Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science


Soil Nutrient losses have followed closely in the paths of advancing frontiers in agriculture. Remedies for depletion as the result of overcropping were sought by George Washington, whose interest and investigation of soil nutrient losses probably represent the earliest attention given to land exploitation in the United States, which at the present time has become a problem of national concern. Soil losses have been attributed to a number of causes , among which are cropping, erosion, leaching, burning, and rapid oxidation of organic matter in the soil. Associated with soil nutrient losses, certain significant physical and chemical changes may occur in the soil. The soils of South Dakota lie entirely in the area commonly designated as the pedocal group. The characteristics feature of the Pedocal group is a horizon of calcium carbonate accumulation in the soil profile which indicates that these solid have developed in a an environment of limited rainfall. It has been generally observed that in regions of limited rainfall the agricultural practices which have been prevailed since virgin soils were cultivated, have resulted in the loss of considerable of the original organic matter and nitrogen. The cropping systems commonly practiced have not included the planting of a legume to restore the nitrogen and organic matter losses due to cultivation and much of the organic matter of the non-leguminous crop residues are partially lost by feeding to livestock, while some are totally lost by burning. Associated with the loss of organic matter certain physical changes may occur in the soil which have a bearing upon soil structure. Diminution of organic matter of soils, and the probable subsequent change in soil structure, have been regarded, as contributory factors in the severity of wind erosion, and to some extent water erosion in the Great Plains area. The present study aims to make some contribution towards an understanding of the effect of one factor, namely, the cultivation of South Dakota soils, upon (1) the nutrient losses as determined by changes in chemical composition of the soil, and upon (2) the physical properties of the soil.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soils -- South Dakota
Soils -- Analysis


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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