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AGRI6021 - Soil Science

Title:Soil Science
Long Title:Soil Science
Module Code:AGRI6021
Duration:1 Semester
Credits: 5
NFQ Level:Fundamental
Field of Study: Agriculture
Valid From: Semester 1 - 2016/17 ( September 2016 )
Module Delivered in 5 programme(s)
Module Coordinator: Brigid Lucey
Module Author: JOSEPH CROKE
Module Description: Soil is an instrumental part of most agricultural and horticultural production systems. The module provides an introduction into the properties of soils and impacts on crop and animal production in light of ecological and environmental criteria are discussed.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
LO1 Describe the derivation, classification and constituents of soils and growing media.
LO2 Perform analysis of the physical properties of soils regarding texture and structure and associate with agronomic management decisions.
LO3 Describe the chemical properties of soils and nutrient management.
LO4 Describe soil ecology of macro and micro- organisms and sustainable agronomic management.
LO5 Perform basic soil cultivation's and understand land water management.
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is strongly recommended before enrolment in this module. You may enrol in this module if you have not acquired the recommended learning but you will have considerable difficulty in passing (i.e. achieving the learning outcomes of) the module. While the prior learning is expressed as named MTU module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module. You may not earn additional credit for the same learning and therefore you may not enrol in this module if you have successfully completed any modules in the incompatible list.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed. You may not enrol on this module if you have not acquired the learning specified in this section.

No requirements listed

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Soil Classification
Pedology, soil taxonomy and classification, parent materials, mineral and organic soils, natural processes of soil creation, sedimentation, geomorphology, horizons, living and non- living soil elements, topography and aspect, majour soil types including brown earths, podzols, renzines, soil derivation, uniformitarianism and crop species.
Soil Texture
Mineral soils, primary soil partials, sand, silt, clay, BSI and other textural classification systems, textural triangle, soil textural classes, agronomic interaction of soil texture, texture and crop water management.
Soil Structure
Natural soil structure, flocculation, primary particle aggregation, organic matter, humus, humic acid, aggregates, liming, air filled porosity; oxygen and root metabolism, microbes and macro-organisms, earthworms, compaction, poaching, soil cultivation, impacts on crop yield and quality.
Soil chemistry and nutrients
Clay, silt and sand chemistry, pH, macro and micro essential nutrients, nutrient cycles, crop non essential nutrients, cations, anions, ion exchange, leaching, precipitation, carbon sequestration, organic matter and nutrients, animal manures types and nutrient provision, compost teas, soil deficiencies and toxicity, luxury uptake, impact of nutrients on crop disorders and disease, climate change, soil less culture, nutrients and environment, statutory management requirements, fertilisers.
Soil Ecology and Environment
Earthworms, bacteria, fungii, nematodes, insects, vertebrates, algae, protozoa, plants, soil food web, organic matter breakdown, nutrient cycles and soil life, erosion management, septic drain filed, pH and ecology, mycorrhiza, rhizobium, cultivation and soil ecology, glomalin and carbon sequestration, biogeochemistry, field drainage, land water storage, sustainable land drainage systems in relation to flooding and national spatial strategy, crop beneficial soil microbe bio-prospecting.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work100.00%
Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Multiple Choice Questions Knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of soils 1,2,3 30.0 Week 7
Short Answer Questions Knowledge of soil management practices and ecology 4,5 30.0 Week 11
Practical/Skills Evaluation Student is evaluated on ability to perform analysis of soil texture, structure and chemistry, to correctly cultivate a soil and recognise different soils and soil less media. 2,3,4,5 40.0 Week 13
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
Coursework Only
This module is reassessed solely on the basis of re-submitted coursework. There is no repeat written examination.

The institute reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Characteristics of soil systems 2.0 Every Week 2.00
Lab Analysis of soil and its cultivation 2.0 Every Week 2.00
Directed Learning Review of literature and soil 3.0 Every Week 3.00
Total Hours 7.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 7.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
Workload: Part Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Characteristics of soil systems 2.0 Every Week 2.00
Directed Learning Analysis of soil and cultivation practices 4.0 Every Second Week 2.00
Independent & Directed Learning (Non-contact) Review of literature and soils 3.0 Every Week 3.00
Total Hours 9.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 7.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 2.00

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • Nyle C. Brady and Raymond Weil 2016, The Nature and Properties of Soils, 15th Ed., Prentice Hall [ISBN: 0133254488]
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Jr Lewis Ray Hubbard, Virgil Quisenberry and Lambert B. McCarty 2015, Applied Soil Physical Properties, Drainage, and Irrigation Strategies, Springer International Publishing AG [ISBN: 3319242245]
  • Edward J. Plaster. 2013, Soil science & management, 6th Ed., Cengage Learning Inc, Delmar [ISBN: 0840024320]
  • Pan Ming Huang 2011, Handbook of Soil Sciences, Volume II, 2nd Ed., CRC [ISBN: 1439803072]
  • Brian S Coulter and Stan Lalor 2008, MAJOR AND MICRO NUTRIENT ADVICE FOR PRODUCTIVE AGRICULTURAL CROPS, 3rd Ed., Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford, Ireland [ISBN: 1841705012]
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 2010, Fertiliser manual (RB209), London; TSO [ISBN: 9780112432869]
  • Ram Chandra 2015, Advances in Biodegradation and Bioremediation of Industrial Waste, CRC Press [ISBN: 1498700542]
  • Malcolm J. Hawkesford, Stanislav Kopriva and Luit J. De Kok 2014, Nutrient Use Efficiency in Plants: Concepts and Approaches (Plant Ecophysiology), Springer [ISBN: 3319106341]
  • Zakaria Solaima, Lynette K. Abbott and Ajit Varma 2015, Mycorrhizal Fungi: Use in Sustainable Agriculture and Land Restoration, Springer [ISBN: 9783662453698]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CR_SAGBI_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Agri-Biosciences 3 Mandatory
CR_SAGBI_7 Bachelor of Science in Agri-Biosciences 3 Mandatory
CR_BAGRI_7 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture 1 Mandatory
CR_BHORT_7 Bachelor of Science in Horticulture 1 Mandatory
CR_BAGRI_6 Higher Certificate in Science in Agriculture 1 Mandatory

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