Effectiveness of land management practices at Kashima Farm in reducing soil compaction, maintaining soil organic matter and water holding capacity
Tembo, Felix H.M.
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Improper use of heavy agricultural machinery and equipment has often been the cause of soil compaction, loss of soil organic matter and reduced soil water retention. In Zambia, this is slowly becoming the case. This study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the land management practices done at Kashima farm in reducing soil compaction, maintaining soil organic matter and water holding capacity.Kashima farm was chosen as a study area due to its use of heavy machinery and equipment for a long time. They also carry out remedial measures like ripping every time when preparing land for cropping. Baby com stover is threshed and incorporated into the soil to boost soil organic matter. A site was chosen with the help of management. Two plots: cultivated and uncultivated land was chosen for comparisons. A survey was conducted to determine uniformity of soil between cultivated land and adjacent uncultivated land. Uncultivated land was used as the control.From each plot, two samples were collected at four locations from five different depths;0-10cm, 10-20cm, 20-30cm, 30-40cm and 40-50cm. A disturbed sample was collected for organic matter and particle size analysis while an undisturbed sample was collected for bulk density and water holding capacity determinations. The samples were then taken to the laboratory for various analyses. Results were statistically analysed to determine differences in the mean values of cultivated with the uncultivated land at p=0.05.Results showed that uncultivated land had higher organic matter content than uncultivated land. They further indicated that bulk densities were higher in the top 0-20cm for uncultivated land while, they were lower in the top 0-30cm for cultivated land. At 20-30cm and 30-40cm uncultivated land had significantly lower bulk densities than cultivated land. For water holding capacity and soil texture, there were no significant differences in the mean values.On the basis of the results, it has been observed that that the land management measures taken at Kashima farm are effective in maintaining water holding capacity and reducing soil compaction from 0-30cm. However, they are not effective in maintaining soil organic matter and reducing soil compaction at 30-40cm.
- Agriculture