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Cape Environmental

Science (Unit 2)
Internal Assignment

Name: Stephen Pommells

Candidate Number:

Centre Number: 100106

Territory: Jamaica

Teacher: Miss Ashmeade

Unit: 2

Year: 2016
Table of Contents

Topic
Introduction
Problem Statement
Purpose of Project
Methods of Data Collection
Site Visits
Labs
Literature Review
Presentation of Data
Analysis of Data
Discussion of Findings
Conclusion
Recommendation
Bibliography

Introduction

This Assignment seeks to satisfy the requirements for CAPE Environmental Science syllabus. In

conforming to the syllabus, candidates were expected to complete an Internally Assessed project

which is entails conducting site visits, laboratory report and a journal report, which would then
contribute to 20% of the final exam grade. This Internal Assessment focuses on instigating the

factors that affect the productivity levels on a farm which was visited in Nain St. Elizabeth.

Problem Statement

The issue being investigated is the factors influencing the productivity of the Nain farm in St.

Elizabeth and possible solutions and/ or recommendations to promote higher levels of

productivity.

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of this Assignment is to fulfil the requirements of the CAPE Environment Science
syllabus, specifically the Internal Assessment aspect. Upon completing this assignment the
candidate would have established his level of competence in the practical and investigative skills
developed in the unit.

Methods of Data Collection


The data required to complete this study was collected from observations made during site visits
that was supported by samples that were collected as well investigated while carrying out the lab
activities. Additional information was supplied using secondary sources which gave the
researcher a better understanding of the topic being investigated.

Site Visit

Entry Number: 1 - Nain farm


Date: January 29, 2016

Site (Location): The site that was visited was a hilly farm land.

Objectives:

1. To observe and identify farming practises that are used on these farms
2. To tour small farms in Nain
3. To find out the problems encountered by the farmers.

Activities: A guided tour of the farm was done and the crops cultivated were observed and

identified. Questions relating to the farming practises and chemicals used on the farm were asked

which was then answered by the farmers present. Photographs were taken of the farm, together

with, samples of soil were collected to be investigated and stored for future use.

Observation: The researcher observed that mixed cropping, fallowing and inter cropping were

farming practises done on the farm and crops were planted in plots. Common crops that were

observed on the farms include: thyme, scallion, cucumber, tomatoes and melon. Also pesticides

such as caratracks, vertimex and lanate have been used on the farm. Dry guinea grass have been

used in the field as a mulching agent. The irrigation was provided by a system of sprinkles and

drums.

Comments: Majority of the farming practises utilized are typical of that done on the scale of a

small commercial farm. This is proven as they practice inter-cropping where more than one crop

is planted on the same plot. They also practice following were the soil was left unseeded after
ploughing for a period of time in order to recover natural fertility. They also use artificial

fertilizers which are particularly cheaper for the use on larger plots of land than the organic

countertypes. Mixed cropping is also practiced which ensures that there is a variety of crops

available on the farm. These practices are done to maintain normal rate and intensity of

operations at the farm. The use of pesticides should be excluded from the farm and practising

organic farming should be implemented so that health risks to buys will be reduced. Using dry

guinea grass is a great idea as it helps to keep the soil nourished.

Follow up activities: Class discussion and a lab was conducted.

Site Visit

Entry Number: 2 STETHs farm

Date: March 1, 2016


Site (Location): Low lying rocky area on the school farm

Objectives:

1. To tour, observe and record farming activities on the schools farm


2. To identify problems associated with farming activities on the schools farm
3. To highlight ways in which the schools farm could be improved

Activities: A guided tour of the schools farm was done. An Agricultural Science teacher present

provided information on the farming practices and the chemicals which are utilized on the farm.

The students then asked questions about the farm. Afterwards, the candidates were giving a

chance to ask questions. Afterwards soil samples were collected to be stored as future reference.

Observation: One of the first observations made was the shallowness of the soil which had to be

built up by the students and the teacher. The researcher observed that phased, mixed and inter

cropping are farming practises done on the schools farm. Crops such as: Callalloo, Sweet

Pepper, Peas, Pak Choy, Cabbage and. Banana. Rocks are placed around the beds so as to

prevent soil erosion. Chicken manure and grass are used as mulch. The use of organic farming is

evident as a form of fertilization. It was also observed that security is the main issue for the

school farm as the farm is isolated at the back of the school but the farm itself is not properly

fenced. This allows stray animals to come on the property and eat the crops that are planted.

