Chemical Properties

Reactive Carbon

Slaking is the breakdown of large, air-dry soil aggregates (>2-5 mm) into smaller sized microaggregates (<0.25 mm) when they are suddenly immersed in water. Slaking occurs when aggregates are not strong enough to withstand internal stresses caused by rapid water uptake. Internal stresses result from differential swelling of clay particles, trapped and escaping air in soil pores, rapid release of heat during wetting, and the mechanical action of moving water.

Soil Electrical Conductivity

Soil electrical conductivity (EC) measures the ability of soil water to carry electrical current. Electrical conductivity is an electrolytic process that takes place principally through water-filled pores. Cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+, and NH4 +) and anions (SO4 2-, Cl-, NO3 -, and HCO3 -) from salts dissolved in soil water carry electrical charges and conduct the electrical current.

Soil Nitrate

Nitrate (NO3 -) is a form of inorganic nitrogen (N) naturally occurring in soils. Sources of soil NO3 – include decomposing plant residues and animal manure/compost, chemical fertilizers, exudates from living plants, rainfall, and lightning.

Soil pH

Soil pH generally refers to the degree of soil acidity or alkalinity. Chemically, it is defined as the log10 hydrogen ions (H+) in the soil solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14; a pH of 7 is considered neutral. If pH values are greater than 7, the solution is considered basic or alkaline; if they are below 7, the solution is acidic.

News & Events

Soil health practices build soil and the bottom line

Soil health practices build soil and the bottom line

By Lura Roti for South Dakota Soil Health Coalition PIERRE, SD – In times like these, it’s what cattle and crop producers don’t spend that makes the biggest difference to their bottom line. “Because prices are not very good right now, there isn’t a lot a farmer or...

Update: Garretson, 60-inch corn plot

Update: Garretson, 60-inch corn plot

By Austin Carlson, SD Soil Health Coalition Technician Southeastern South Dakota has been fairly dry throughout the summer, receiving approximately 13.25 inches of precipitation for the year with minimal amounts of rain in the last month. Since the last plot update on...

Soil Health Informational Workshop set for Sept. 9 in Pierpont

Soil Health Informational Workshop set for Sept. 9 in Pierpont

A Soil Health Informational Workshop will be held at 5 p.m. on Sept. 9 in Pierpont, SD. Among other soil health concerns, presenters will discuss the new EQIP signup to help producers and landowners in the Upper James River Basin fight the expansion of saline soils....