Peat soils change gradually as a result of drainage and cultivation, losing depth through shrinkage, oxidation and blowing, changing in character through increases in mineral matter and ‘drumminess’, and changing in productivity and manurial requirements. The sequence of changes has been studied in the field and a number of stages distinguished which may be recognized quite simply from the texture of the ploughed layer. Texture is a field assessment of the type and condition of the peat and the proportion and nature of the mineral matter associated with it. The Fenland soils have been classified as follows: (1) peat soils, (2) peaty mineral soils, (3) organic mineral soils and (4) mineral soils. Further subdivision into textural classes depends on recognizing the mineral combinations or fractions as in texturing mineral soils
Analysis of samples of the ploughed layer in the laboratory has shown that organic matter or loss on ignition figures, expressed as a percentage of the oven-dried soil, can be used for recognizing the kind of soil; use is made of this in considering those earlier experiments for which organic matter figures could be calculated.