Module Details

Module Code: AGRI S7010
Full Title: Soil Science and Sustainable Farming
Valid From: Semester 1 - 2021/22 ( September 2021 )
Language of Instruction:English
Duration: 1 Semester
Credits: 5
Module Owner:: Siobhan Jordan
Departments: Agriculture, Food and Animal Health
Module Description: In this module, students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the various soil types and factors that interact to effect soil chemistry, biology and physical composition and associated effects of various management regimes. Students will also develop an appreciation of sustainable farming in the environment.
Module Learning Outcome
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Module Learning Outcome Description
MLO1 Assess aspects of soil biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry in relation to soil structure and fertility, with particular emphasis on varying soil management regimes.
MLO2 Appraise the fundamental factors that affect soil gaseous emissions, hydrology, nutrient storage and the movement of nutrients through a soil profile.
MLO3 Evaluate the effects of sustainable farming on the environment in terms of water and air quality, biodiversity and pest management.
MLO4 Synthesise soil nutrient information and develop a nutrient management plan for selected farms adhering to relevant legislation.
MLO5 Perform laboratory practicals specific to soil science and to critically analyse and appraise laboratory results.
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is strongly recommended before enrolment in this module. You may enrol in this module if you have not acquired the recommended learning but you will have considerable difficulty in passing (i.e. achieving the learning outcomes of) the module. While the prior learning is expressed as named DkIT module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).
No recommendations listed
Module Indicative Content
Soil Science Principles
Soil genesis, geology and geomorphology; Soil taxonomy and land use; Soil water and hydrology; Aggregate and micro-aggregate stability; Soil mineralogy; Soil fertility and soil productivity; Soil as a medium for plant growth; Soil organic matter; Plant-soil macronutrient relations; Micronutrient and toxic elements; Soil fertility evaluation and fertiliser use; Soil surveys and nutrient management planning; Soil ecology and biodiversity; Micro-organism (bacteria/fungi) – plant relationship. Microbial degradation of soil organic matter pools and CO2 sequestration.
Soil Science applications
Effects of farming operations on soils, plant growth and greenhouse gas emissions from soils; Interaction of mechanisation systems on soil structure; soil management techniques and interaction with crop and animal husbandry systems; Soil conservation and erosion; Soil drainage characterization; Soil and groundwater contaminant tracers; Land and the world food supply; Linking soil and water management to sustainable agri-food and bio-resource production systems; Soil related policy and legislation.
Sustainable Farming in the Environment
Agri-Environmental Schemes; Water Quality; Greenhouse gas emissions; Energy usage; Wildlife habitats and biodiversity; Hedgerow management; Integrated Pest Management; Waste management.
Module Assessment
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work20.00%
Final Examination50.00%
Module Special Regulation


Part Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Continuous Assessment % of Total Mark 20
Marks Out Of 100 Pass Mark 40
Timing Week 6 Learning Outcome 2,4
Duration in minutes 0
Assessment Description
Creation of a nutrient management plan for selected farms and display relevent information using GIS.
No Project
Assessment Type Practical/Skills Evaluation % of Total Mark 30
Marks Out Of 100 Pass Mark 40
Timing Week 8 Learning Outcome 1,5
Duration in minutes 0
Assessment Description
Determination of soil texture, soil pH, lime requirement, conductivity, available P and mineral matter in soils.
Final Examination
Assessment Type Formal Exam % of Total Mark 50
Marks Out Of 100 Pass Mark 40
Timing End-of-Semester Learning Outcome 1,2,3
Duration in minutes 0
Assessment Description
End of semester examination.
Reassessment Requirement
A repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.
Reassessment Description
Resubmit assignments/ reattend practical if necessary/ repeat exam as decided by the Exam Board.

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

This module has no Full Time workload.
Workload: Part Time
Workload Type Contact Type Workload Description Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload Hours
Lecture Contact Interactive lectures specific to indicative content. Every Week 2.00 2
Online Contact Contact Online activities related to the indicative content and analysis of a nutrient management plan. Every Week 0.50 0.5
Practical Contact Performance of laboratory skills on the basics on soil science on home farms. Every Week 0.50 0.5
Independent Study Non Contact Independent study in relation to indicative content, the development of a environmental management plan and laboratory assessment. Every Week 2.00 2
Directed Reading Non Contact Directed reading specific to indicative content and reading list. Every Week 2.00 2
Total Weekly Learner Workload 7.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 3.00
Module Resources
Recommended Book Resources
  • Schaetzl, R. and Thompson, M.L.. (2015), Soils: Genesis and Geomorphology, 2nd. Cambridge University Press, [ISBN: 978-110701693].
  • Matt Powers. (2021), Regenerative Soil - The Science and Solutions, Permaculture Powers 123, [ISBN: 1732187894].
  • Bujang B.K. Huat, Arun Prasad, Afshin Asadi, Sina Kazemian. (2013), Geotechnics of Organic Soils and Peat, CRC Press, [ISBN: 978-0415659413].
  • Manoj K. Shukla.. (2011), Soil hydrology, land use and agriculture: measurement and modelling, Cambridge, Mass, [ISBN: 9781845937973].
  • David L. Rowell.. (1994), Soil science : methods and applications, [ISBN: 0582087848].
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources
  • (2020), Ireland’s Provisional Greenhouse Gas Emissions, missions/ghgprovemissions2019/EPA-Prov_G HG-Inventory-Report-.
  • (2021), European Green Deal, ities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en.