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Michigan State University

Agriculture Research Guide: Soils

This is a general guide to finding information on agricultural subjects including crops, soils, forages, farm management, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and sustainable agriculture (SARE).

eTextbook Worthy - Soils

MSUL Soil Science Resources

Glossary of terms in soil science. Research Branch, Canada Dept. of Agriculture, 1976.
MSU MAIN LIBRARY - S592 .C3 1976

Multilingual vocabulary of soil science, 2nd ed. [...] / Edited by G.V. Jacks, R. Tavernier and D.H. Boalch.
MSU MAIN LIBRARY - S591 .J26 1960

Soil science dictionary: English, French, German, Rumanian, Russian / Gr. Obrejanu, I. Trifu, B. Slusanski, A. Boico. Bucharest: The Organizing Committee of the VIIIth International Congress of Soil Science, 1964.

National soils handbook / Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture
MSU GOV DOCS US DOCS, 3 W - A 56.6/2:S0 3/4

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

OER materials

Individual Titles - 

Multiple resources sites - 

USDA Soils Resources

Websites and Documents Pertaining to Soils

Agri-Briefs: Agronomic News items
Short articles on fertilizer use, soil health, and environmental and human impacts. Issued by the Potash & Phosphate Institute.

ATTRA Publications on Soils and Composting
NOTE: Many of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.

Sustainable Soil Management
El Manejo Sostenible de Suelos
Drought Resistant Soil
Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases
Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production
Pursuing Conservation Tillage Systems for Organic Crop Production
Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations
Alternative Soil Amendments
Arsenic in Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations
Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories
Foliar Fertilization
Sources of Organic Fertilizers and Amendments
Farm-Scale Composting Resource List
Notes on Compost Teas
Manures for Organic Crop Production
Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures
Rye as a Cover Crop
Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation
Worms for Composting (Vermicomposting)
Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource
A Brief Overview of Nutrient Cycling in Pastures
Nutrient Cycling in Pastures
Symphylans: Soil Pest Management Options
Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods

FAR Research Projects
Each year the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR) and IPNI support approximately 100 research projects across North America, and a similar number in other countries. While most studies are related to crop and soil nutrient management, FAR also supports a broader systems research mission that encompasses ecological, food quality and plant health issues. In most cases, FAR provides funding to initiate a project and helps researchers locate additional support.

Glossary of Soil Science Terms

List of Soil Surveys by State

NRCS Soils Website
“Helping People Understand Soils”
Soils is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, an effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies to deliver science-based soil information.

Soil Health Information - The Worldwide Portal (An AgNIC Site)

Soil Microbiology Terms

Advances in agronomy

Biological Soil Crusts, USGS Canyonlands Research Station, Moab, UT
Biological soil crusts are the community of organisms living at the surface of desert soils. Major components are cyanobacteria, green algae, microfungi, mosses, liverworts and lichens.

Biological Soil Crusts: Ecology and Management (large PDF), United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
(large pdf - 118 pages)

Ground-Penetrating Radar Soil Suitability Maps
Soil attribute data contained in the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) and the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) databases have been used to develop thematic maps showing, at different scales and levels of resolution, the relative suitability of soils for many GPR applications. Provides links to the national map and most of the individual states' maps.

How to Unravel and Solve Soil Fertility Problems
Author(s): Colin Asher, Noel Grundon and Neal Menzies
This book provides a way for farmers in developing countries to benefit from scientific knowledge on plant nutrition and soil fertility. Specifically, it will help farmers recognise and deal with shortages or excesses of chemical elements.
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. MN083

Relevance of Soil Testing to Agriculture and the Environment
CAST Issue Paper 15, June, 2000 (in pdf format)
This issue paper helps pinpoint factors that need to be considered as farmers and others use soil tests as a guide to protecting the environment while producing economical food. The issue paper provides perspective on the increasingly important role of soil tests, which farmers have long used in making crop production decisions.

Storing Carbon in Agricultural Soils to Help Mitigate Global Warming
CAST Issue Paper 14, April, 2000 (in pdf format)
The same farming practices that promote soil conservation can also decrease the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and threatening a global warming. Agricultural practices that conserve soil and increase productivity while improving soil quality also increase the amount of carbon-rich organic matter in soils, thereby providing a global depository for carbon dioxide drawn from the atmosphere by growing plants.