This week, let’s take a look at something we walk on, run on and play on – the soil beneath our feet.
Soil is a thin layer of material on the earth’s surface in which plants have their roots. It is made up of many things, such as weathered rock and decayed plant and animal matter. Soil formation takes place when air, water, plant life, animal life, rocks, and chemicals interact. This occurs over thousands of years.
Soil is formed from the weathering of rocks and minerals. Surface rocks break down into smaller pieces through a process of weathering and is then mixed with moss and organic matter. Over time, this creates a thin layer of soil. Plants help the development of the soil by attracting animals, and when the animals die, their bodies decay. Decaying matter makes the soil thick and rich.
Soil generally consists of organic and inorganic materials, water, and air. The inorganic materials are the rocks that have been broken down into smaller pieces such as pebbles, gravel, and particles of sand or clay. The organic material is decaying living matter such as plants or animals that have died and their decayed remains become part of the soil.
Soil erosion, caused by wind and rain, can change land appearance by wearing down mountains, creating valleys, making rivers appear and disappear. The erosion process takes thousands of years. But erosion is also affected by human activities such as farming and mining. Soil develops very slowly but can be lost very quickly. The clearing of land for farming, residential, and commercial use can destroy soil. Erosion leaves soil exposed and prevents development of new soil by removing the plants and animals that help build humus.
Most soils are made up of a combination of sand, silt, and clay. The texture of the soil (how it looks and feels), depends upon the amount of each one in that particular soil. The type of soil varies across our planet and can even vary in our own backyard.
Soils are classified under the Canada Land Inventory, and they descend in quality from Class 1, which is highest, to Class 7 soils, which have no agricultural capability for the common field crops. Class 1 soils have no significant limitations. Class 2 through 7 soils has one or more significant limitations. Here in Chatham-Kent, our soils mostly fall into the Class 1-3 categories.
Here in Chatham-Kent, we have varying types of soil, from clay to loam to sand and everything in between. We have some of the best soil for growing crops in all of Canada, and that is one of the reasons our agricultural sector plays such a large role in Chatham-Kent’s economy.
Our farmers want to reduce the amount of erosion and soil loss. They accomplish this through many means, including planting trees, planting cover crops, using minimum-till practices and much more. Soil is an important resource that we all must protect, for without soil there is no life.
Think about this – We discover our role in life through our relationship with God and our relationship with others.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’.
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 35 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’