An Introduction To The Digitized Soil Survey - The Digitized Soil Survey For Ag Professionals

George Cummins, Extension Field Agronomist, Northeast Area


The soil survey is a valuable, comprehensive reference for comparing the soils of a county on their productivity and limiting factors; usefulness for non-ag purposes and management required for sustainability. Soil surveys are useful to a wide range of clientele, many of whom are unaware of their existence, unaware of the wealth of useful information they contain or uncomfortable/ unfamiliar with some of the new computer- assisted decision-making tools. The soil surveys in most Iowa counties have been digitized and can be downloaded from the web. The number of hard copies of a county soil survey book printed in the future will be greatly reduced encouraging expanded use of the digitized version. Several of the digitized mapping programs currently in use are dated/ no longer serviced.


ISUE organized digitized soil survey classes held AM and PM on July 20th for two distinct audiencesthe Introduction to the Digitized Soil Survey and The Digitized Soil Survey for Ag Professionals." Mike Sucik, a state specialist with NRCS, brought 15 computer work stations, the required CDs for Floyd County and served as the primary instructor. General announcements were made on local and regional radio stations;  in ag. print media; and thru the Crops Newsletters which are sent to an Ag Professionals electronic mailing list.  Special contacts were made with government officials, Vo Ag Instructors and CEEDs; County Boards of Realtors; Farm Managers and Appraisers; and Ag Lenders.


1. The morning Introduction class attracted 5 realtors, 2 CEEDs, 2 Vo Ag Instructors, and 1 each Community College Civil Engineering Instructor, County Sanitarian, County Auditor and Agronomist. The afternoon session targeted Ag Professionals and attracted 5 Agronomists, 4 Extension field staff, 2 crop consultants, 1 banker and 1 farm appraiser. We had additional potential participants who could not attend because of scheduling conflicts. Future classes are a possibility.

2. After 2 hours of instruction, the participants were able to locate specific parcels of land; determine areas and distances; develop a corn suitability rating map for a field or farm; and download the Soil Vision data from the NCRS website for any other county in the state.

3. After expenses were paid, $400 was forwarded to campus for cost recovery.

August 8, 2007
100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection


Page last updated: August 13, 2007
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