and micronutrients that are present using the Morgan extraction procedure. It also tries to determine whether the particular field is contaminated with substances that could damage the crops such as lead and aluminum. These tests and results are vital in order to know what fertilizers or compounds should be added to the soil to make it more suitable for plant growth. For example, if the soil is found to be too acidic, then the farmer would know that he should add lime at regular intervals in order to maintain a neutral pH, which should be around 6.0 to 7.0 (Spargo, Allen, & Kariuki, 2013). Understanding the pH levels is also important to know the
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