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XI. The Regional Approach to Soybean Research

XI. The Regional Approach to Soybean Research

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BOYBEANS



151



extensively grown. The development of superior oil-type varieties for

the south is well underway. Continued benefits from the coordinated

testing programs in the entire soybean production area are to be expected.

Emphasis on the composition of soybeans was permitted largely by

the analytical facilities of the Laboratory. As a consequence of thorough

analytical examination, commercial varieties with unsuitable composition

were rapidly eliminated from the experiment station lists of recommended

varieties and high oil content, suitable protein content and iodine number

of oil are required attributes of new varieties. The exchange of breeding

material between states has been strongly stimulated by regional cooperation. Segregrating populations and selections are furnished by the states

with substantial cooperative breeding programs t o those states in which

the soybean acreage has not justified extensive breeding programs. Final

selection of varieties adapted to the local conditions is thereby possible.

Materially improved varieties in the areas marginal to the regions of

heavy production may be expected in the near future.

The soybean disease investigations of the Division of Forage Crops

and Diseases have been closely coordinated with the U. S. Regional Soybean Laboratory. As described by Morse and Johnson (1946) the disease

studies are closely integrated with the breeding programs to facilitate

the product,ion of improved, disease-resistant varieties. Although the

pathological investigations are relatively new, much progress has been

made in the identification of pathogens, the determination of relative

damage attributable to the various diseases, the search for resistant host

germ plasm, transmission of the parasites, and control measures. These

cooperative pathological investigations will undoubtedly contribute

greatly toward sustaining high production of soybeans in the United

States.

Cultural methods are again claiming the attention of various research

agencies. Preliminary cultural studies were conducted by many agricultural experiment stations when soybeans were introduced as a new crop.

Thereafter, researches were largely directed in other channels. Wit,h the

mechanization of the soybean crop and development of varieties more

resistant t o lodging, the need for additional information on cultural methods has been realized and several intensive projects have been initiated

by experiment stations. Researches in weed control have also gained

momentum and are being coordinated through the Regional Weed Control

Conferences.

Although numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of soybeans on succeeding crops, relatively few data have been reported as to

the merits of various cropping systems when soybeans are included in

the rotation. Long-time rotational studies involving soybeans have been



152



MARTIN G. WEISS



initiated by several agricultural experiment stations and data on this

subject will be forthcoming. I n conjunction with the above studies, more

information is needed concerning the effective use of fertilizers in rotations including soybeans.

The author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. I. J. Johnson

for reviewing this manuscript and to Dr. J. M. Crall for reviewing the

section on diseases.



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The Clay Minerals in Soils

J . E . GIESEKING

University of Illinois. Urbana. Illinois

CONTENTS



Page



I . Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.

I1 Historical Development of Clay Mineralogy . . . . . . . . . . .

111 Crystal Structure of the Clay Minerals in Soil Clays . . . . . . . .

1. The Montmorillonitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 . The Illitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3. The Kaolinitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4. The Interstratified Clay Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Other Imperfections in Clay Mineral Crystals . . . . . . . . .

IV Qualitative Identification and Quantitative Estimation of the Clay

Minerals

1. Chemical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 . Optical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 . Thermal Dehydration Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 . Electron Microscopic Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5. X-Ray Diffraction Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

V. Distribution of the Clay Minerals in Soils . . . . . . . . . . . .

VI The Configuration of the Clay Mineral Crystals as Related to Their

Properties

VII . The Physicochemical Reactions of the Clay Minerals . . . . . . . .

1. Polar Sorption Reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a . The Montmorillonitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . .

b . The Illitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

c. The Kaolinitic Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. Ionic Sorption Reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a . Base Exchange or Sorption of Cations . . . . . . . . . .

The Fixation of Cations in Difficultly Exchangeable Forms . .

b . Anion Exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3. Dispersion, Flocculation, and Gel Formation . . . . . . . . .

VIII . Functions of the Clay Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

IX Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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I. INTRODUCTION

The clay fraction of soils is involved in many physicochemical reactions which are important in the development of soils and in their functioning as a medium for plant growth . The active minerals of clays

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J. E. GIESEKING



undergo instantaneous changes upon contact with water, plant residues,

soil amendments, excretory and secretory products of organisms, or with

soluble substances released from weathered minerals and decaying organic materials. Other changes in these minerals occur when water and

nutrient elements are removed from them. Changes in the arrangement

of the clay particles may result from tilling operations, the impact of

raindrops, alternate freezing and thawing, or from pressures exerted during the growtli of organisms. The many reactions and changes which

clays may undergo have led Baver (1948) to designate appropriately the

clays as the active fraction of the soil.

Clays perform vital functions in soils that are used as a medium for

plant growth. They impart cohesive properties to soils which are valuable in preventing wind and water erosion and in providing anchorage

for plant roots. They promote the weathering of resistant minerals by

sorbing the soluble products of weathering equilibria. They are active

throughout the year as agents which hold and conserve, in available

form, water and plant nutrient elements even though these sorbed substances may be required only during a short growing season. The clays,

therefore, serve as liaison agents in soil-plant relationships.

Clays may also impart undesirable properties to soils. They may

impede the movement of air and water through the soil; under certain

condit.ions they may prevent root penetration; they may fix water and

plant nutrient elements in forms unavailable to plants; or they may be

responsible for poor tilth, especially in poorly managed soils. Since the

properties of the clay minerals can be changed by numerous reactions,

however, opportunity is often provided whereby the desirable properties

of the clay minerals may be enhanced and the undesirable properties

suppressed.



11. HISTORICAL

DEVELOPMENT

OF CLAYMINERALOGY

The more obvious properties of clays, such as plasticity, cohesiveness,

and capacity to sorb water, have been recognized for many centuries,

Approximately a century ago Thompson (1850) and Way (1850) reported that soils had a tendency to sorb bases or cations from salts in

water solutions. Thompson, with the help of Huxtable, showed that the

NH4+ ion was sorbed by soils. These results were confirmed by Way,

who extended his investigations to show that Na+ and K + ions were

sorbed by soils in a similar manner and that C a + + ions were released

to associate with the anions which originally were associated with the

sorbed Na+ and K+ cations. Further experiments by Way showed that

burnt clays lost their sorptive capacities for cations. The realization

that the clays were responsible for these significant physicochemical re-



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