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Word Count: 822
Soil superficial covering of most of the earths land area an aggregation of unconsolidated mineral and organic particles produced by the combined action of wind water and organic decay Soils vary widely from place to place The chemical composition and physical structure of the soil at any given location are determined by the kind of geologic material from which it originates by the vegetation cover by the length of time that the soil has been weathered by the topography and by artificial changes caused by human activities In nature changes in soil are gradual except those resulting from natural disasters The cultivation of land however deprives soil of its natural vegetational covering and of much of its protection against erosion by water and wind permitting more rapid changes Agriculturists have had to develop methods of preventing harmful alteration of soil resulting from cultivation and of rebuilding soil already detrimentally altered Although knowledge of the gross texture of soil is important to engineers who construct buildings roads and other structures on the earths surface all the specific properties of soil are of great concern to agriculturists For agriculturists knowledge of the mineral and organic components of soils aeration and water-holding capacity as well as many other aspects of soil structure is necessary for the production of successful crops The soil requirements of different plants vary widely and no generalizations can be made concerning an ideal soil for the growth of all plants Many plants such as sugarcane require moist soils that would be deemed poorly drained by wheatgrowers Characteristics suitable for successful growth of crops are not necessarily inherent in the soil itself some of these characteristics are created by successful soil management Nature of Soil The primary components of soil are 1 undissolved inorganic or nonliving components produced by the weathering and breakdown of surface rocks 2 soluble nutrients used by plants 3 various forms of organic matter both living and dead and
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