Get digging to learn about soil layers

August 5, 2019

Soil. The ever-interesting subject of what lives below our feet and helps our crops grow. It’s difficult to know what sort of layers are in your soil, however, and often it can be easy to assume what you are seeing for topsoil is what lays beneath.

Naturally, Marla Rieckman and Curtis Cavers, being the soil enthusiasts that they are, decided to dig a soil pit at Crops-a-palooza at Carberry, Man., so producers could see not only the different soil layers in that particular spot but also the different root systems developed by different crops.

According to Curtis Cavers, agronomist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, when you are looking at soils there are three main points to consider: drainage, texture, and water holding capacity.

“There are lots of subpoints to look at, but in a general overview, we are concerned about what the soil texture is, what the natural internal drainage is of the soil is, and what the capability for dryland agriculture is. So there are two things based on properties, and the third one is kind of a rating system for those properties,” he says.

Cavers acknowledges that you can tell a lot about available moisture and internal drainage by looking at the different soil layers.

Obviously, it’s not feasible to dig a whole bunch of giant pits in the middle of your field like the one that was demonstrated at Crops-A-Palooza, but as Cavers notes, there’s a lot you can learn just from digging even a small hole.

“You can go in and dig with a shovel, or go in and take samples with an auger, cores, things like that. You’ll see these things, it just won’t be as big of a span as these things, “ he explains. “You’ll still know what your depth of topsoil is, you’ll still know how far down your roots go, you’ll still know how far down carbonates, your salts show up, or anything like that. You can still get all your horizon depths and all those things, it’s just looking at it in a more localized level.”


Canola School videos are produced by Real Agriculture.

You can watch all the canola school videos on this website and on Real Agriculture's Canola School page

Upcoming Events

Clean Farms: Unwanted Pesticide & Animal Medications Collection

Safely dispose of unwanted or obsolete agricultural pesticides and livestock/equine medications – no charge! Take them to the on of 20 locations on the dates noted between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Oct 7 - Oct 11
Alberta

2019 Agriculture Update for Professionals Seminar

Alberta Canola is proud to support these training opportunities for accountants and lawyers working with farm clients.
Oct 28 - Nov 6
Alberta

2019 Powering Your Profits Tour

A day of canola agronomy, marketing management and more!
Nov 19 - Nov 28
12 locations across Alberta,

Join our mailing list to receive important news and event updates!

Subscribe to our newsletters