Overview of the Soils Report.
The Soils (SSurgo) report is a report that is located within both Surety Customized Online Mapping and Surety Pro® Customized Online Mapping. The Soils report is used by growers (farmers), financial institutions, rural appraisers, insurance companies, auction companies, soil testing facilities, engineers, and cooperatives just to name a few. The Soils report utilizes soil survey data from NRCS (Source:http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/home
)in all states.
A few highlights available on our soils report from the SSurgo database include the following:
The following are additional soils features provided from other sources.
The soils version can be selected from a drop down in the upper right hand corner of the soils report. If you don’t see this option select "Tools" from the menu on the main mapping page then "Options", "Options Page" and click the circle next to "print maps from a web page" and click "Save".
- The Nebraska (NE) NRCS no longer updates the yields in the Web Soil Survey. The reason being that with the advancement of farming practices, the data quickly becomes out of date.
- Nebraska NRCS also has deemed the Soil Ratings for Plant Growth (SRPG) an obsolete rating system.Source: NE Soils – Osceola County Email. Daniel Shurtliff (Wednesday 5 November 2014) For the time being SRPG is still the default soil option that is enabled on NE soils. This can be changed in the Soils Options page.
- Instead, NRCS NE uses the National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI) which uses natural relationships of soil, landscape and climate factors to model the response of commodity crops in soil map units. - Shurtliff, Daniel; NRCS, Lincoln, NE; 7/2/2014
- In Jan. 2014, the new CSR2 data introduced into the NRCS database some of the yield information was excluded. In order to view the missing yield numbers, in our Soil Maps, the ISPAID database was made available in Surety. Iowa (IA) ISPAID Crop Yield Data In the October 2014 soil data release, some soil reclassification has been done. In an instance where a soil type has been reclassified, there will only be a CSR2 value since no other data exists for that new soil classification.
- Indiana soils Missing Yield data - The January 2014 soil data release excluded the yield information for many soil types. The EFOTG information for Indiana (IN) Soils was enabled as an automatic column for that data. The October 2014 soil data release has resolved this issue and the EFOTG is no longer displayed for the current soil version.
- In the situation that you are using the previous soil version (11/6/2014), then understand that the NRCS rating supersedes the EFOTG value.
- Minnesota (MN) Soils PI inaccuracies within the 2014 soil data. If you generate a Soil map in Minnesota using the Productivity Index and select the soil version 11/6/2014, you will receive a message similar to the following:
- The NRCS released inaccurate Productivity indexes(PI) for MN during the 2014 data refresh.(2015 has been resolved) We recommend using either our latest version or the prior version (2/5/2014) of the soils in our system.
This notice has come about in response to inaccurate changes from the previous soils version. "The values are wrong because they are using an interpretation designed for North Dakota soils. This system is not wrong when used within ND but when extended beyond the context of the rest of the soils in each particular state, it loses meaning/usefulness. A suggested solution to this is to use the National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI). This has usefulness because the ratings are consistently applied across the country. It fails however, with Minnesota specific Soils because the query assumes no drainage of any kind. The result of this is that some of the better cropland is rated low because of wetness. Because of this, MN has decided to continue support of the Crop Productivity Index for the near future." (J. Beck NRCS MN state soil scientist. Personal Communication, March 6 2014)
- Ohio (OH) soils missing Yield and PI numbers since Jan 2014 soil release - Soil types that have been reclassified by the NRCS no longer have crop yield information associated with it. This is due to inconsistencies between the same soil types in two states. At this time there are no solutions to the issue.
Previous Soil Version
The prior version of the soils database can be selected from a drop-down in the upper right hand corner of the soils report. If you don’t see this option select "Tools" from the menu on the main mapping page then "Options", "Options Page" and click the circle next to "print maps from a web page" and click "Save". See: Soils Map History & Version
for more help.
When evaluating land the following should be considered.¶Class and Subclass:
Land capability classification shows, in a general way, the suitability of soils for most kinds of field crops. Crops that require special management are excluded. The soils are grouped according to their limitations for field crops, the risk of damage if they are used for crops, and the way they respond to management. The criteria used in grouping the soils do not include the major and generally expensive land forming that would change slope, depth, or other characteristics of the soils, nor do they include possible but unlikely major reclamation projects. Capability classification is not a substitute for interpretations that show suitability and limitations of groups of soils for range land, for woodland, or for engineering purposes.
In the capability system, soils are generally grouped at three levels-capability class, subclass, and unit. Only class and subclass are included in this data set.
Capability classes, the broadest groups, are designated by the number 1
The numbers indicate progressively greater limitations and narrower choices for practical use. The classes are defined as follows:
- Class 1 soils have few limitations that restrict their use.
- Class 2 soils have moderate limitations that reduce the choice of plants or that require moderate conservation practices.
- Class 3 soils have severe limitations that reduce the choice of plants or that require special conservation practices, or both.
