How can you tell which soil is good for agriculture? The Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) uses soil and site information to determine a grade (from 1 to 5) that can be used to assess the productivity of land.

The ALC grade can ensure that informed decisions can be made over the future use of soil within the planning system. This project updated the ALC map in Wales by incorporating additional soil information within the National Soil Map (Natmap) units. It used specific legacy data derived from detailed mapping and auger bore observations and expert input from the original soil surveyors.

The resulting update more appropriately represents the diversity of soil types in Wales represented on the national map. This data along with an update of the climatic variables used in ALC produced a new predictive map of ALC grades in Wales at 50m grid resolution.

In a second phase we are further refining the ALC predictions to include data from previously unpublished Welsh Government ALC survey reports. The map is available as an online viewer to inform planning authorities and the public about the predictive quality of agricultural land in Wales. 

Online map viewer of the new ALC map for Wales is available here.

Publications

ALC Wales, a research project at Cranfield University
Agricultural land classification