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Latest Newsletter - Issue 11

Soil is finally on the e-agenda – good news for everyone

Soil, also known as earth: is the material from which our planet takes its name; therefore its loss or degradation should be one of the most important of today’s environmental problems, particularly with our growing world population and the need for food security. Van Walt is pleased that recently more emphasis is being given to its importance and the timing coincides, coincidentally with a recent ‘push’ we have had on a piece of equipment that can help by analyzing the structure of soil.

Our Wet Sieving Apparatus establishes aggregate soil stability by determining the resistance of a soil’s structure against mechanical or physico-chemical destructive forces and it works on the principle that unstable aggregates will break down more easily than stable aggregates when immersed into water.

Understanding what causes soil erosion and the stability of a soil is imperative for anyone involved in farming, horticulture, land conservation, building and environmental research. The structure of a soil has a major influence on water and air movement, biological activity, root growth and seedling emergence and the sensitivity of that soil to water or wind erosion. A farmer obtaining adverse soil stability results might then take preventative action, for example mulching the soil surface. Information on soil aggregate stability can also improve tillage programmes which can then be adapted to the specific soil type and crop demands, so improving yields.

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