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Baseline study of soil nutrient status in smallholder farms in Limpopo Province of South Africa

M.J. Mokgolo
J. Mzezewa


An assessment of soil nutrient status based on farmers’ samples was carried out in the Capricorn, Sekhukhune, and Waterberg Districts of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. A total of 336 soil samples were collected and analysed for pH, phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). The results showed that the pH of more than 80% of the submitted soil samples was suitable for the production of most field crops ,while less than 20% required liming to make them productive. Phosphorus levels were very low (<8 mg kg-1), with most soils (≥95%) needing P fertilisation to improve crop yields. Potassium was adequate (>250 mg kg-1) for most districts' crops. Between 70% and 74% of soils from Sekhukhune and Waterberg Districts were deficient in Ca (<200 mg kg-1). Magnesium was adequate (>300 mg kg-1) in more than 60% of the analysed samples. Apart from soil pH, all soil properties showed a high degree of variability across all districts. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of field management, crop rotation, field position in the landscape, lithology, and socioeconomic conditions of the farmer on the observed trends of soil nutrients.

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eISSN: 2413-3221
print ISSN: 0301-603X