Properties and suggested management strategies for some well drained maize producing soils of north-western Nigeria
Some well drained maize growing soils of the northwest Agricultural Zone of Nigeria were characterized, classified and management strategies proffered for them. The soils were moderately deep to deep (65 - 150 cm), well drained and well structured, yellowish brown (10YR 5/4, 5/8) to yellowish red (5YR 4/6, 4/8) loams. Soil reaction ranged from very strongly acid to neutral (pH 5.0 - 6.8). Exchangeable Ca (< 2 cmol kg-1) and K (< 0.15 cmol kg-1), organic carbon (< 10 g kg-1), total N (< 1.5 g kg-1), P (< 10 mg kg-1) and Cu (< 1mg kg-1) were low, while exchangeable Mg (0.3-1.0 cmol+ kg-1), CEC (6-12 cmol+ kg-1) and available Zn (> 1 mg kg-1) were medium. The CEC values of the soils show that they are not suitable for continuous cultivation but would require a high ratio of fallow or grass-legume pasture to crops. This option should, therefore, be followed in their management. Should they be used for continuous cultivation, soil OM levels must be raised to ≥ 20 g kg-1 (≥ 15 g kg-1) soil, by applying FYM and animal dung. This strategy would raise CEC, buffering capacity and base saturation and improve soil structure and water and nutrient retention capabilities.