The State of Wisconsin, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, made a study of soils and agricultural conditions throughout Wisconsin. The object of the survey was to make an inventory of the soils which would be of practical help to farmers, offering suggestions for management of their land. Tracts of 10 acres and over were mapped but often smaller areas were shown. Trained men traveled the counties and examined soils by boring to a depth of 36 inches and reports were made.
Before the greatest success in agriculture can be reached, it is necessary that the farmer have a thorough knowledge of the soil upon his own farm. A soil may be well adapted to one crop, and poorly adapted to another crop, therefore, failure is certain to be invited when such important facts are disregarded or overlooked.
Soil fertility depends upon two factors: physical characteristics such as water holding capacity, workability, etc. and second, the chemical composition of the material composing the soil.
Water holding capacity and other physical properties of soil all depend chiefly upon texture, which refers to the size of the individual soil grains, or particles. A course sandy soil, for example, will not retain moisture so long as a loam soil, or clay loam, because the finer the soil grains, the greater will be the total soil-grain surface area to which moisture may adhere. Texture is determined in the field by rubbing the soil between the thumb and fingers, and with experience one soon becomes expert at judging the size of soil grains.
Examples (partial list) of Different Kenosha County Soils
1. Carrington Clay Loam (light yellow color on the map). This, part of the heavy soil group, is the most extensively developed in the area. It is the predominating soil in all areas except those bordering Lake Michigan and those bordering Walworth County. The surface soil of the Carrington Clay Loan consists of 12 inches of dark brown to almost black heavy silt containing organic matter. Variations occur. Drainage is somewhat deficient on account of the heavy compact nature of the subsoil and tile drains have been installed in a number of places to compensate. At the time of this study (1919) the greater proportion of farmers on this soil did not follow any definite system of crop rotation. Stable manure and commercial fertilizer is used.
1919 Sale Price: Farms on the Carrington Clay Loam had a selling value of $75 to $250 per acre depending upon drainage, location, improvements, and character of the soil.
2. Clyde Silt Loam (rose color on the map). This is one of the most extensive soil types in Kenosha County is is classified as naturally very poorly drained. When drained, this soil is probably the best corn soil in Wisconsin. This soil which occupies the Lake Michigan terrace is devoted chiefly to sugar beets, cabbage, onions and potatoes. This portion has a high value that the central and western locations. The selling price ranges from $250 to $500 per acre where the land is improved. This is mainly due to the high crop yields.
3. Waukesha Loam (grass green color on the map). This is somewhat limited, covering a total of 3,648 acres, the most numerous are found upon the Lake Michigan Terrace and along the Des Plaines and Fox Rivers. The surface soil to a depth of about 10 inches consists of a dark brown to nearly black loam which contains considerable more organic matter of upland soils. At about 30 inches stratified beds of sand or gravelly material are often found.