PLSCS 3210 - Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: PLSCS 1900 .

J. Lehmann, R. Schindelbeck, J. Thies, H. van Es.

Students learn about agronomy and recent advances in sustainable soil and crop management, and gain a lot of practical farming knowledge. Integrated perspectives on the physical, biological, and chemical aspects of soil management in the broader context of agroecosystems are explored. Soil and crop management practices and resulting interactions between soil, water, organisms, and organic and chemical inputs form the basis for discussions on diverse cropping systems, soil health, water quality and quantity, bioenergy, greenhouse gases, and sustainability. Lab sessions elaborate through case studies, hands-on activities, and discussion of current topics.

Outcome 1: Have an appreciation for the grand challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050 while sustaining a healthy environment.

Outcome 2: Synthesize and evaluate concepts of sustainable soil and crop management, and relate and integrate them into your personal experience, through assigned readings, homework, quizzes, writing, in-class discussion and group collaborative work.

Outcome 3: Develop a quantitative understanding of basic soil physical, biological and chemical processes through analysis, graphing (in Excel), and interpretation of data for laboratory and homework activities.

Outcome 4: Attain basic competency in interpreting and planning sustainable soil management based on a soil health test and/or field assessment of soils, through applying what you learn from reading, lectures and hands-on experience.

Outcome 5: Summarize factors affecting crop production and describe common criteria used to evaluate the sustainability of cropping systems.

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