Soil characterization and land evaluation iSoil characterization and land evaluation in the sugar estates, Tanzanian the sugar estates, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Soil characterization was done for a part (about 3000 ha) of Mtibwa Sugar Estates with the purpose of performing soil classification and land evaluation for sugar-cane cultivation. Soil classification has been done up to the subgroup level using the USDA Taxonomy system and up to the soil unit level using the FAO-UNESCO legend. Three soil orders of the USDA Taxonomy system; namely Entisols, Inceptisols and Alfisols, dominated in the area of study. Nineteen soil mapping units have been identified, based on texture, drainage, profile development and organic matter of the topsoil. Three methods of land evaluation- the FAO (1976) framework, a parametric method developed for the humid tropics and the FAO index of productivity rating were tested. All methods gave almost similar results although the parametric method was found to be more suitable for the stratified soils because different weightings could be given to the texturally different strata of soils, with depth. Land evaluation has show that most of the surveyed area is downgraded to moderately and marginally suitable lands for sugarcane cultivation mainly due to poor soil physical properties related to texture, poor drainage and low fertility status of the soils. About 10% of the surveyed area was found to be unsuitable for sugarcane due to severe poor soil physical properties. Physico-chemical analyses of the soils revealed that most of the soils are deficient in (available) nitrogen while other nutrients-K, P, Ca and Mg are only within the critical levels for sugarcane growth. Moisture deficit has been identified as among the most limiting factors to sugarcane performance. Infiltration capacity of the soils was higher than postulated values for the soil orders identified. Irrigation, drainage and application of fertilizers and organic matter have been recommendations among the important soil improvement measures for increased sugar-cane performance.
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Soils, Land valuation, Mtibwa sugar estate, Soil analysis
Mushi, T. O (1983) Soil characterization and land evaluation in the sugar estates, Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (