If you want to be successful within agriculture, and that’s the reason anyone would do it, then you need to think which kind of soil you will be farming upon. It’s a much more important factor than you might think and depending on the kind of crop you will be cultivating could make or break your entire agricultural practice. There are several different soil orders and for the purpose of agriculture it is best if they are of medium density content texture, abundant in nutrients and rich organic matter, and well drained. Read on for a run down of the best agricultural soil groups.

Mollisol

This has an incredibly high organic content and is one of the world’s most fertile soils. It originates from land which was formerly grassland, hence the nutrient content. Mollisol has a soft consistency and granular structure when it is dry and has an excellent capacity for retaining water. It is ideal for use when there is the availability of irrigation and accounts for 7% of the world’s surface.

Alfisol

This type of soil is typically found in humid subtropical climates and will be found protected by the cover of trees in forests in these areas. Alfisol is fairly common in the US and covers 13.9% of the country. It is a moist soil and is very nutrient rich with a high capacity for retaining water. Alfisol has a high content of clay which makes it a very productive soil.

Ultisol

This is like a lower nutrient version of altisol – its make up is otherwise very similar and it is also found in subtropical regions. Red in colour and low in pH, ultisol can be made more workable by adding lime and other nutrients, so the coarse layered and clay packed sub retains water and is very useful for certain kinds of agriculture.

Andisol

This soil was created by volcanic rock eroding. As a result it has a high particle surface area and is porous which means it retains water excellent and is perfect for agriculture. The volcanic ash present in the soil makes it rich in nutrients, both mineral and organic. It is best suited for long term crops and root crops due its well drained and light texture. Andisol is comparatively rare and is found on just 1% of our planet’s surface.

Oxisol

Oxisol has a yellowy red rusty colour due to its high content of iron oxide. It has a high clay content too, but unlike other soil orders it lacks the ability to retain nutrients well. There are other factors which make oxisol a low nutrient soil – low pH, low phosphorous content, high iron oxide content and high aluminium oxide content. This soil can only really be cultivated if fertiliser is added and it is then left uncultivated for a couple of years, allowing vegetation to replenish it naturally, then it will be ready. This soil is much harder work than the aforementioned soil orders.

Categories: Soil

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