Soil Assessment and Fertility Evaluation of Selected Sites for Commercial Arable Cropping in Rivers State, Southern Nigeria
J. R. Orimoloye, B. N. Okafor, H. U. Nkwocha, I. D. Adamu
Soil assessment is important and required for sustainable agricultural development. The soils of Nigerian high rainfall zone have potentials for agricultural production. However, their productivity and management is limited by inadequate investigation of the properties of the soils. Therefore, a study was carried out to assess the quality of the soils of Bonny Island for agricultural production. Seven communities in Rivers State namely: Finima, Abalamabie, Ojokolo, Iyobama, George Pepple, Rumuji and Ubeta were assessed. Soil samples were collected from three depths: 0 - 15cm, 15 - 30cm and 30 - 60cm.The soils were analysed for chemical properties and particle size distribution. The soils are moderately acidic with pH range 5.10 – 5.45 in the top soils and 5.20 – 5.55 in the sub soils with low nutrient supplying capacity. The base saturation in the top soil and sub soils are very high. The organic carbon is > 15g/kg while total nitrogen is moderately high. The dominant textural class in the top and sub soils are sand and loamy sand respectively with sand content > 900g/kg which makes the soils vulnerable to leaching. Soil management to reduce the effects of excessive water such as underground drainage to improve soil aeration, liming and proper organic matter management should be carried out to improve soil conditions and agricultural production in the study areas.