Kentucky has a well-known agricultural history and still is known for its grains, corn, soybean, hay and wheat production. With a unique soil blend covering much of the state, Kentucky is recognized for three main soil types--all noted by the USDA as growing mediums for crop production.
A unique blend of brown and red silt loam layers sitting on top of a layer of reddish clay loam covers most of the state. This deep soil sits on a bed of limestone. Known as Crider soil, this well-draining medium is nutrient-dense and makes up nearly all of the prime farmland in Kentucky--over 500,000 acres in all. Crider soil is so named after a town in Caldwell County, Kentucky.
Maury soil is an upland soil, found in Kentucky's woodland areas. Another well-draining soil on a bed of limestone, Maury soil is a deep, silty soil also used for pasture and grain production. A layer of clay below the crumbly, rich top layers makes Maury perfect for tree cultivation, especially the native hackberry, ash, elm, black cherry, locust and black walnut trees.
The hillsides of Kentucky are made up of a deep, "fine-textured residuum of cherty limestone" known as Baxter soil, says the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Native forestland of pine, elm, ash, black walnut, oak, hickory, beech, maple and others cover much of the Baxter soil area in Kentucky. Some areas are used for the cultivation of tobacco, small grains, vegetables and pasture. Baxter soil stretches from the Pennyroyal district into the Ozark mountains of Missouri and Arkansas and parts of Indiana and Tennessee.