Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Course Catalog 
2024-2025 Course Catalog
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AGA 154 - Fundamentals of Soil Science

Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 2
Lab Hours: 2
Practicum Hours: 0
Work Experience: 0
Course Type: Open
Introduction to physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils, their formation, classification, and distribution will be covered. Students will examine the use of soil survey and other information sources in balancing agronomic, economic, and environmental concerns in soil management.
  1. Evaluate land use interpretation, soil mapping, the legal aspect of land management and careers
    1. Identify a plot of land given a legal description
    2. Calculate land area, length, and percent slope
    3. Analyze a soil classification map using soil survey report/web soil survey
    4. Differentiate land capability classes with the aid of a soil survey
    5. List career opportunities
  2. Assess soil formation and classification systems. 
    1. Describe the transformation process from mineral rock to soil 
    2. List the types of surface deposits from which soil form
    3. Explain the process of weathering and formation of parent material
    4. Describe the five soil forming factors
    5. Explain the four soil formation processes
    6. Demonstrate a knowledge of the master soil horizons 
    7. Identify the 10 soil orders of the soil taxonomy 
  3. Classify the physical, chemical and biological processes and properties occurring in the soil. 
    1. Demonstrate soil texture classification using the textural triangle, field method (ribbon test) or hydrometer method
    2. Identify structural classification of soil peds
    3. Determine soil color using Munsell Soil-Color Chart
    4. Compare the relationship between particle, bulk density, and porosity
    5. Identify the major types of macro-and microfauna and flora found in the soil
    6. Explain the role of identified macro and micro groups as it relates to soil conditions and their growth.
    7. Calculate the impact of plant residue on soil structure through humification.
    8. Explain the N-cycle, including pathways for loss, gain and the impact of the carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N) on nitrogen depression.
    9. Identify the kinds of colloidal constituents contained in soil.
    10. Explain the difference between cations and anions in the soil
    11. List 3 examples of the influence of soil pH on crop adaptation that cover the pH range of 4 to 7
    12. Define buffering capacity and distinguish between total and water soluble acidity
    13. Calculate lime requirements using Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (ECCE) 
  4. Incorporate soil fertility and management practices. 
    1. Perform soil-sampling techniques (Grid, Soil Type, etc.)
    2. Perform soil-testing analysis for N-P-K, trace elements, pH, organic matter and EC
    3. Interpret basic soil test for N-P-K, trace elements, pH, organic matter and EC
    4. Identify 17-18 macro and micronutrients found within the soil
    5. Explain the role of primary and secondary nutrients in crop production
    6. Interpret fertilizer grades and ratios
    7. Describe the benefits of animal waste as a source of soil nutrients.
    8. List the forms of organic and inorganic nitrogen and their relative value
    9. Identify the forms of phosphorus available in the soil
    10. Identify the forms of potassium available in the soil
    11. Calculate fertilizer cost based on nutrient recommendations
    12. Create a nutrient plan to maintenance and build fertility levels 
  5. Examine environmental issues and challenges as they relate to soil and human health. 
    1. Explain the relationship between world population and the food supply
    2. Identify five inorganic elements that are potential soil pollutants
    3. Describe the possible reaction of pesticides in soil and their effect on soil organisms
    4. Identify different types of erosion associated with water and /or wind
    5. Explain the components of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation
    6. Calculate soil loss using the Universal Soil Loss Equation
    7. Explain soil and water conservation practices 
  6. Relate soil water properties and their relationships. 
    1. Define the water reference conditions used to assign numerical values to water potential energy
    2. Classify soil water with respect to plant growth’s physical and biological categories.
    3. Interpret a soil-moisture characteristic curve
    4. Perform a water permeability test

Competencies Revised Date: 2019

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