Thursday, October 16, 2008

Learn to estimate soil texture-by-feel, with the aid of a new computer program

Biopact: Healthy soils and their efficient management are key to any society's long-term survival. Soils cycle carbon, nitrogen, nutrients and help produce energy in the form of biomass. But there is only a handful of soil scientists around who can help us make the most of this important natural resource. In fact, a lot damage can be done to soils by non-experts working them on a daily basis. And many land-use decisions would be changed if knowledge about soils was put into practise more often. Some basic soil science techniques and skills can be learned by anyone willing to put in some effort, though. An interesting article in the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education explains how you can learn to estimate soil texture-by-feel. A new computer program will help you acquire the necessary skills.

Many soil properties depend largely on soil texture, and texture impacts most land-use decisions. Soil texture strongly influences the nutrient holding ability of a soil, the amount of water the soil can store, the amount of this water that is available to plants, how fast water moves through the soil, the effectiveness of soil in cleaning up waste water, the shrink-swell nature of soil, and many other properties.

D.P. Franzmeier and P.R. Owens of Purdue University write about how soil texture can be determined by using the texture-by-feel method….

The Emblematic Hand of the Mysteries - A hand covered with numerous symbols was extended to the neophytes when they entered into the Temple of Wisdom. From Montfaucon's Antiquities

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