To optimize a farm’s potential it is important to map the farm’s resources, of which soils are considered to be the base element. Through soil mapping, soils can be visually reproduced on a two-dimensional map and superimposed on a Google Earth map, according to their natural location, groupings, and corresponding potential for fruit production. With this information the producer can plan ahead and select the correct cultivar and rootstock combination for a specific site.
At Soil2Root Technologies we assist the producer in selecting the correct site through a four-step process: soil classification, soil mapping, soil report and client interaction.
Soils are classified according to the South African Soil Classification System.
Soil classification provides vital information regarding the genesis and active processes in soils. Specific information such as rooting depth, texture, coarse fragments, degree of wetness and soil potential for fruit tree production are also determined during a field soil survey.
Soil surveys on fruit farms entail digging soil profile holes, 1.5m in depth, on a 50m x 50m grid. Depending on the farm’s specific needs, soils surveys can take the shape of a reconnaissance survey with a wider grid of 100m x 100m to determine the area with the best soils before a detailed survey is done.
Field soil survey data is captured by means of a soil code which corresponds to a specific soil profile. Soil codes are processed electronically and represented on a soil map with specific colours indicating the potential for fruit tree production.
Block Layout Map
Based on the soil data, a block layout is designed to create similar management units to ensure block uniformity. Depending on the site, drainage, wind breaks, ideal positions for soil water measuring instruments and irrigation block splits (based on physical soil characteristics) are all indicated on a block layout map.
It is also important to address soil chemical properties and ensure that they are suitable for fruit tree production. An ameliorant map shows the quantities of lime, gypsum, phosphate and/or micro nutrients to be applied to each site.
Soil Survey Report
A soil survey report is a detailed support document for the soil potential, block layout and ameliorant maps. In the report, general soil characteristics and soil potential pertaining to the site are described, together with information on the block layout design and ameliorant map. A section in this report is also dedicated to the manipulation of soils for fruit tree production and a list of soil preparation actions is provided for implementation.
The final step in the process is the scheduled meeting with the client to discuss the technicalities of the report and maps, to enable the client to implement the recommendations correctly.