Land Suitability Rating System Development (LSRS), Modifications to Accommodate Additional Crops 2007

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Executive summary | Acknowledgements | References | Download

Executive Summary

This project was undertaken to expand the Land Suitability Rating System platform to accommodate alternate crops and different supporting databases. In addition, all procedures and decisions were to be documented so that the program could be reconstituted by NLWIS to support the applications of soil survey information in that setting.

The main deliverable is the compiled computer program: LSRS 3.0 – dated 20-12-2007

  • It uses a spreadsheet type of approach to provide a generic, transparent platform for the assessment of land suitability ratings for the production of specified crops.
  • It includes program models to determine ratings for the principal grain, oilseed and forage crops grown in Canada - specifically spring-seeded small grains, canola, corn, soybean, alfalfa and brome-timothy.
  • This version uses the Soil Landscapes of Canada ver 3.0 map and databases.

    A second deliverable is this report which describes the processes and procedures followed including references to research that were used to develop and support the decisions taken.

    General regional testing indicated that the LSRS 3.0 program functioned properly and produced results that were within the expected range.

  • It is recommended that AAFC should consider some in-depth, crop-specific testing by regional specialists to ensure that limitations have been appropriately assessed.

    The report also identifies several outstanding issues that were encountered during the testing phase. This includes items related to the functioning of the SLRS program as well as other database and delivery issues and identifies some future actions to enhance the LSRS product. Included are:

  • The need for consistent national databases - particularly the need to develop and maintain a catalog of agricultural modified or managed soils.
  • The ability to maintain and augment or upgrade the databases associated with the LSRS program – mainly the climate files which may become particularly important for climate change studies.
  • The requirement to expand the capability of the LSRS program to support assessments at more detailed scales than the 1:1M scale of the SLC and particularly to manage site or field-specific situations.


    This project was phased and each test version of the program was subsequently modified for new crops or to correct problems. All versions of LSRS3.0 dated prior to 20-10-2007 should be removed and destroyed before this version is enabled.

    This program includes the publicly-available SLC3.0 database (ca 2004). Regional users are encouraged to contact their local Land Resource Unit for updated Soil Map Unit, Soil Name and Soil Layer files.


The authors would particularly like to thank J.A. Brierley (scientific advisor) for continual support and coordination of the data acquisition and testing efforts. Thanks also to A. Wadell (Manitoba LRU) for management of the climatic data.

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Land Resource Unit staff in each province for the review and initial testing of the alternate crop programs: L.Kinney, A. Anderson. L. Kozak, G. Lelyk, D. Kroetsch, J.-M. Cossette, Y. Jiao, S. Fahmy, D. Langille, K. Webb, D. Holmstrom, and E. Woodrow.

A special thanks to all the crop and agronomy specialists across the country who freely gave their time, advice and general help in providing direction for the various crop assessments. They include: for corn - K. Reid (OMAFRA) who commented on corn requirements and passed on the request to A. Nadler (Manitoba) who also provided comments and references, Dr. L. Reid (AAFC, Ottawa), provided insight on hybrids and heat units and Dr. L. Ma who was contacted regarding corn agronomy; for canola - S. Brandt AAFC, Scott), Dr. H Stepphun (AAFC, Swift Current), Dr. M. Morrison (AAFC, Ottawa) and P. Thomas (Brassica Corp.,Lacombe); for soybeans – Dr. E. Cober and Dr. M. Morrison (AAFC, Ottawa); for forages - Jane Thornton, Manitoba Forage Specialist, and Dr. Bruce Coulman, University of Saskatchewan.


AIWG (Agronomic Interpretations Working Group). 1995. Land suitability rating system for agricultural crops: 1. Spring-seeded small grains. Edited by W.W. Pettapiece. Tech. Bull. No. 1995-6E. Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research, Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa. 90p, 2 maps. (CLBRR Cont No 95-04)

ARDA. 1965. Canada Land Inventory, Soil Capability Classification for Agriculture. The Canada Land Inventory Report No. 2. Dept of Forestry and Rural Development, Otrtawa. 16 pp.

Brown, D.M. and A. Bootsma. 1993. Crop heat units for corn and other warm season crops in Ontario. Fact sheet 111/31. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Guelph Ontario. 6 p.

Klingebiel, A.A. and P.H. Montgomery. 1961. Land Capability Classification. Agriculture Handbook No. 210. Soil Conservation Service, USDA. Washington. 21 pp.

Lelyk, G.W. and W.W. Pettapiece. 1997. Land suitability rating system LSRS_BAT users manual. Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Brandon Research Centre Special Report Series 96-4. 22p.

Pettapiece, W.W. (Pettapiece Pedology). 2005. Modifications to the Land Suitability Rating System to accommodate corn and canola. A discussion paper submitted to PFRA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (M. Black, Scientific Advisor).

Pettapiece, W.W. (Pettapiece Pedology) and G.G. Tychon (Spatial Data Systems Consulting) 2006. Land Suitability Rating System enhancements: modifications of the Alberta platform to accommodate NSDB-SLC data. A computer program (LSRS 2.7) with documentation for SLC rating analysis across Canada. Submitted to PFRA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (J. Fitzmaurice, Scientific Advisor). Winnipeg, MB.

Storie, R.E. 1933. An index for rating the agricultural value of soils. California Agriculture Experimental Bull. 556. University of California, Berkely. 38 pp.

Tychon, G (Spatial Data Systems Consulting) and W.W. Pettapiece (Pettapiece Pedology). 2002. Land Suitability Rating System - a user-friendly program to determine Land suitability Ratings using the AGRASID (Alberta) soils database. Computer program (LSRS 2.1) with documentation submitted to Conservation and Development Branch, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (J. Hermans). Edmonton, AB.

Tychon, G (Spatial Data Systems Consulting) and W.W. Pettapiece (Pettapiece Pedology). 2003. Land Suitability Rating System - interactive program to accommodate Area Specific ratings. Computer program (LSRS 2.2) with documentation submitted to Conservation and Development Branch, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (J. Hermans). Edmonton, AB.

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This information published to the web on August 20, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 9, 2016.