SOIL CONSERVATION UNDER THREE INDEGENOUSLY DEVELOPED CROPPING PRACTICES IN PAIKO AREA, ABUJA FCT NIGERIAS.A. MASHI AND M.M. ALHASSAN
Farmers in Paiko area of central northern Nigeria employ selected cropping practices systems that involve single and multiple cropping on carefully aligned ridges that are aimed at minimising loses in soil productivity and at the same time ensuring maximum yield per cultivated area. This study was conducted to examine the soil rehabilitative effects of three different cropping systems (yam sole cropping, maize sole cropping and cassava/ groundnut intercropping) in the area. This was done by comparing soil properties under each of the three systems with those of a plot under long standing bush fallow, chosen to serve as the control. Soil samples were collected from representative plots using a systematic sampling procedure, at two standard depths of 0 15cm (herein referred to as topsoil) and 20 30cm (subsoil) and were analysed for selected physical, chemical and structural soil properties. The data obtained was subjected to both descriptive (mean and standard deviation) and inferential (t-test statistical test) statistical treatments. The results obtained revealed that: (i) the three cropping practices have not significantly increased the sand contents but the single cropping practice has significantly lowered down the clay contents of the soils, (ii) they have not significantly lowered down the organic matter contents of soils of the study area except at the subsoil, (iii) they favourably maintained the level of soil nitrogen in the area, as none of the cropping types Significantly alter the inherent nitrogen level of the soils, (iv) both maize and cassava/ groundnut significantly lower down topsoil phosphorous level but significantly improve the CEC as well as the exchangeable base elements levels of the soils, (vi) none of the cropping practice lead into deterioration of pH level of the soils of the area. It was thus concluded that the three cropping types largely maintain or even improve the fertility of soils of the area more than the extent to which they cause its decline in its level. Appropriate reconlmendations to help improve the alleviative effects of the practices on soil fertility were given.
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