Undergraduate

modules

Modules

ACE2063 : Managing soils in agricultural systems

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

The overall aim of the Module is to present the principles of soil management for agricultural systems and thereby enabling students to critically assess approaches to practical soil management in cropping and grassland systems. Student will gain a foundation in the basics of soil science and apply this within practical case studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics are introduced in the lecture programme (19 lectures),
•       Why soil matters; soil quality as integration of soil physical, chemical and biological properties
•       Factors driving land use patterns – links between land quality, soil, productivity and environmental impacts
•       Soil texture, OM and structure
•       Soil forming factors – spatial variability of soil, soil profile and classification (E&W)
•       Soil acidity – managing and maintaining pH
•       Plant response to nutrients (K, N, P), response curves – factors affecting nutrient availability in soils
•       Factors affecting soil water balance
•       Managing soils in practice – tillage systems
•       Managing soils in practice – integrated approaches to manage soil health

This will be supported through field and laboratory classes, where an system-approach to soils and soil forming processes is taken.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion27:3015:00Preparation of assessed individual reports to interpret data collated in practicals
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:3013:30Revision for and completion of examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical18:008:00Practical class on-farm
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Practical sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:3020:30Reading to extend understanding and application beyond the course materials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study171:0017:00Consolidation and follow up of lecture material
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce key knowledge and appropriate reading.
Field work introduces techniques in description of soil properties and assessment of soil quality and and practicals consolidate learning from lectures by problem solving. Practical soil management skills such as fertiliser recommendation and irrigation scheduling will be developed through practicals and their assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50Short answer questions followed by one essay type questions from a choice of three
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M50Management recommendations & equally weighted reports on soil chemistry from 2 practical classes. Total word count <1000/report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination tests the assimilation of a broad body of knowledge and understanding (LOs 1-2).

The reflective practical reports test application of soil information to guide management in practice (LOs 3-5).

Reading Lists

Timetable