Hot Sandy Soil

This is in response to the message from Chuck Benbrook concerning
soil quality and its relation to production.  He stated that "...the
capacity to support high yields with inputs that are accessible, and
relatively sustainable is an important soil quality attribute." 

In common usage, quality is used todenote the degree of excellence of 
an object, substance, idea, etc.  While it is true that sandy soils
in tropical climates can support high crop yields given appropriate
modifications and inputs (irrigation, drainage, fertilizer, pest 
management, improved crop varieties, etc) the soil itself has low 
inherent quality for intensive production.  In the past agriculturists
have spoken of the soil suitability for certain crop production.  This
is in recognition that sooils differ in chemical, physical,and biological
character and are varied in their "suitedness" for particular crops.  

Soil quality discussions are not the same as soil suitability discussions.
Soil quality has referred to the inherent characteristics that make the
medium good-fair-poor in relation to its native state. In some 
discussions it has been stretched to include some of the characteristics 
of suitedness.  

It seems that we should be focusing soil quality deliberations toward
those definable characteristics of soil that can be distinctive 
markers of inherent or altered form, ie quality.  The hot sandy 
irrigated soils may be high quality media for growing  crops but
they may still be very poor quality soils.  

Marc Safley