Soil Analysis of Sloped Farmland In Western Illinois
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Farmers often face with the challenge of sloped land when farming the soils of Western Illinois. Because of the slope of the land a farmer must be more aware of the challenges that the soil faces at differing elevations in the field. Clayey soil is less likely to support the growth of corn and soybeans because of its high bulk density, low porosity, and lack of nutrient rich organic matter. The adverse effects of gravity and soil mismanagement are likely to cause higher clay percentages, higher soil bulk density, lower porosity, and lower nutrient levels at upland farmed locations compared to their downslope counterparts. This study focuses on two sloped farmland study sites in Mercer County, Illinois. The sites were divided into upland, midelevation, and lowland locations. Soil texture, soil water, and soil nutrient qualities were gather at each of the six sites. Significant differences in soil quality were not found at each of the three elevation classes; however spikes in soil quality at sites that are used as pasture land were present. The lack of soil degradation as one moves upslope at the Miller Farm Sites is most likely largely due to the proper maintenance of farmed soil on sloped land.
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