Course overview

Management of soil water is critical to maintaining an optimum soil environment for plant growth, soil tillage and trafficability. However, management of soil water requires and understanding of the way that water moves into soil; is held within the soil, and is removed by plant water uptake or drainage. This will depend on the soil physical characteristics as well as the weather. 

Effective soil and water management are essential in order to optimise crop yields and yield quality and soil functionality for sustainable, profitable UK food production. This one-day course provides a concise technical overview of key factors pertinent to effective soil and water management as well as practical demonstrations of soil properties conducive to and constraining effective water management.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of infiltration of water into the soil and estimate infiltration rate according to soil texture.
  • Understand the principles of water retention in the soil and estimate the available water capacity of different soils.
  • Describe how water moves through the soil by drainage and root water uptake.
  • Identify and evaluate soil management techniques to modify the soil water environment to achieve stated goals.
Additional Course Information

Areas covered will include:

  • Water management in the context of crop water requirement, crop quality, water availability, climate change and diffuse pollution.
  • Defining soil texture, structure, density, porosity and water content, water potential, flow & rates of movement, infiltration, and water release characteristics.
  • Relevance of irrigation efficiency
  • Role of tillage, soil organic matter, soil erosion processes, capping & compaction in water management.

A series of informative and interactive soil management demonstrations will also be held to examine the relationship between soil texture, structure, bulk density, porosity and infiltration; soil erosion processes and mitigation options; and tillage options to alleviate soil compaction.


Key facts

Course Dates
1 day workshop - The workshop can be taken as a stand- alone training day.
Entry Requirements
No specialist entry requirements.
IFST Membership
Your course enrolment also entitles you to one year of free membership to the IFST (Institute of Food, Science and Technology).
Course Provider
Cranfield University
Course Arrangements
Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location
Cranfield University
Mixed Cohort
My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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