Understanding Western Soils

This series provides guidance on how to sample soil for analysis and includes visualizations related to soil properties and water infiltration. Concepts such as particle size, soil water-holding capacity, runoff, leaching, sodium adsorption ratio, sodic soils, and saturated paste are explored. Short video demonstrations assist with teaching or learning. The series focuses on arid soils, such as those found in the American West.

Properties of Soil Animations

Soil particle size
Understanding the Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR)
Watch SAR Animation

Olsen test for Phosphorus
The Olsen Test for Phosphorus:
Watch Olsen Animation

Unavailability of Water in Saline Soils
Unavailability of Water in Saline Soils:.
Watch Saline Animation

Properties of Soil

Particle size
Particle Size
Watch Particle Size Video

Gypsum and sodic soils

Gypsum and Sodic Soils
Watch Gypsum Video

Dispersion and flocculation
Dispersion and Flocculation
Watch Dispersion Video


Soil Sampling

soil sampling
Getting Started
Watch Getting Started Video

Probe versus shovel
Probe Versus Shovel:
Watch Probe Video

Random sampling a small field with hammer probe
Random Sampling a Small Field with Hammer Probe
Watch Small Field - Hammer Probe Video

Random sampling across a large field with hammer probe
Random Sampling Across a Large Field with Hammer Probe
Watch Large Field - Hammer Probe Video

Soil variability
Soil Variability
Watch Soil Variability Video

Infiltration and Runoff

Water infiltration
Water Infiltration
Watch Western Infiltration Video

Ground cover
Ground Cover
Watch Ground Cover Video

Runoff and Infiltration
Runoff and Infiltration
Watch Runoff Video

Surface cover and runoff
Surface Cover and Runoff
Watch Surface Cover Video


© 2017 New Mexico State University Board of Regents. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2014-38640-22175 through the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under project number EW15-011.