NCSU Agronomy Department Flyer

for NCSU clollege day


I'm here with the NCSU agronomy department. First of all I would like to explain to you what does agronomy mean.

  • Agronomy is the study of plants and soil and their environment.
  • Agronomists focus on sustaining the world's food production, protecting the quality of the environment and conserving essential and important soil and water resources.
  • They help make food better, just imagine people in poor places where children have to drink dirty water
  • Dirty water could cause infections, and many other bad things.
  • They also try many ways to improve food
  • They also help take care of soil, you may be thinking now it's just soil, but guess what soil provides many things such as food which everybody needs
  • As population keeps on increases, soil doesn't it usually decreases just think about that we need to take care of the soil we do have

Chemical and Mechanical Weathering

Chemical Weathering

What is chemical weathering?

So what Chemical Weathering is basically when the minerals in a rock change. The rock changes composition and becomes a different type of rock.

Agents of Chemical weathering :

Some agents of Chemical Weathering are:

  • Water-

Dissolves rock; ( most important cause )

  • Carbon Dioxide -
CO2+ rainwater = Carbonic Acid

Carbonic acid weathers softer rock

  • Oxygen -
Oqygen + Water + Iron = Rust

This process is Oxidation

  • Living Organisms-
Roots of plants make a weak acid and dissolves rocks around the plant

  • Acid Rain-
Causes rocks to weather rapidly

Mechanical Weathering

What is Mechanical Weathering?

Mechanical Weathering breaks down rock into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces are just like the bigger rock, but smaller.

Agents of Mechanical Weathering:

  • Release of pressure- causes top layers of the rock to crack and flake off
  • Freezing and Thawing- water freezes causing the crack to get bigger
  • Animal Actions- animals dig, this loosens the soil, and breaks apart rocks
  • Plant Root Growth- roots grow in cracks in the rock breaking them apart
  • Abrasion- sand in wind, water, ice or gravity can wear away rock

Soil Facts

Soil Composition

  • Soil is important because it produces food and helps us in many other ways
  • Good soil is supposed to have inorganic and organic materials
  • Organic materials is stuff that is alive or used to be. This is called humus. Mixture of dead plants and animals
  • Inorganic materials is non living stuff. In soil that would be sand, slit, and clay
  • If soil does not at all have any organic material it will be like the sand in the desert

Soil Texture

The inorganic part of soil is made up of different amounts of different size particles. This affects the characteristics of a soil. Water flows through soil more easily if the spaces between the particles are large enough and well connected. Sandy and silty soils are light soils because they drain water. Soils rich in clay are heavier. Clay rich soils are heavier and hold together more tightly.

Soil Horizons

Soil develops over time and performs soil horizons. Soil horizons are different layers of soil with depth. The most weathering occurs in the top layer.

Each layer lower is weathered just a little bit less than the layer above. Water flows through soil more easily if the spaces between the particles are large enough and well connected. Sandy or silty soils are light soils because they drain water. Clay particles allow only very small spaces between them, so clay-rich soils tend to hold water. Clay-rich soils are heavier and hold together more tightly.

Soil scientists measure the percentage of sand, silt, and clay in soil. They use this triangle to help. The triangle is shown below.

Big image

Soil Formation

Soil formation requires weathering. Less weathering means that the soils is thinner. Where there is intense weathering, the soils may be thicker. Soil development takes a long time. It may take hundreds or even thousands of years to form the fertile upper layer of soil.

How well soil forms and what type of soil forms depends on many factors. Theses include climate, original rock type, slope, amount of time, and biological activity.

Remote Sensing

You may be wondering what is Remote Sensing? Well I'll tell you. Remote sensing is when you observe something without coming in direct contact with it. You observe it remotely from a distance and this actually gives you different perspectives of the thing you are looking at.

Importance of soil

Soil is important for many reasons such as:

  • it is an important resource, life on earth could not exist as it does today without soil
  • the food that we eat depends entirely on soil
  • if we don't have good soil then we won't have good fruits
  • we all know we need water, but guess what soil filters and purifies water, so basically soil provides us with a lot of good and clean water
  • They also purify the air around us

Common Misuses of soil and negative consequences

Common Misuses of soil are when:

  • people remove a lot of vegetation
  • when people log forests
  • or prepare the land for farming or construction
  • Even just walking or riding your bike over the same place can kill the grass.

One BIG negative consequence was the Dust Bowl.

The Dust Bowl

What is the dust bowl you ask? Well let me tell you. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that caused damage to prairie lands from 1930 to 1936, some places even longer. The main states that were affected were Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. These dust storms were caused by severe drought and poor farming techniques.

Soil Stewardship and advances

There have been many ways people have been trying to treat soil better. You could add organic material like manure or compost. This increases the soil's fertility. Increased fertility improves the soil's ability to hold water and nutrients. Planting nutrient rich cover crops helps the soil. Planting trees as windbreaks, plowing along contours of a field, or building terraces into steeper slopes all help to hold soil in place. Another technique is Crop Rotation. Crop Rotation is when farmers grow from each major plant family in different areas each year. They do this because of:

  • pests and diseases
  • avoiding soil nutrient depletion
  • suppressing weeds

Another technique is farming around the contour which is when you are farming around the hill. So when the water is flowing down the hill, it gets stopped by all the rows. It's better than up and down the hills, where the water can follow your rows right down the hill. This helps prevent erosion on farms.

There are many ways that people have come up with to protect soil. These are just some of them.

So we really hope you could join us here in NCSU's Agronomy Department.
Big image