Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesFarming Topics 20 July 2021

Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties

Grey and Bruce counties offer an abundance of farmland. This blog post will provide a brief overview of soil types in the region. For more detailed information and soil maps (like those pictured below), visit Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs soils web page.

What are the soil types in Canada?

Canadian soil is classified into ten different orders based on the surrounding environment and on the composition of the soil. The soil types found in Grey and Bruce counties is shown in bold font.

  • Chernozemic (grassland soil)

  • Solonetzic (grassland soil)

  • Podzolic (forest soil)

  • Luvisolic (forest soil)

  • Brunisolic (forest soil)

  • Gleysolic (water-saturated soil)

  • Regosolic (unstable slopes, sand dunes, floodplains, etc.)

  • Vertisolic (high clay landscapes)

  • Cryosolic (soil with permafrost)

  • Organic (Boreal Forest soil)

What are the soil types in Bruce County?

Three distinct kinds of soil occur in Bruce County: Grey-Brown Podzolic, Brown Forest, and the Dark Grey Gleysolic. The Grey-Brown Podzolic soils are the dominant well-drained soils in the area. The surface soil is generally 3 to 4 inches thick, dark greyish brown to very dark brown, moderately friable, slightly to moderately acid, and moderately high in organic matter. 


Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


In the northern part of the county, the Bruce Peninsula is dominated by the Breypen land type, which consists primarily of exposed rock outcrop with small pockets of soil materials. Based on the Canada Land Inventory, which classifies land based on farming potential, most of the Bruce Peninsula has no agricultural capability because of surface stoniness and bedrock outcrops, topography, and poor soil drainage.


Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


However, some areas in the central part of the Bruce Peninsula have been classified as Class 1-3 and are considered Prime Agricultural Lands. The well-drained Brown Forest soils in the area are usually 3 to 4 inches thick, dark grey, friable, and of granular structure. Soil types include clay loam in the Judges Creek area, silt loam at Ferndale and north of it, and sandy loam near Ferndale, Lion’s Head and Little Pike Bay. 

What are the soil types in Grey County?

The soils of Grey County are very diversified due to differences in soil materials (clay, sand, and gravel), texture, drainage, topography, and climate.

In the southern half of the county, the soils developed under a temperate climate and mixed hardwood vegetation with the characteristics of the Grey-Brown Podzolic soil type. These soils developed on tills, gravels and sands with up to 4 inches of very dark brown silt loam.

In the northern half of the county, climate, soil materials, and age have resulted in shallow profiles with characteristics similar to the Brown Forest soil groups and are considered to be Brown Forest-Grey-Brown Podzolic Intergrades. These soils are found in well-drained locations in the northern half of the county that developed on till soils, gravels, and sands. Typical of the region is up to 3 inches of black loam with high lime stony till materials.