AUTHOR: NKWOPARA, UGOCHUKWU NNAMDI MSc
DEPARTMENT: SOIL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
AFFILIATION: FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY OWERRI
A study was conducted in selected parts of Southeastern Nigeria to determine the pedological and clay mineralogical properties of selected soils supporting yam-based cropping system. The soils were derived from olivine basalt, shale and coastal plain sands. The corresponding sites were Ikom, Abakaliki, Ekparakwa and Emeabiam.
A total of 31 soil samples were collected, air-dried, sieved and used for laboratory determination of selected soil properties. Results showed that the soil pH varied from strongly to slightly acid (3.6 to 6.9), and were base-unsaturated soils (40% to 99 %). They have low ECEC (2.51 to 9.53cmol/kg), low to moderate bulk density (1.01 to 1.69g/cm3), clay loam to sandy texture and low to high organic matter(0.17 to 4.26%). Generally the dominant minerals in the clay fractions were kaolinite and quartz while vermiculite, Montmorillonite, and illite occurred in Abakaliki soil. Gibbsite occurred in Ikom, Abakaliki and Emeabiam in moderate amounts. The soils of the location most suitable for yam production (Ikom) were found to be moderately acid, have high base saturation and high ECEC when compared to other soils from Abakaliki, Ekparakwa and Emeabiam. However, the soils of Abakaliki have greatest number of 2:1 lattice clay mineral when compared to other soils from Ikom, Ekparakwa and Emeabiam.
Correlation analysis showed that most physical properties correlated negatively in the soils. Sand correlated negatively with clay r = -0.96, (p=0.05 and silt r = -0.78, p=0.05. Bulk density related negatively with moisture content r = -0.22. There was positive correlation between pH and total nitrogen, pH and effective cation exchange capacity, but negative correlation between pH and base saturation. There was positive correlation between organic matter and total nitrogen, and effective cation exchange capacity, but a negative correlation between organic matter and base saturation.
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