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Land Capability Classification and Prime Farmland





Land capability classes and, in most cases, subclasses are assigned to each soil. They suggest the suitability of the soil for field crops or pasture and provide a general indication of the need for conservation treatment and management. Capability classes are designated by numerals 1 thorugh 7, which represent progressively greater limitations and narrower choices for practical land use. Classes 1 through 4 can be cropped, with classes 2 through 4 in a rotational cropping system. Capability subclasses are noted with an e, w, or c following the capability class; for example, 2e. The "e" indicates that the soil is erosive. A "w" signifies a wetness limitation. An "s" denotes a shallow, droughty, or stony soil. A "c" indicates a climatic limitation. No subclasses are shown for capability class 1 because these soils have few limitations. Exact definitions of land capability classses and subclasses may be found at: http://soilanalyst.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Soil-Classification-Definitions.pdf

Prime farmland is land best suited for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops. It has the soil quality, growning season, and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high yields of crops economically, when treated and managed according to modern farming methods. Prime farmland gives the highest yields with the lowest inputs of energy or money, and with the least damage to the environment. Prime farmland can be ramred indefinitely with good management.
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