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The Fundamentals of Soils Part 1: Soil Make-Up & Chemistry

Soils are the most important resource the human race has. Without a productive soil there wouldn’t be any farming or food production. Understanding the core functionality of soil is fundamental to a management strategy for a long term productive soil.

Over the next four episodes on the Tillage Edge in January, we will explore the fundamentals of soils in terms of make-up and chemistry, how to measure soil components, the influence various inputs can have and how soils can be improved over time. 

On this first part, Michael Hennessy is joined by Professor Mike McLaughlin, originally from county Antrim, who is a Research Professor with the University of Adelaide, Australia and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Teagasc. 

Professor McLaughlin established the Fertilizer Technology Research Centre at the University of Adelaide in 2007 supported by The Mosaic Company LLC and conducted many projects through Australian rural research corporations and the Australian Research Council. 

Prof. McLaughlin talks about the basics of soil and how factors in soils help or hinder nutrient uptake.  He also talks about the function of clay and how low pH can affect the very nature of clay including dissolving the clay and affecting the cation exchange function of the soil.

Prof. McLaughlin says that when DAP is applied to the soil it starts off quite alkaline but then as the ammonia breaks down becomes acidic which can help with uptake in higher pH soils. 

Next week, Professor McLaughlin discusses a soil’s functionality with nutrients.

For more episodes and information from the Tillage Edge podcast go to https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/crops/the-tillage-edge-podcast/ 

Produced on behalf of Teagasc by LastCastMedia.com