The designation brings Ontario into a global movement and has been announced by Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal just before World Soil Day on Saturday and as part of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s designation of this year as International Year of Soils.
In 1914, the Ontario Soil Survey - the first in Canada - was launched. By 1923, the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and the Ontario Department of Agriculture published the "Preliminary Soil Survey of Southwestern Ontario."
The first soil series described in this benchmark document was called the Guelph Series.
It is made up of loams, sandy loams and silt loams identified on more than 70,000 hectares in Brant, Dufferin, Oxford, Perth, Lambton and Wellington, Waterloo, Halton and the City of Hamilton.
There are almost 300 soil series in Ontario.
Seven other provinces - Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia - have designated a provincial soil.
Alan Kruszel, president of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, said “designating a provincial soil during the International Year of Soils is a great way to raise awareness of the importance of soil to all Ontarians.
“Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association has had a lot of support in bringing this proposal forward and we are very happy to have been able to work with the Ministry to designate the Guelph Soil Series as Ontario’s Provincial Soil.”
Soil Series classifies soils by characteristics such as the number of horizons (or levels), color, thickness, texture, erosion phase, slope, organic content, and depth to bedrock.