- Class 4 soils have very severe limitations that reduce the choice of plants or that require very careful management, or both.
- Class 5 soils are subject to little or no erosion but have other limitations, impractical to remove, that restrict their use mainly to pasture, range land, forestland, or wildlife habitat.
- Class 6 soils have severe limitations that make them generally unsuitable for cultivation and that restrict thier use mainly to pasture, range land, forestland, or wildlife habitat.
- Class 7 soils have very severe limitations that make them unsuitable for cultivation and that restrict their use mainly to grazing, forestland, or wildlife habitat.
- Class 8 soils and miscellaneous areas have limitations that preclude commercial plant production and that restrict their use to recreational purposes, wildlife habitat, watershed, or esthetic purposes.
Note: While NRCS reports up to 8 classes, there are actually a total of 12 classes. Therefore, our Soils report displays up to 12 classes. The classes 9-12 will be for granite and such and will benefit engineers the most.
Natural Resources Conservation Service. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/ref/?cid=nrcs142p2_054226
Land capability classification shows, in a general way, the suitability of soils for most kinds of field crops. Crops that require special management are excluded. The soils are grouped according to their limitations for field crops, the risk of damage if they are used for crops, and the way they respond to management. The criteria used in grouping the soils do not include major and generally expensive land forming that would change slope, depth, or other characteristics of the soils, nor do they include possible but unlikely major reclamations projects. Capability classification is not a substitute for interpretations that show suitability and limitations of groups of soils for range land, for woodland, or for engineering purposes. In the capability system, soils are generally grouped at three levels-capability class, subclass, and unit. Only class and subclass are included in this data set.
Capability sub-classes are soil groups within one capability class. They are designated by adding a small letter "e", "w", "s", or "c", to the class numeral, for example, 2e. The letter "e" shows that the main hazard is the risk of erosion unless close-growing plant cover is maintained; "w" shows that water in or on the soil interferes with plant growth or cultivation (in some soils the wetness can be partly corrected by artificial drainage); "s" shows that the soil is limited mainly because it is shallow, drought, or stony; and "c", used in only some parts of the United States, shows that the chief limitation is climate that is very cord or very dry.
In class 1 there are no sub-classes because the soils of this class have few limitations. Class 5 contains only the sub-classes indicated by "w", "s",or "c" because the soils in class 5 are subject to little or no erosion. They have other limitations that restrict their use to pasture, range land, forestland, or wildlife habitat.
Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Retrieved from
Exclusively used in ND, SD and MN. The Productivity Index is a way in which the NRCS assigns a productivity value to the soil on a 0 Worst - 100 Best rating scale. See also: Soils Report Options
. The coloring on the map is optional and can be set by productivity index to easily visualize the variability across the field. See also: Soil Color Options
The PI Index is a system designed to assign a value to a soil that indicates its overall Productivity. There are 5 assumptions made when the soils are given a rating. (Soil Survey Staff)
- adequate management
- natural weather conditions (no irrigation)
- artificial drainage where required
- no frequent flooding on lower lying soils
- no land leveling or terracing.
By using this type of rating system the actual yield averages can go up over time but the indices will stay consistent in relation to one another over time.
The Productivity Index will appear on Soils reports that are generated for ND, SD, MN.
Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Retrieved from
South Dakota Productivity
South Dakota Productivity Index (PI) is a statewide PI index that is determined county by county.
You can set the color options by going to the Soil Color Options Page
Illinois Bulletin 811
These ratings only apply to Illinois soil. The rating range from 47 Worst - 147 Best. Source: http://soilproductivity.nres.illinois.edu
, Retrieved (6 September 2012). In addition, you can pick and choose which crop yield information appears on the report. Manage this in the Soils Report Options Page
under the tab Illinois Productivity
The coloring on the map can also be modified according to Bulletin 811 ratings. See Soil Color Options
Iowa CSR/CSR2 (Corn Suitability Rating)
This only applies to Iowa soils. It has a rating of 0 Worst - 100 Best. For more information visit: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c2-86.html
, Retrieved (6 September 2012)
CSR2 is a newly released rating and it is based on a more objective (formula based analysis) where CSR had some subjectivity applied to the rating.
In addition, you can also select individual crops that you only want to see data for or you can select all the crops and if there is data available, it will be displayed on our report See also: Soils Report Options.
CSR & CSR2 data in included in the most recent Soil version of the Soils Data. If you are wanting to only access the CSR ratings. Choose the previous version from the Soil Version drop down. See Soils Version Selection
for more information on that.
The coloring on the map is optional and it is so that the information can be discerned visually with relative ease on the map See also: Soil Color Options
Changes in Iowa soils Corn Suitability Rating from CSR to CSR 2
See Also: Iowa Corn Suitability Rating 2 (CSR2)
At AgriData, Inc. one of our goals is to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information we can. We do this by keeping our soils data consistent and updated with the USDA NRCS databases and Web Soil Survey. This data is the official federal soils data. Each year in October, the USDA| NRCS releases a large number of updates to their soils databases across the country. In particular, there have been some major changes to the data for Iowa in regards to the Iowa Corn Suitability Rating (CSR), removal of yield information, and a resurvey/reclassification of a few of counties' soil series.