Comments: The farming methods that are practised on the school farm are commendable as the

use of mixed cropping ensures that a variety of crop is provided, phased cropping ensures that

food is continuously available all year long and inter cropping allows more than one crop to be

planted in one plot. The school farm also uses mulching to its benefit to help keep the soil fertile.

At the time, security and praedial larceny are major issues on the farm because there is lack of

security. The school farm losses crop because of the strayed animals that go on the farm and
destroy and/ or eat the crops. The best option in this case would be setting up parameter fence

around the school farm to keep these animals away and a security guard hired to keep students

and teachers safe.

Follow-up Activities: A class discussion and a lab were done.

Site Visit

Entry Number: 3 St. Bess Eggs

Date: March 1, 2016

Site (Location): Low lying, flood prone area in New River.


Objectives:

1. To tour and observe activities on the land


2. To participate in activities on the farm
3. To find out the challenges which face the farm

Activities: This site visit took the candidates onto guided tour of the St. Bess egg farm in St.

Elizabeth. During the guide the candidates were shown some of the basic daily operations of the

farm. Two varieties of chickens were observed and selected students were given the chance to go

into the coop and pick up eggs. From there the candidates were given a tour of the packaging

area.

Observation: The researcher observed that there were twelve different coops on the egg farm

consisting of Issa Brown and White Layers. Each coop had layers at different stages (age) as well

as different litter for different purposes. Each coop consisted of layers at different stages. At

every coop there is a foot bath that is filled with Jaze, a disinfectant that is used to sanitize the

shoes of those entering the coop. The chickens beaks were clipped to prevent cannibalism. The

water drums are painted white to keep the water inside cool, but although there short supply of

water. Giving great need and use to their automated water supply system which supply the

chickens with water. There are eight workers on the farm and they were all packing and

transporting the eggs. Eight bags of feed are given to one coop of chickens per day and the pens

are numbered.

Comments: Having layers at different stages is a very clever way of monitoring the output of

eggs from each set of chicken and it ensures continuous egg production relative to the different

set of chickens. Having a foot bath to sanitize the shoes of these who enter the coop is a good

move to reducing the amount of foreign debris that might get into the coop and potentially harm
the chickens through ingestion. Although they have a more mechanised system to provide water

to the chickens (hence requiring less manual labour) there is still a water shortage on the farm

and the owners could consider digging their own well and thus their own water that they have

more control over. They also experience the problem of praedial larceny, most probably because

they do not have a security officer working there. Flooding is also a major problem and so

elevating the coops could help prevent any complications when a serious enough flood does

arise.

Follow-up Activities: there was discussion amongst the candidates and additional reading was

done. A lab was also completed.

Entry Number: 4 Bee Farm

Date: April 6, 2016

Site (location): The farm is located on a sloppy area.

Objectives: 1. To tour, observe and record activities done on the apiary farm.

2. To participate in activities on the apiary farm.


3. To find out challenges faced by the apiary farm.

Activities: A guided tour of the apiary farm where the tour guide provided a description of the

different activities done on the apiary farm and the various challenges encountered on a daily

basis. Some of the candidates were given an opportunity to enter the apiary provided that they

were properly safeguarded. They observed different activities done on the apiary, and even get

the chance to take a look a bee hive foundation layer. The candidates were made to identify

veromites and their effect on the bees.

Observations: The tour guide had a smoker with onion skin and card board in it. The bees boxes

were then elevated on blocks. The presence of the veromites became more evident as he

smoked out the veromites. The tour guide used a tool to move the foundations in the bees

boxes. The bee population was divided into three categories of bees.

Comments: The smoker vital multipurpose tool used by the bee hive keeper to relax the bees in

the box. It also helps to get rid of the veromites, insects considered parasitic to the bees as they

feed on the bees eggs. This is where the onion skin is used where it serves as an irritant to the

veromites. This is turn, solves the problem using a more sustainable approach. The boxes were

elevated on blocks in effort to prevent future infestations. Alternatively, finding the veromites

nest and eradicating them completely can prevent them from causing further damage to the bee

population at the farm. The population was divided into three categories of bees based on roles

that they carry out as per a structural hierarchy.

Follow up activities: There was class discussion were information was shared amongst

candidates. Additional reading was also done.

