Created in 1969, the Department of Soil of the Faculty of Agronomy of UFRGS has developed over the years, research works in various areas of knowledge regarding soil and soil use. Through characterization, mapping and analytical study of the earth, looking constantly to identify the main problems that limit agricultural production in Rio Grande do Sul, seeking to correct the limitations, develop and improve technology and knowledge transfer, integrating productivity, competitiveness, environmental conservation and preservation of natural resources. These objectives are anchored in the programs and lines of research:
I. Improving Soil Fertility of the State, developed in collaboration with other research institutions and extension, it allowed the incorporation of at least three million hectares of Gaucha agricultural area, once considered marginal or unsuitable due to inappropriate management and/ or low fertility. The result of this collective effort was the development of the Manual of Fertilizing Recommendation for the states of Rio Grande does Sul and Santa Catarina.
II. Hydric erosion on soils of Rio Grande do Sul, with a database of soil and water loss under normal and simulated precipitation for different regions of the state and, using mathematical models have enabled advances in the understanding of the process of erosion and the development and introduction of new techniques for soil conservation.
III. Biological nitrogen fixation, developed in collaboration with the Institute of Agricultural Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, has allowed advances in the technological development of inoculants with efficient strains of Rhizobium for the most important legume growing in Rio Grande do Sul.
IV. Testing, implementation and coordination of activities moto-mechanized, developed at the Agricultural Experiment Station, has enabled improvements in ergonomics, safety, efficiency and feasibility of moto-mechanized sets, whose works are developed with industries operating in the sector.
V. Integrated systems of production, developed at the Agricultural Experiment Station and in collaboration with farmers, have enabled the optimization of agricultural areas and diversification of rural incomes through systems such as crop cultivation-animal husbandry integration and the use of lowlands for the production of grains and cereals such as soybeans and corn, as well as the traditional crop of rice.