Jim Jenson - extension farm management field specialist for Iowa State University - explains further: "People have asked, “Why did the CSR need to change? They were just getting comfortable with using the index.” There were some good reasons to make changes, including a desire for transparency and uniformity. Additionally, advances in soil-mapping techniques and the adoption of the national soil classification system during the past 50 years provided improved methods for calculating the CSR2 when compared to the original CSR formula. Expert judgment was applied to fine tune the CSR rates, but in some cases there were years or decades between the times the judgment was applied for a given county based on the frequency of county soil reviews. As a result, the publicly available data didn’t correspond directly to the soil properties. Not only that, but technology had changed to the point that old soil characteristics used to calculate CSR might not exist and new characteristics with greater accuracy can now be used. The new CSR2 calculates the index on a statewide basis."
The new formula makes it easier for thThe NRCS uses a continual improvement process in examining soils and will make changes to the CSR2 as needed in the future.
Jensen also gives a timeline for when the CSR2 data will officially become used, "Assessors will probably start using the new CSR2 numbers in 2015. You will need to check with your local county assessor to determine when the new number will be used to calculate property taxes."
Obviously with the change in CSR ratings, land value may also be affected. Since Climate is no longer an adjustment, CSR ratings can shift more or less depending on the geographical location of the land. (Jensen)
At a AgriData, Inc., our standard is the USDA NRCS soils database so we will be including CSR2 in our maps. In order to better communicate with you and your soils map customers, we will also have CSR data available for the foreseeable future.
For additional information: http://www.dreamdirt.com/2012/08/26/iowas-new-csr2-how-does-it-affect-value/
Last Revised: 11/11/2014
Burras, L. (2013, May 23). Iowa State University Updates Method for Rating Soil Productivity. Retrieved from
Iowa State University.(2013, May). Corn Suitability Rating (CSR) Background and Update. Retrieved from
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/page/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/page/CSR2 FAQ Final.pdf
Jensen, J. (2013, September). CSR gets a makeover in forming the new CSR2 Productivity Index. Retrieved from
Iowa ISPAID Crop Yield Data (Iowa Soil Properties and Interpretations Database)¶
The initial refresh of data for the CSR2, some of the yield information that has been removed has been requested to be still shown on Surety Soil Maps. To address these requests we have gathered data from the Iowa State ISPAID database.
If enabled in the Soil Options page
under the Iowa ISPAID tab, then crop yields will appear alongside the CSR2 data. This was added for the 2014 soil data and will be included with future soil versions until further notice.
For More information on the ISPAID crop yield ratings, view the official manual from the Iowa State website. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Documents/soils/ISPAID_73man.doc
Nebraska SRPG (Soil Rating for Plant Growth)
The SRPG is specific to Nebraska Soils and is a measuring tool based on the analysis of the soils tests to ascertain the projected productivity of the cropland. See the dedicated page SRPG ratings for Nebraska Soils
for more information.
Notice: "The NRCS now considers the SRPG obsolete as a rating system." (Shurtliff) It is, however still going to be available within the Surety database for historical reference. It has been recommended to use the NCCPI instead.
These SRPG ratings can be enabled or disabled in the Soil Options
page. By default they are enabled for new users.
Set the colors to be based on SRPG ratings in our Soil Color Options
D. Shurtliff NRCS NE State soil scientist, Message to AgriData, November 5 2014. Email
EFOTG Electronic Field Office Technical Guide Ratings for Indiana (IN) Corn
The NRCS had removed some yield information from their Web Soil Survey Database including Corn yields on Indiana soils in the 2014 database. Because of this, we have contacted the Indiana State Soil scientist to get that information into our database again. The NRCS was using the EFOTG which had the most recent updates for the 2014 Soil Database. (Struben) We have incorporated this information for the Indiana Soils when you select the previous soil version on the soil map. They are displayed in a column titled "*efotg" This data is accessible at: http://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/treemenuFS.aspx
The crop yield reports are in Section II, under the Detailed Soil Information - Property, Quality and Soil Interpretations tab, by individual county tabs, then Crop yields.
Note: If there is yield information available in the typical yield columns (NRCS data) as well as the EFOTG column, it is advised to use the official NRCS data and not the EFOTG.
Update: This issue has been corrected and the EFOTG data is no longer necessary to show within the 11/6/2014 soil version.
Struben, Gary - IN NRCS State Soil Scientist. "Indiana Crop Yields." Message to AgriData, Inc.. 04 Apr 2014. E-mail.
No Data Available
In some parts of the country, there is no data available in the Web Soil Survey Database. The soils map will then read "No Digital Data Available".
No Data for selected soils
Visual Guide to Understanding the Soils Report Layout