Assessing soil structure in the field

Simple in-field testing can help to identify soil problems which can lead to reduced yields and/or increased management costs. What is the cost of poor soil structure?

Platy aggregates, which lead to horizontal cracking in the soil, are formed as a result of management and restrict water movement into and through the soil. Where these aggregates are packed densely (pan) then they will also restrict rooting.  Some soils have poorer soil structure in a distinct layer. These layers may limit drainage and/or restrict productivity even where other layers in the soil have excellent soil structure. Find out more Limiting layers

Structural problems should be visible after extracting a block of soil. It is not possible to predict structure without digging a hole.

Untimely or unnecessary management steps can worsen soil structure further. Always look at soil before and after any field operations to ensure that they are most effective; otherwise they may be a costly waste of time and diesel.