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Variations in Soil Chemical Parameters of Long Term Sugarcane Growing Alfisols under Contrasting Cropping Conditions at Sevanagala, Sri Lanka

Authors:

H.A.S. Weerasinghe ,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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G.P. Gunaratne,

Tea Research Institute, Talawakelle, LK
About G.P.
Soil and Plant Nutrition Division
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A.N. Jayakody,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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R.S. Dharmakeerthi

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
About R.S.
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
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Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the variability of soil pH, macronutrients and Na contents in long term sugarcanegrowing Alfisols at Sevanagala, South-East of Sri Lanka. The study site included the entire sugarcane-growing area covering its contrasting cropping systems namely, irrigated and rain-fed cultivation on low humic gley (LHG) and reddish brown earth (RBE) soils, and adjacent undisturbed soils. The mean pH of the two soil types was significantly different and ranged from 4.5 to 9.3. Except some soils under rain-fed cultivation with a pH less than 5.5 in RBE soil and a pH greater than 7.5 in LHG soils, pH in all other soils favoured sugarcane growth. Plant available P content of soils were not significantly different among cropping conditions due to its wide variation. In both cropping systems and soil types there were areas with very low to nondetectable P levels. Exchangeable K content was significantly different between LHG and RBE soils with the latter having a mean concentration of 257 mg/ kg that is favourable for sugarcane cultivation. Though, the mean values are higher than the optimum range, there were K deficient patches in the studied area. Soil exchangeable Ca, Mg and Na contents were low in the study area but were significantly higher in LHG soils than in RBE soils contributing to alkalinity in the former soils especially under rain-fed conditions. The sugarcane-growing soils except LHG under rain-fed conditions showed chemical properties similar to undisturbed soils in the area highlighting their buffered nature despite long-term sugarcane cultivation. This study also emphasised the need for site-specific soil fertility management strategies for the Sevanagala sugarcane growing areas.
How to Cite: Weerasinghe, H.A.S., Gunaratne, G.P., Jayakody, A.N. and Dharmakeerthi, R.S., 2020. Variations in Soil Chemical Parameters of Long Term Sugarcane Growing Alfisols under Contrasting Cropping Conditions at Sevanagala, Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research, 31(2), pp.55–64. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v31i2.8367
Published on 01 Apr 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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