Labs
Lab Number: 1

Title: Soil and Texture by Fractionation

Aim: To determine the texture of the soil sample using the fractionation method

Material: 100ml measuring cylinder, soil sample, stirring rod and water

Procedure:
A 100ml cylinder was filled with 25ml of the soil sample. Water was then added until there

was about 75ml of the soil sample mixture in the cylinder. Subsequently, a stirring rod was

used to mix soil/water mixture thoroughly. The cylinder was placed on the lab station and

left to settle overnight. When the soil suspension was settled out there were three distinct

layers (Sand, silt and clay). The volume of each layer of soil was measured and the total

volume of the sample. The percentage of each component was calculated and the type of soil

identified by using the texture triangle. The results were recorded in a table.

Results:

Table showing the volume of each layer of soil

Soil Type Volume of each layer


Clay 31.5%
Silt 67.3%
Sand (Fine) 1.14%
Total 100%
NB. The type of soil identified in this procedure was Silty Clay Loam.

Discussions and Conclusions:


Soil texture is the relative proportions of sand, silt, or clay (often known as soil separates) in a

soil. Soil texture as a property of soil structure alone has a profound effect on the behavioural

characteristics of soils, such as its water holding capacity, nutrient retention and supply, drainage,

and even erodibility. As a result there are soil textural classes which help with the

characterization of soils based upon their composition. Soils with the finest texture (smallest

particle size) are called clay soils which tend to absorb and hold water more readily and it is also

makes it resistant to erosion. While soils with the coarsest texture (largest particle size) are called

sands and are more permeable by air and water and are more susceptible to erosion than clay

soils. Silt soils, when compared to the slay and sand types, relatively fall midway in terms of

particle size, smoothness, fertility and water holding capacity, but typically behaves more like

clay soils. A soil that has a relatively even mixture of sand, silt, and clay and exhibits the

properties of each is called a loam.

The difference of particle size amongst the different soil separates allows them to possess

different densities. On this basis, the different percentages of soil separates within a single soil

sample can be made evident by mixing the soil sample with enough water (within a small

container) to allow the insoluble components of the soil to isolate themselves in suspension

based on their respective densities (where the least dense soil separates will settle closer to the

top of the suspension; and the more dense soil separates, closer to the bottom) showing the

different components of the soil mixture. The percentages of clay, silt, and sand in a soil can be

found and used to determine the identity of the soil sample by using the textural triangle which
serves as a reference to determine the textural class of the soil sample. in the case of this

experiment the textural identity of the sample indicates that it is a silty clay loam soil.

Lab Number: 2

Title: Soil Bulk Density and Soil Porosity

Aim: To determine the bulk density and porosity of a soil

Materials: Hammer, hand towel, soil core, vernier calliper, plastic bag, petri dish, oven and

balance.

Procedure: An area for sampling was selected with little or no roots. The soil core of a known
volume was hammered into the soil. (Volume of the core is calculated using the formula V=
r 2 h where r is the radius of core and h is height of core). The soil core was then removed

ensuring that it was totally full but not over flowing with soil (trying not to compact the sample).
The sample was placed in a plastic bag where it was labelled for analysis. The mass of the soil
was found and the soil sample collected. The dry soil sample was placed in the oven at 105C for
24 hours. The bulk density was then calculated using the formula (Oven dry soil weight / Total
volume of soil). With that, the soil porosity was then calculated as (bulk density/ particle density)
x 100% (where the Particle density = oven-dry soil weight / volume of soil solids)

Results:

Table showing the volume core, mass, bulk density and porosity

Volume of Core Mass Bulk Density Porosity


45.56 cm3 80.9 grams 1.77g/cm3 0.77 g/cm3

Discussion and Conclusions

Soil water and air occupy voids in the soil, called pore spaces. The pore system in soil provides

the conduits for air and water exchange and houses roots and microbes. Pore size affects pore
activity. Big pores, macropores, facilitate free-water drainage, aeration, evaporation, and gas

exchange. Mesopores, medium-size pores, are essential to capillary water distribution, and

micropores provide water storage sites. Soil porosity takes into account the amount of pore

volume (% of pore space) and is defined by it. That is, the portion of the soil volume occupied by

pore spaces. This property does not have to be measured directly since it can be calculated using

values determined for bulk density and particle density. Finding the ratio of bulk density to

particle density and multiplying by 100 calculates the percent solid space, so subtracting it from

100 gives the % of soil volume that is pore space. Bulk density is the soil mass divided by unit

volume. In its natural state, a soil's volume includes solids and pores; therefore, a sample must be

taken without compaction or crumbling to correctly determine bulk density. The particle density

is the volumetric mass of the solid soil. It differs from bulk density because the volume used

does not include pore spaces.

