Characteristics and suitability evaluation of the “White Soils” of Etung Local Government Area for oil palm and plantain production
A semi detailed soil survey of the “white” soils of Etung LGA, Cross River State was carried out to characterize and assess the suitability of the soils for oil palm and plantain production using the linear and square root parametric models. The delineated mapping units classified as Kandiudalfs were deep (>100 cm in depth), well drained with loamy sand to sandy loam surface horizons overlying sandy clay loam to sandy clay subsurface horizons. The soils were extremely acid to strongly acid in reaction (pH 3.55 – 4.65), low effective cation exchange capacity (1.19 - 3.94 cmol kg-1), moderate to high base saturation (30.97 – 97.32%), low to moderate exchangeable sodium percent (5.83 – 29.43%), moderate bulk density (1.22- 1.70 g cm-3) and low to high saturated hydraulic conductivity (0.12 – 88.42 cm h-1). The index of current productivity (IPc) ranged from 7.33 to 15.53 by linear model and ranged from 13.42 to 19.70 by square root model. The IPc values suggested that the soils were not currently suitable for the production of the two crops. The index of potential suitability (IPp) by linear model ranged from 29.32 to 62.10 and 38.29 to 65.46 by the square root model. Two pedons, CRET-1 and CRET-4 were potentially marginally suitable (S3) while pedons CRET-2 and CRET-3 were potentially moderately suitable (S2) for oil palm production. Application of appropriate quantity of organic manure or organo-mineral fertilizers is suggested for improving the current productivity status of the soils to its potential capacity.
Keywords: Oil Palm, plantain, Linear and Square Parametric models