International Journal of Agricultural Policy and Research
Vol.4 (3), pp. 46-51, March 2016
Available online at https://www.journalissues.org/IJAPR/
Article 16/ID/JPR004/06/ pages
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License.
Original Research Article
Land suitability evaluation for maize (Zea mays) production in selected sites of the Mid-Benue valley, Nigeria
*Abagyeh S. O. I., Idoga S., and Agber P. I.
Department of Soil Science, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria
*Corresponding Author Email: agber_philip(at)yahoo.com
A detailed soil survey was conducted in four locations of Mid-Benue Valley (Central Niger-Benue Trough) namely: Dura Floodplain (DR), Dogo, Katsina—Ala River Bank (DG), Mu River Basin (MU) and University of Agriculture Makurdi Teaching and Research Farm (UAM) all in Benue state. The area is located within Latitude 7o 23’ and 07o 44’N and Longitude 008o 9’E and 009o 12’E covering an estimated area of 3250 km2. The aim was to evaluate the suitability of the soils for the production of maize and to have a detailed soil data base for effective land use planning. Critical land and soil requirements for maize were collected from past research works and compared with data obtained from field survey. The result showed that the upper horizons of pedons ranged from clay loam to sandy loam; DR1 and MU1 have clay loam which is optimal for maize cultivation. The pH was moderate acid, 5.48 to 5.95. The organic carbon content of the soil was highest in the surface horizons (0.45 – 1.63 %) and decreases down the profile with least values for UAM1 and UAM11 (0.19 – 0.45 %). The available Phosphorus, Exchangeable bases and CEC were generally low. Although land characteristics such as mean annual rainfall and temperature, relative humidity, topography, coarse fragments and base saturation were not major limitations to the production of maize, there was no highly suitable (S1) land for maize cultivation in the area. Sites DG1 (Dogo 1) and UAM1 (University of Agriculture Makurdi 1) were marginally suitable (S3tf) due to topography limitations; the lowlands of MU1 (MU1) with the depression land of DR1 (Dura 1) were marginally suitable (S3wf) due to flooding limitation and low nutrients levels while the midland of UAM11 (University of Agriculture Makurdi 11) was as well limited by its imperfect drainage into marginally suitable (S3wf) subclass for maize production. Thus, the lowland soils (DR/MU) were generally limited by wetness while the uplands (DG/UAM) were limited by their textural arrangements. To raise the productivity level of both lands for optimal maize production, management techniques such as continuous organic matter incorporation and mineral fertilizers application (to adjust the textures and boast fertility levels in the uplands), and efficient of use of mineral fertilizers with low levels of chemical inputs with adaption of appropriate irrigation techniques (in lowlands) would make dry season farming sustainable.
Key words: Land evaluation, maize, suitability, Mid-Benue, production, valley