SOIL&WAT 1000WT - Soils and Landscapes I
Waite Campus - Semester 2 - 2024
General Course Information
Course Code SOIL&WAT 1000WT Course Soils and Landscapes I Coordinating Unit Agricultural Science Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s Waite Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 6 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Incompatible GEOLOGY 1103 or GEOLOGY 1200 Restrictions Available to Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences, Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology students only Course Description This course describes how agricultural and ecological systems are linked to soils and the Australian environment, and provides a basis from which sustainability issues can be addressed. Agro-ecosystems face increasing pressure in Australia to become more productive, profitable and efficient, yet sustainable. You will learn about the importance of soils in the landscape in relation to management of fertility, water use efficiency, and land degradation. You will learn about important ecological processes that are based in soils, and consider a 'whole-system' approach to land management. This will include interpretation of soil maps in relation to land evaluation and suitability for different purposes.
Course Coordinator: Dr Ashlea Doolette
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course students will be able to:
1. Understand and explain basic principles underlying the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils in landscapes. 2. Quantitatively assess and interpret soil characteristics from the landscape to the sub-paddock scale using relevant technologies, including satellite imagery on the landscape scale and emerging digital technologies (precision agriculture) on the sub-paddock scale. 3. Undertake (individually, in pairs or groups) simple field sampling of soil and laboratory measurements of basic soil physical and chemical properties proficiently. 4. Give a basic description of a soil profile and broadly assign this within the Australian Soil Classification system. 5. Search and find (individually and within a team) relevant scientific and technical information in the context of management of soils for different agro ecosystems. 6. Critically evaluate and confidently interpret soils data, maps and information especially in relation to identifying potential management issues for agro ecosystems and suggesting potential solutions. This relates to a range of scales, from landscape (e.g. land capability assessment) to sub-paddock (e.g. precision agriculture). 7. Communicate effectively to individuals and in groups (orally and written) concerning the application of soil science in agro ecosystem landscape management. 8. Integrate elements of knowledge and work to a deadline.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
Attribute 7: Digital capabilities
Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.
2, 5, 6
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
Required ResourcesProtective clothing
Students are required to wear a lab coat and have closed foot wear for the practicals that are in the laboratories. Boots, suncreen, hat and a waterproof coat are recommended for field practicals.
Recommended ResourcesBooks for this course (online or held in the the Waite Library)
We recommend one textbook (White RE, 2006, ‘Principles and Practice of SoilScience.’ Oxford University Press: Melbourne) as being a suitable reference.
Other books you might find useful for following up on lecture material and for exam revision include:
Brady NC, Weil RR (2008) ‘The nature and properties of soils.’ (Prentice Hal: New Jersey)
Charman PEV, Murphy BW (2007) ‘Soils: their properties and management.’ (Oxford University Press: South Melbourne)
Hall J, Maschmedt D, Billing B (2010) ‘The soils of southern South Australia’ Bulletin 56, Volume 1 of the Geological Survey of South
Australia (Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation: Adelaide)
Hazelton P, Murphy B (2007) ‘Interpreting Soil Test Results What do all the numbers mean?’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne) Available as an electronic book from CSIRO via the Uni of Adelaide library website.http://uadel.csiro.patron.eb20.com.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/Collections/ViewBook/3b2bf8b5-bcc3-4f58-8830-79982b2ac0be
Gilkes RJ, Hunt N (1992) ‘Farm monitoring handbook: A practical down-to-earth manual for farmers and other land users.’ (University of
Western Australia: Perth)
Isbell RF (2002) ‘Australian soil classification.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne) NOTE: this is also available electronically
McKenzie N, Jacquier D, Isbell R, Brown KM (2004) ‘Australian soils and landscapes: an illustrated compendium’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne). 631.4994 M1571a
Moore G ( 2004) ‘Soil Guide A handbook for understanding and managing agricultural soils.’ Bulletin 4343 (Department of Agriculture: Perth WA)
Peverill KI, Sparrow LA, Reuter DJ (Eds) (1999) 'Soil analysis:an interpretation manual.' (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)
Wild A (Ed) (1988) ‘Russell’s Soil Conditions and Plant Growth.’ (John Wiley & Sons: New York)
Online LearningAddtional materials and references will be available via MyUni including recordings of lectures
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
This course will be delivered by the following means:
2 x 1 hour lectures each week consecutively on the same day
8 x 3 hour practicals sessions
3 x 1 hour quizzes held periodically throughout the semester
4 x 1 hour informal tutorial session over the semester on the same day as lectures
Lectures will be delivered online and will be supported by notes and reading materials provided online.