The bulk density of the soil collected from the Nain farm is 1.77g/cm3 and the porosity is 0.77

g/cm3. This is relatively low as the ideal volume for bulk density is 2.68 g/cm3. This is caused by

the excess tillage of the soil which allows water to pass through quickly. Excess tillage causes

the soil to lose its compactness and density. When eroded soil particles fill pore space, porosity is

reduced and bulk density is increased. Tillage and equipment travel results in compacted soil

layers which increase bulk density. Tillage prior to planting temporarily decreases bulk density

on the surface but increases at the depth of tillage. Measures can be implemented to increase

organic matter and reduce compaction which improves bulk density and porosity. These

measures are; continuous no-till, cover crops, solid manure or compost application, diverse

rotation with high residue crops, minimize soil disturbance and avoid operating equipment when

soils are wet.


Lab Number: 3

Title: Soil Drainage and Water-holding Capacity

Aim: To determine the water-holding capacity and drainage in a soil sample

Materials: Filter funnel, filter paper, stop watch, 25ml measuring cylinder, conical flask, water

and soil sample.

Procedure:

A piece of filter paper was folded and placed in a funnel. 20ML of a soil sample (dried) was

placed into the funnel. The funnel was held over a conical flask and 50ml of water was poured

into the funnel. Afterwards, the time for which it took for the water to start coming out of the

funnel, was measured and recorded. The time it took for water to stop dripping from the funnel

was also recorded. Afterwards, the volume of water collected was measured and the rate of

drainage was calculated and recorded.

Results

Table showing the Soil drainage and water-holding capacity.

Place where soil is Time taken to drain cm3 of water Cm3 of water held
taken from drained
Farm In Nain 50 seconds 40cm3 10cm3
STETHS School 54 seconds 40cm3 10cm3
Farm
Table comparing rate of drainage

Place where soil is taken Volume collected Total Rate of drainage


from
Farm in Nain 40cm3 0.8cm3s-1
50

STETHS School Farm 40cm3 0.7cm3s-1


54

Discussion

One of the main functions of soil is to store moisture, thus acting as a buffer, supplying water to

plants between rainfalls or irrigations. This water content varies with the conditions and is

termed as the water holding capacity of the soil. On the other hand there is soil drainage which

can sometimes act against the water holding capacity of a soil as this property allows water to

pass through the soil. This shows that there is a strong relation between the water holding

capacity of a soil and the soil drainage of the soil, as they are both affected by the same factors.

Such factors include: soil texture and structure, water infiltration and permeability. When soil is

saturated, all the pores are full of water and all gravitational drains out over time, leaving the soil

at field capacity. Plants then draw water out of the capillary pores, readily at first and then with
greater difficulty, until no more can be withdrawn and the only water left are in the micro-pores.

The soil is then at wilting point and without water additions, plants die.

In this way the movement of water through a soil can be described as acting like a filter, holding

a portion of the water it receives and releasing the rest. On this basis, the water-holding capacity

and drainage in a soil sample can be determined by the rate at which water percolates through it.

That is, the rate at which water passes through the soil sample (in the case of the experiment) is

directly defined by the soil drainage and the water capacity of the soil. Therefore the soil

drainage and the water capacity can be determined by passing a specific volume of water through

the soil sample and use the rate of percolation to determine the soil drainage and the difference of

water given to the sample to the amount that was collected after drainage.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that how quickly or slowly the soil drains water is based on the soil texture

and other elements. Also the soil type on the school farm has better water holding capacity as it

drains water slower than the farm in Nain.


Journal

Literature Review

Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil and/ or waters

for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provision of food, and other products.

Jamaica as well as most of the other countries and islands in the tropical region is known for

their ability to produce agricultural products found nowhere else in the world. Agriculture, by

itself, is a prime contributor to the development of Jamaicas economy as it is often look to as the

main provider of raw materials used by the manufacturing sector.

