Understanding soils and factors that affect them are key to some of the biggest decisions Iowa farms will make.
The handbook helps readers understand the properties of different soils and make good recommendations for land use.
The handbook also covers surface features and slope, soil features and the soil profile, land capability and productivity, evaluation of land use and management practices and suitability of soils for nonagricultural use.
"Soil health” was another huge focus, according to Amber Anderson, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State.
Soil health pertains to the ability of a soil to supply water and nutrients to plants when needed, especially during extreme weather events like drought or excessive precipitation.
Knowing more about our soils and some of the indicators of what soil can be used for is useful information,” Anderson said. “Whether the contestant is going back to the farm, off to college or on to something else, their knowledge of soils will come in handy.”
Both publications were produced in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the FFA.