Soil Plant Environment

TPSS 460


Richard Ogoshi

Semesters taught:

Spring 2016


Understand bio-physical processes in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum that influence crop growth and development.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Be able to apply your understanding of bio-physical processes to estimate impact of soil and climate on crop performance. Learn to use the DSSAT crop models to simulate effects of planting date, plant spacing and density, fertilizer rate, rainfall or irrigation and daily weather on crop yield and farm income.

Computer skills to be acquired:

DSSAT Crop Simulation Models Program


TPSS 304, and either PHYS 151 or PHYS 170, or consent


William A Jury, Wilford R Gardner and Walter H. Gardner. 1991. Soil Physics, Fifth Edition, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Additional reading material on system simulation will be provided. The Software program: "Decision Support Systems for Agrotechnology Transfer", will be used.

Films and videos:


Guest Speakers:


Field Trips:

There is one field trip associated with the laboratory to investigate Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Data collection and use.

Course organization:

The following topics are covered in the lectures:

  • Particle Density
  • Dimensional Analysis
  • Soil Composition
  • Soil Structure
  • Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum
  • Soil Water Retention and Movement
  • Modeling Soil Water
  • Soil Temperature / Heat flow
  • Modeling Soil Temperature
  • Solute Retention / Solute Movement
  • Integration of Soil-Plant-Water-Temperature Relation
  • Solute Modeling
  • Soil Aeration
  • Minimum Data Sets / Soil Data
  • Genetic Coefficient
  • Scenario Building
  • Systems Simulation in Agriculture
  • Sustainable Agriculture


  • Particle and Bulk Density
  • Mechanical Analysis
  • Aggregate Size Analysis
  • Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Data (Field Trip)
  • Crop Models
  • Water Retention and Darcy & Mac226;s Law
  • Soil-Plant-Water Relations
  • Soil-Plant-Temperature Relations
  • Collecting the Minimum Data Set (Field Trip)
  • Integration of Soil-Plant-Water-Temperature Relation
  • Nitrate Retention and Movement in Soils
  • Database Management
  • Modeling Varietal Differences
  • Risk Assessment
  • Economic Analysis



First Midterm (1 hour) 20%
Second Midterm (1 hour) 20%
Final Examination (2 hour) 40%
Laboratory Reports 20%
Total 100%