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Soil Fertility Evaluation of the Teaching and Research Farm of the Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria for Agricultural Purposes

JAFE Vol.  9(2): 1-9, 2022
Soil Fertility Evaluation of the Teaching and Research Farm of the Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria for Agricultural Purposes
Oritsejafor, Offeoritse Favour and Ojobor, A. Smart
A study was conducted at the Delta State University Teaching and Research Farm, Site 3, Abraka with the aim of evaluating the soil fertility status for agricultural purposes. A land area of about 23 hectares was divided into six strata and 30 representative soil samples were collected. Each of the samples was collected at 0-15cm depth. The samples were analyzed for the following parameters using standard procedures: Total nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), Organic carbon (C), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) , sodium (Na) and magnesium (Mg); Iron (Fe), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), electrical conductivity (EC), effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC), pH, nitrate, ammonium nitrate as well as particle size distribution were also determined. Data were subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and descriptive statistics, and significantly different means were separated using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (P<0.05). The soils were sandy loam in texture, and slightly acidic (6.29 – 6.77). Organic carbon was low (mean = 1.06g/kg) whereas total Nitrogen (0.12g/kg) and available phosphorus (10.83mg/kg) were in the medium category. Nitrate and Ammonium nitrate had mean values of 0.03mg/kg and 0.01mg/kg and were therefore below critical limits for optimum crop production. The soil Ca (1.40cmolkg-1) and K (0.09cmolkg-1) levels were low, and medium in Na (0.17cmolkg-1) and Mg (0.53cmol (+) kg-1) while ECEC mean value was 1.48cmol/kg. Furthermore, the Zn content was also low (1.18mg/kg) whereas, electrical conductivity was high (93.00μSCM-1). However, Cu (0.84mg/kg) was in the medium category, while Mn (79.09mg/kg) and Fe (93.91mg/kg) were high. The results of this study indicated that the particle size distribution, EC, pH, and OC were the main soil properties that influence the availability of soil nutrients. The soils will not require supplementary application of iron-rich fertilizer since they are above critical limits for arable production, but a supplementary supply of Cu, Na, and K-rich fertilizers are strongly recommended to enhance the soil fertility status of the area of study.
Keywords:Micro-nutrients, soil fertility, particle size distribution and fertilizer recommendation
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