Global Perspective of Arable Soils and Major Soil AssociationsAuthor(s): Darwin Anderson and Guy Lafond
Summary: Soil is, without question, critical to the world, supplying virtually all the food and fibre that sustain the human population, and providing ecosystem services that support life. The world's arable land at 1.35 billion hectares seems vast, but is only 0.20 hectare per person, not evenly distributed. Africa and Asia, for example, have 46% of the arable land and 71% of the population and a dominance of low quality land with weathered and infertile soils.
Citation: Anderson, D. and Lafond, G.P. 2010. Global Perspective of Arable Soils and Major Soil Associations. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:1-8. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Prairie Wetland Soils: Gleysolic and OrganicAuthor(s): Angela Bedard-Haughn
Summary: Gleysolic and Organic soils are collectively referred to as “wetland soils”. They are found in wet low-lying or level landscape positions. Gleysolic soils are found throughout the agricultural Prairies, in association with Chernozemic and Luvisolic soils. In semi-arid regions, they are frequently tilled in dry years and can be very productive due to their relatively high levels of soil moisture and nutrients. In the Prairie Provinces, Organic soils tend to be mostly associated with the Boreal transition zones at the northern and eastern perimeter of the Prairies.
Citation: Bedard-Haughn, A. 2010. Prairie Wetland Soils: Gleysolic and Organic. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:9-15. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Soil Biology of the Canadian PrairiesAuthor(s): Newton Lupwayi, Chantal Harnel, and Terry Tollefson
Summary: Although some soil microorganisms cause plant diseases, most soil inhabitants are beneficial to crop production and the environment through processes like the fixing and cycling of nitrogen, biological pest control, formation and maintenance of soil structure (tilth), and degradation of agrochemicals and pollutants. This paper discusses the distribution of these organisms in prairie soils and how they are affected by soil and crop management practices.
Citation: Lupwayi, N., Hamel, C. and Tollefson, T. 2010. Soil Biology of the Canadian Prairies. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:16-24. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Principles of Water and Heat Movement on the Canadian PrairiesAuthor(s): Wolé Akinremi
Summary: The soil is able to support crop growth because its intricate arrangement leaves room for the movement of water within it. Water moves by saturated flow when all soil pores are occupied by water. It also moves by unsaturated flow when air and water share soil pores. The movement of water has environmental implications through leaching and runoff of agrochemicals and nutrients. It is also important for preventing the accumulation of chemicals near the soil surface. Heat energy transfer occurs at the soil surface by radiation and moves within the soil by conduction.
Citation: Akinremi, W. 2010. Principles of Water and Heat Movement on the Canadian Prairie. Prairie Soils and Crops Prairie Soils and Crops 3:25-28. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Vertisolic Soils of the Prairie RegionAuthor(s): Darwin Anderson
Summary: The soils often referred to as ‘gumbo’ occur on clayey glaciolacustrine parent materials with a high content of expanding clay mineral, and are classified in the Vertisolic Order. Vertisolic soils cover about 8% of the farmland in the Prairies, and are important because of their agricultural productivity, a consequence of their fertility and high moisture storage capacity. Vertisolic soils form deep and wide cracks when dry, and have distinctive features known as slickensides in the subsoil that form because of the shrinking of soils as they dry, and their swelling as they re-wet.
Citation: Anderson, D. 2010. Vertisolic Soils of the Prairie Region. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:29-36. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Chernozemic Soils of the Prairie Region of Western CanadaAuthor(s): Dr. Les Fuller P.Ag
Summary: Soil distribution in the prairie region is closely linked to climatic and vegetative variations across Western Canada. The dominant soils of the prairie ecosystem are the Chernozemic soils as described in the Canadian System of Soil Classification. Regional variations in climate and vegetation distribution have resulted in the formation of soil zones across the prairies. These zones are named according to the type of Chernozemic soils dominating the particular zone. These include the Brown soil zone, Dark Brown soil zone, Black soil zone and Dark Gray soil zone.
Citation: Fuller, L. 2010. Chernozemic Soils of the Prairie Region of Western Canada. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:37-45. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Soils of Rangelands in the Prairie RegionAuthor(s): Jeff Thorpe and Darwin Anderson
Summary: Twelve million hectares of land within the agricultural part of the Prairie Region is utilized for grazing, generally land of limited capability for arable agriculture. The areas where grazing is the dominant land use include the Dry Mixed Prairie and Mixed Prairie in southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta, the Mixed Prairie with Solonetzic soils in east-central Alberta, the Fescue Grasslands of the Foothills and Aspen Parkland, forest lands with Gray Luvisol soils, the Interlake and West Lake areas of central Manitoba, and the Sand Hills that occur throughout the whole region.
Citation: Thorpe, J. and Anderson, D. 2010. Soils of Rangelands in the Prairie Region. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:46-56. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Soil Formation in the Canadian Prairie RegionAuthor(s): Darwin Anderson and Darrel Cerkowniak
Summary: The Canadian Prairies is a vast region with a cool and generally dry climate, strongly influenced by the mountains on the west and the northern latitude. Regular variation in climate influences the kind of natural vegetation, in turn resulting in regular or zonal changes in soil. Soils range from Brown Chernozems in the dry Mixed Grassland to Black Chernozems in the moister Aspen Parkland and Gray Luvisols in forested regions.
Citation: Anderson, Darwin and Cerkowniak, D. 2010. Soil Formation in the Canadian Prairie Region. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:57-64. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Solonetzic Soils of the Prairie RegionAuthor(s): Darwin Anderson
Summary: Soils of the Solonetzic Order account for about 7% of the agricultural land in Western Canada. They are most common in semi-arid regions (the Brown and Dark Brown soil zones) but occur as well in the Aspen Parkland and even under forest. They occur on parent materials containing sodium salts, or in lowland areas influenced by ground water discharge. Solonetzic soils are often referred to as clay-pan soils, in that B horizons are clayey layers that are slowly permeable to water when wet, extremely hard when dry, and difficult for roots to grow through.
Citation: Anderson, D. 2010. Solonetzic Soils of the Prairie Region. Prairie Soils and Crops 3: 65-72. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]
Cultivated Gray Luvisol Soils of the Prairie RegionAuthor(s): Wayne Pettapiece, James Robertson and Darwin Anderson
Summary: Gray Luvisol or Gray Wooded soils occur in the cool and moist forest regions of Western Canada, from southeastern Manitoba, across the northern plains to the foothills of the mountains on the west. They have grayish coloured, leached surface (Ae) horizons and clayey subsoil (Bt) horizons where the main soil-forming process is the downwards movement or translocation of clay minerals. When cultivated, the generally silty, low organic matter surface horizons are of poor tilth and generally deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur.
Citation: Pettapiece, W., Robertson, J. and Anderson, D. 2010. Cultivated Gray Luvisol Soils of the Prairie Region. Prairie Soils and Crops 3:73-83. [http://www.prairiesoilsandcrops.ca]