BASIS Foundation Award - Soils Level 4
This 6 day course explains why it is important to have healthy and resilient agricultural soil - how essential this is in respect of sustainability for farmers to ensure good crop yields and farm profitability. A well functioning range of soil organisms is essential to process the organic matter content of soils and its structure. This course will equip growers and farms with knowledge and skills that are essential to manage their soils for the benefit of their farm's business and the environment.
The characteristics of soil:
- The Agricultural use interpretation of the characteristics of good quality soils;
- Origins of UK soils;
- Spatial variability of the UK soils;
- Characteristics of good quality agricultural soils.
The functions of soil:
- Plant support;
- Plant nutrition;
- Water infiltration and retention;
- Gas exchange;
- Habitat for living organisms.
Soil profiles and characteristics
- Soil horizons and characteristics of each – topsoil, subsoil, substrate, parent rock;
- Soil physical characteristics – texture, structure, porosity, mineral and OM content;
- The characteristics and limitations of sands, silts, clays and organic soils;
- The role of Soil Carbon (SOC) / Soil Organic Matter (SOM) and influence on physical, chemical and
- biological soil functions;
- Examples of common soil types farmed in the UK.
Cropping & land use
- The influence of different crops on soil quality and function;
- The influence of rotation and permanent cropping on soil health and function;
- The influence of different cultivations strategies on soil health and function