such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
How good are you at estimating soil
texture-by-feel? Read about how to learn this skill in the Journal of
Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
MADISON, WI, October 14, 2008
-- The ability to estimate soil texture-by-feel is an important skill
that students and registered soil scientists should learn.
Many soil properties depend largely
on soil texture, and texture impacts most land-use decisions. Soil
texture strongly influences the nutrient holding ability of a soil, the
amount of water the soil can store, the amount of this water that is
available to plants, how fast water moves through the soil, the
effectiveness of soil in cleaning up waste water, the shrink-swell
nature of soil, and many other properties.
D.P. Franzmeier and P.R. Owens,
Purdue University, write about how soil texture can be determined by
using the texture-by-feel method in an article published in the 2008 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
"Soil texture can be determined in
the field using the texture-by-feel method or the samples may be sent
to a laboratory for particle-size analysis. The laboratory option is
more accurate, but it is more expensive and slower because it can take
weeks or months to get the results," explains Owens.
The field method is less accurate
but much faster. Soil scientists use texture-by-feel to provide quick
reliable estimates of soil texture in the field. This method is used by
researchers where numerous samples are required to capture variability,
developing soil surveys, and consultants for sizing on-site wastewater
When the texture-by-feel method is
used, the estimator takes a soil sample about the size of a marble up
to the size of a golf ball. The person estimates the texture by
rolling, squeezing, flattening, and pressing the soil between his
fingers. Each person develops his own technique for estimating texture.
The important point is that while learning the technique, he must
always compare his results with laboratory data.
A computer program assesses student
performance for estimating particle-size distribution and soil texture.
If the estimate coincides exactly with laboratory results, the score is
100%. If the estimate and laboratory results are as far apart as
possible, at opposite corners of the texture triangle, the score is
“Students appreciate the fairness of
grading. Also, we can use the method to let a student or professional
know if their estimates are consistently above or below the laboratory
values, which helps them calibrate their fingers,” says Owens.
“We have used this tool to help
registered soil scientists improve their field skills and they seem to
enjoy the challenge,” says Franzmeier.
News release courtesy of The American Society of Agronomy.
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