However, Agriculture especially in Jamaica has been somewhat affected by the influence of

praedial larceny, technology, natural disasters and hazards, and pests and/ diseases. These factors

may occur ether to the detriment or benefit of farmers around the island. According to Winston
Bailey, an agriculturist, in one of his articles on the influence of technology on agriculture, state

that technology as major economic force drives agriculture, at least on the commercial scale. But

with advanced technology being out of the reach of the average farmer, some farmers often times

neglect the use of modern technology, even though they intend to produce on a commercial

scale.

Farmers experiences financial losses where crops and tools are destroyed and stolen. A 2010

report endorsed by the CARICOM Council of Ministers for Trade and Agriculture estimates that

the total annual losses in Caribbean Community to be 385 million. Jamaicas Minister of

Agriculture and Fisheries estimated in 2010 that praedial larceny costs Jamaican farmers up to 5

million dollars per year in losses. Not only are there financial losses but also physical losses.

Farmers suffer great losses to praedial larceny where some decide to quit farming all together.

Robert E. Branson, Douglass G. Norvell. In their book, introduction to agricultural marketing,

states that incentives facilitates the innovation, technologies and endorses input and output

marketing arrangements. It was also assumed to have a positive influence on the productivity

levels on farms. Some of the incentives farmers receive are subsidies such as grants, tax break or

trade barriers. These encouragements push farmers to find ways of improving the quality, variety

and quantity of the crops they produce.

Natural disasters are a major factor in level of productivity of farms. In St. Elizabeth farmers

have been affected greatly from drought over the past two years. St. Elizabeth and Manchester

accounts for approximately 40% of Jamaicas domestic agricultural production however, over the

past two years that percentage fell because of drought or dry spell. However, the Minister of

Agriculture decided that the ministry will implement the National Irrigation Development Plan.

This was to farmers a fighting chance by helping with water supply for their crops and also their
livestocks. This as well as other past programs developed by the ministry have garnered praise

from many farmers who say they have greatly benefitted from these programs.

Pests have now become a major issue over the past years and there has been a myriad of ways

that farmers have tried to resist its effects. Most have chosen to increase the amount of pesticides

they apply to the crops an act that in most cases have done nothing but complicate the problem.

Health problems such as cancer, respiratory ailments and food poisoning can develop in humans

and environmental problems such as pesticides are dissipated in the air as vapour, in water as

run-off or in soil by leaching to the groundwater. Organic farming has been seen as the natural

solution to the problem and providing that its a cost effective alternative, the importance of its

use has been stressed by those in the profession.

Discussion of Findings

Throughout this project it became apparent that there are many factors that affect the

productivity from the Nain farm in a positive and/ or negative way. Technology for one, has been

seen as a double edged sword which can either improve production or cause undesirable

situations if not used properly. The level of technological integration can be improved on the

farm as the level of manual labour observed can be a possible source of hindrance to the

productivity of the farm.

Conclusion

In conclusion it can be said that the productivity of the Nain farm in St. Elizabeth is affected by

several factors which include the use of modern technology, personal motivation, praedial
larceny, pests and diseases and also drought. These impacts can be seen to have a negative effect

on the farms productivity.

Recommendation

Throughout this project various points pertaining to the factors affecting productivity of the farm

in Nain St. Elizabeth have been highlighted. These points can be used as a reference showing the

position of the Nain farm in terms of its development. With that said, there are various solution

that can be taken from this project.

The farm should make good use of the National Irrigation Plan (NIP) to strengthen their

water security.
Farmers can be given incentives that can assist them furthering the development of their

farms.
There should be more severe sanctions put in place for those who practice praedial

larceny.
Farmers in Nain should lessen down on the amount of tilling done to the soil.
Different seminars can be held to educate and inform farmers on the factors that affect

productivity levels on farms.

Bibliography

William P. Cunningham, M.A (2010). Environmental Science A Global Concern. New York:

McGraw Hill Publishers.

Thrones Nelson. CAPE Environmental Science Unit 2 study Guide: Oxford University Press.

Robert E. Branson, Douglass G. Norvell. Branson (1983). Introduction to Agricultural

Marketing. New York : McGraw-Hill.


Characteristics of Different Soils. Http://www.vaderstad.com/. N.p., n.d. Web.

Soil Water Holding Capacity. http://bettersoils.soilwater.com.au/module2/. N.p., n.d. Web.

Microsoft Cooperation, (2009). Microsoft Encarta. Microsoft Cooperation.

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