LAND 120 - Soil Investigations

Course Details
Course Code:

LAND 120


Precluded Courses:

Calendar Description:
This is an introductory course in soils that explains soil forming processes, physical and chemical properties of soils, plant, nutrient needs and fertility use and an overview of the Canadian System of Soil Classification. It also reviews the Canadian Land Inventory system, the relevance of the Agricultural Land Commission and the Agricultural Land Reserve as well as describing the interpretation of soil maps and reports.

Date First Offered:

Total Hours: 34
Lecture Hours: 23
Field Experience Hours: 11

Total Weeks:

This course is offered online:


Non-Course Pre-Requisites:


Rearticulation Submission:

Course Content:
Explain Soil Forming Processes
- the origin of surficial geological deposits
- the five soil forming factors
- the four fundamental components of soil
- soil profiles and the relation to soil orders

Describe and Evaluate Physical Properties of Soil
- soil textures and the impact on soil productivity
- soil structure and the impact on soil productivity
- soil colour and the impact on soil productivity
- soil porosity and bulk density
- soil biology

Describe and Evaluate Soil Chemical Properties
- soil colloids and cation exchange capacity
- soil pH and buffering capacity
- soil salinity and the HCl effervescence test
- factors influencing the nutrient supply in soils

Overview of Soil Classification
- purpose and structure of Canadian System of Soil Classification
- general properties of the ten soil orders
- overview of typical soil profiles and the relation to soil orders
- four main processes of soil profile development

Interpret Soil Maps and Reports
- Canadian Land Inventory (CLI) nomenclature and use
- reading and interpreting CLI maps
- reading and interpreting soil survey maps
- reading and interpreting a soil report

Overview of Land Use and Governances
- agricultural Land Commission and the delegation agreement with OGC
- purpose of Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)
- overview private versus Crown land and ALR versus non-ALR land

Describe Plant Nutrient Needs and Fertilizer Use
- the impact of macro and micro nutrients on crop growth
- a comparison of natural and synthetic fertilizers
- fertilizer grade
- common fertilizer application methods
- calculating a fertilizer balance
- soil sampling for lab analysis
- interpretation of soil fertility lab results

Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

- Explain soil forming processes,
- Describe and evaluate soil physical properties,
- Describe and evaluate soil chemical properties
- Overview of Soil Classification
- Interpret Soil Maps and Reports
- Overview of Land Use and Governances
- Describe Plant Nutrient Needs and Fertilizer Use

Grading System:

Passing Grade:
D (50%)

Grading Weight:
Final Exam: 25 %
Quizzes and Tests: 15 %
Assignments: 25 %
Project: 25 %
Participation: 10 %

Number of Assignments:

Nature of Participation:
Lab experiments, field demonstrations and sampling

Writing Assignments:
Technical writing in soil report

Percentage of Individual Work:

Percentage of Group Work:

Course Offered in Other Programs:

Text Books:
Required - Noorallah, J., 1999, The Pedosphere and its Dynamics (Salman Productions, Edmonton, AB). Chapters Covered: All
Optional - Verbisky, L., 2002, Soil Investigations Module (Northern Lights College). Chapters Covered: All