Practicals are used to develop and support material covered in lectures as well as providing a forum for acquiring skills and knowledge necessary to complete assessment tasks. Practicals particularly provide an opportunity to acquire hands-on skills, to integrate information from different modules in the course and to increase understanding of concepts.
Quizzes will test student understanding of material from lectures and practicals held during the semester. Each quiz will deal with material covered in the preceding weeks.
Tutorial (informal) sessions provide an opportunity for students in groups or individually to follow up specific issues regarding expectations on workload or assignments or to seek clarification of material from lectures and practicals. It will include the opportunity for open discussion, questions and problem solving activities with support materials provided online.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.A student enrolled in a 3 unit course such as this should expect to spend, on average, 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes the formal contac time (lectures, tutorials and pracs) as well as non-contact time (reading & revision)
Learning Activities Summary
Lectures will focus on the function and significance of soils in Earth’s spheres and landscapes (managed and natural); the processes involved in the formation of soils from rocks and minerals; the basics of soil classification, the Australian classification system and relevance to management of soils; the fragile nature of Australian soils, the reasons underlying this and the implications for Australian landscapes; soil primary particles (the building blocks, how they contribute to soil texture and relevance to managing soils); soil structure and its importance in management of landscapes; soil colloids and effects on soil chemistry (e.g cation exchange); soil acidification and its management; the influence of atmospheric processes on soil water; major inputs and outputs of water in soils and how water is stored; causes and consequences of landscape salinization in Australia; processes of soil erosion (by wind and water) and where it occurs; management practices to minimise erosion in production systems and landscapes; soil organic matter, its major functions, and its management in nutrient cycling (including crop rotations, vineyard management, pasture and grazing); how different fertilisers (types and formulations) contribute to soil fertility and fertiliser management of different soils in landscapes/production systems; hostile soils & subsoils as a feature of Australian landscapes and their management (sodicity calcareous soils, traffic hardpan, texture contrast, nutrient toxicities and deficiencies); sources, fate and control/amelioration of pollutants, contaminants and residues and a set of case studies to examine the current challenges for the management of soils in particular land systems in Australia (horticulture, viticulture, broadacre cropping, livestock enterprises, irrigated systems). The importance of scale in soil management is addressed, along with the potential of emerging technologies, including remote sensing and precision agriculture.
Field based practicals will provide an introduction to the observation of soils and position in the landscape by examining a soil pit and collecting and analysing soil cores collected across a toposequence in the landscape. Practical laboratory tasks will include hand texturing and determination of soil colour (Munsell chart) for a range of soils; familiarisation with the use of the Australian soil classification system, measuring soluble salts in soils using EC and pH meters and understanding the various units used for measuring these characteristics, and using nutrient calculators to devise fertiliser budgets for crops and vines. Computer based practicals will be used to demonstrate how spatially variable soils are and how sampling strategy influences outcome of a soil property test and map databases will be use to integrate information on soil properties and the relationship to position in landscape.
Specific Course RequirementsStudents are required to wear a lab coat and have closed foot wear for the practicals that are in the laboratories. Stout shoes, suncreen, hat and a waterproof coat are recommended for field practicals .
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Hurdle Weighting Learning Outcome Approximate timing of assessment Practical exercises x 1;
Practical exercise and reports completed in class x 7
Formative and Summative
2,3,4,6,7 Wk 2
Wks 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11
Quizzes x 3 Formative and Summative No 30% 1,6,7 Wks 5, 9, 12 Examination Summative No 40% 1,6,7 Examination period
Assessment Related Requirements
Assessment DetailPracticals (30% total assessment):
Eight practical exercises (computer based, field or laboratory) will be completed during class time. Each exercise will be undertaken in small groups (2-3 students) and will include a combination of short and long answer questions as well as calculations based on measurements collected during the practical session. Each practical exercise will be equally weighted. Prompt feedback (within 1 week) will enable early identification of any problems a student may be encountering in the area of practical skills for soil assessment or the reporting of these tasks, and give an opportunity to address these in the weekly informal tutorial sessions.
Three 1 hr quizzes (10% total assessment each) will occur during the semester. These will consist of a series of multiple choice questions, short answer and calculations to be answered online. These quizzes will allow students to continuously monitor their retention of important course material and highlight problem areas that can be addressed in the Workshop sessions.
Final Exam (40%)
The final exam is a summative assessment and allows the student to demonstrate retention of basic information taught during the semester as well as the ability to integrate the information obtained throughout the course. Exam questions will include a series of short and long written answers, calculations based on real life examples, multiple choice, and true/false answers.
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission may apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
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