Assessment of the suitability of Kabanyolo soils for groundnut production
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The proper evaluation of the suitability of agricultural lands is critical to solving land use challenges in order to meet the growing food demands for an ever-increasing population. The study was aimed at elucidating the suitability of Kabanyolo soils for groundnut (peanut) growth, yield and maturity. Soil physical and chemical properties were examined by sampling soils up to 30cm using a soils auger in three randomly and purposively selected sections at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo. The soil’s texture was described using the USDA classification system while chemical parameters were determined in the Makerere University Soil and plant analytical Laboratory following procedures described by Okaleboet al. (2002). The study revealed that the soils in Kabanyolo are predominantly clayey with a mean clay content of 41.3%. The measured parameters, that is, Ca, Mg and Na wereadequate and above the critical values and pH, K, and P were below the critical values butvaried significantly (p<0.05) with the slope of the land while SOC, N and SOM were below critical values and inadequatebut not significantly (p>0.05) differentfor the different study sections. Sand and Silt had the highest negative correlation (r=-0.7911) while pH was highly positively correlated with Ca and Mg (r=0.8086). Soil electrical conductivity and the sum of basic cations are the most favourable (S1) factors for groundnut production for parts of Kabanyolo land. Soil pH is the most limiting factor for groundnut production in Kabanyolo soils, the upper slope position with the mid-slope position had a significantly (p<0.05) higher soil pH compared to the lower slope position. Overall, the soils of Kabanyolo are marginally suitable (S3) for groundnut production. However, for improved growth, yields and maturity, the soils should be amended with manure and lime to neutralise the pH of the soils for better groundnut production.