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ACE2063 : Managing Soils in the Agri-Environment

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Julia Cooper
  • Lecturer: Dr Ankush Prashar, Professor Yit Arn Teh
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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,
• Why soil matters; soil quality as integration of soil physical, chemical and biological properties
• Soil texture, OM and structure
• Soil forming factors – spatial variability of soil
• 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
• Soil spatial variability and tools to map this in the field

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 completion125:0025:00Preparation of soil management plan
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Lab Practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Computer Practical
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading128:0028:00Reading and online activities to extend understanding and application beyond the course materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity111:0011:00Weekly formative quizzes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork33:009:00Field trip to a farm
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ACE2074Ecosystem Ecology
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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M100A consultancy-style soil management plan based on field trip and practical class results for a real farm. 2000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1MWeekly online quizzes to consolidate learning and engage students in the module content.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The soil management report provides the opportunity for students to consolidate and synthesise learning from lectures, field trips and practical classes and apply it to a real-world situation.

The weekly online quizzes have proven popular with students as a way to reinforce and consolidate concepts from lectures.

Reading Lists