All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2018

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2018. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 23/02/2018

0552a KEXBY

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Soil and site characteristics

Deep stoneless fine sandy soils affected by groundwater. Associated with similar well drained soils. Risk of wind erosion.

Geology

Aeolian sand

Cropping and Land Use

Cereals, potatoes and sugar beet.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.52 KEXBY 50% Eutric Endogleyic Arenosols
5.51 NABURN 25% Eutric Brunic Arenosols

Covers 55 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

10
Freely draining slightly acid sandy soils

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0552a KEXBY

Detailed Description

The Kexby association consists mainly of very permeable fine sandy stoneless soils in aeolian sand over clay at a depth of 2 to 3 m. Mottling in the subsoil is generally less marked than in the related Everingham association, because most Kexby soils are on slightly higher ground and were less affected in the past by fluctuating groundwater levels. Regional land drainage has since lowered these levels, so that seasonal waterlogging now is even less likely. The association occupies small areas in the Vale of York and occurs narrowly at the foot of the chalk escarpment to the south of Market Weighton and near Scunthorpe. Relief is gently undulating in the Vale of York where it may represent fossil dune remnants. Altitude varies from 4 m O.D. near Selby to 30 m O.D. north of Scunthorpe, but most places are between 9 and 12 m O.D. Wind erosion of the topsoil is common in dry spring weather. The most widespread soil is the Kexby series, gleyic brown sands, in which subsoil mottling indicates slight contemporary or, possibly, historical groundwater influence. Almost equally extensive is the Naburn series, typical brown sands.

The soil pattern is closely related to relief and to former groundwater levels. The Kexby series is found on the slopes of undulations. Upper slopes and crests are unaffected by groundwater and are dominated by the freely drained sandy Naburn series. Other soils account for approximately one fifth of the association. The Everingham seriesis in depressions where groundwater levels are near the surface in winter. The Holme Moor series has a hard, rust-coloured layer a little below plough depth and is usually found on crests of low undulations just within reach of groundwater, particularly under present or recent heathland. Medium sandy soils, Ollerton and Blackwood series, and the coarse loamy, seasonally waterlogged Quorndon series occur in places. Near the Escrick moraine there are some reddish loamy Escrick soils.


Soil Water Regime

Prior to regional drainage, fluctuating groundwater levels were common, particularly in winter. Groundwater rarely impedes root growth now and the Kexby and Naburn series are well drained (Wetness Class I), control of groundwater in these very permeable soils being easily effected where necessary by pipes or ditches. In many areas ditches alone are adequate. Silting of drains can occur and filter-wrapped pipes are sometimes used. Although groundwater is held up by the underlying clay, it is usually too deep in summer to be of use to crops. Both the main soils are therefore either slightly or moderately droughty for most crops and Naburn series is very droughty for grass.

Cropping and Land Use

All the soils are easy to work and suited to a wide range of arable and horticultural crops. Although crops are easily established, droughtiness can reduce yields. Barley and wheat are the most important, followed closely by sugar beet which is processed in York. Potatoes are widely grown, but often suffer from eel-worm. Carrots, a traditional and high yielding crop on the Vale of York sands, were more widely grown in the past and could be extensive again if required. Peas have increased in popularity in recent years, and other vegetables such as brussel sprouts could be grown extensively. Drought is a limitation in all vegetable cropping and yields could be increased considerably by irrigation. Intensive vegetable cropping would also require easy access to processing factories. The soils can be cultivated without damage well into December in most years. In many seasons, landwork is possible throughout the winter provided two or three days have lapsed after periods of heavy rain. Even in a wet year there is adequate time for cultivation in the early autumn. Suitable spring working periods are shorter but more than adequate, even in a wet year. The soils are weakly structured and liable to compaction, particularly where sugar beet has been harvested late in the year. Compaction can be overcome by subsoiling, preferably in the following summer when the soil is dry. Subsoiling is also advisable in the Holme Moor series to break up the compact subsurface layer. Direct drilling is not recommended because of the tendency to compaction. Wind erosion is common in many places when spring-sown crops are being established. This results from very weak soil structure and leads to loss of topsoil and uprooted seedlings. It can be reduced by avoiding very fine seed beds, by marling or, if possible, by increasing the organic content of the soil.

Many farmers maintain a little grassland to accommodate cattle and sheep as a secondary enterprise. Grass grows well in spring and there is little risk of poaching. Yields in summer however, and to a lesser extent in autumn, are restricted by droughtiness and the soils are only moderately suited for intensive grassland. The permeable fine sandy soils are well suited for slurry spreading, except in wet conditions in mid-winter when tractors and machinery cause compaction. All the soils are naturally infertile and acid, and without management would revert to heath. Regular dressings of lime and fertilizer are required to maintain good yields but trace element deficiency can follow heavy liming. With irrigation the land is well suited to horticulture, particularly ornamental plants, many of which grow well in acid soils.

Trees, particularly conifers grow well. The controlled low levels of groundwater encourage deep rooting, thus reducing damage by wind. Forestry could be extended profitably to the more droughty areas which suffer wind erosion, where windbreaks would be useful. Planting is mainly of Scots and Corsican pine, with a little sycamore. Sitka spruce is considered unsuitable because of the low rainfall.

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0552a KEXBY

Typical Landscapes

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All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2018

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2018. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 23/02/2018