Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 14

Search results for: sustainable agriculture

14 Poultry Manure and Its Derived Biochar as a Soil Amendment for Newly Reclaimed Sandy Soils under Arid and Semi-Arid Conditions

Authors: W. S. Mohamed, A. A. Hammam

Abstract:

Sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are characterized by poor physical and biochemical properties such as low water retention, rapid organic matter decomposition, low nutrients use efficiency, and limited crop productivity. Addition of organic amendments is crucial to develop soil properties and consequently enhance nutrients use efficiency and lessen organic carbon decomposition. Two years field experiments were developed to investigate the feasibility of using poultry manure and its derived biochar integrated with different levels of N fertilizer as a soil amendment for newly reclaimed sandy soils in Western Desert of El-Minia Governorate, Egypt. Results of this research revealed that poultry manure and its derived biochar addition induced pronounced effects on soil moisture content at saturation point, field capacity (FC) and consequently available water. Data showed that application of poultry manure (PM) or PM-derived biochar (PMB) in combination with inorganic N levels had caused significant changes on a range of the investigated sandy soil biochemical properties including pH, EC, mineral N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic N (DON) and quotient DOC/DON. Overall, the impact of PMB on soil physical properties was detected to be superior than the impact of PM, regardless the inorganic N levels. In addition, the obtained results showed that PM and PM application had the capacity to stimulate vigorous growth, nutritional status, production levels of wheat and sorghum, and to increase soil organic matter content and N uptake and recovery compared to control. By contrast, comparing between PM and PMB at different levels of inorganic N, the obtained results showed higher relative increases in both grain and straw yields of wheat in plots treated with PM than in those treated with PMB. The interesting feature of this research is that the biochar derived from PM increased treated sandy soil organic carbon (SOC) 1.75 times more than soil treated with PM itself at the end of cropping seasons albeit double-applied amount of PM. This was attributed to the higher carbon stability of biochar treated sandy soils increasing soil persistence for carbon decomposition in comparison with PM labile carbon. It could be concluded that organic manures applied to sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are subjected to high decomposition and mineralization rates through crop seasons. Biochar derived from organic wastes considers as a source of stable carbon and could be very hopeful choice for substituting easily decomposable organic manures under arid conditions. Therefore, sustainable agriculture and productivity in newly reclaimed sandy soils desire one high rate addition of biochar derived from organic manures instead of frequent addition of such organic amendments.

Keywords: Biochar, dissolved organic carbon, N-uptake, poultry, sandy soil.

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13 Sunflower Irrigation with Two Different Types of Soil Moisture Sensors

Authors: C. D. Papanikolaou, V. A. Giouvanis, E. A. Karatasiou, D. S. Dimakas, M. A. Sakellariou-Makrantonaki

Abstract:

Irrigation is one of the most important cultivation practices for each crop, especially in areas where rainfall is enough to cover the crop water needs. In such areas, the farmers must irrigate in order to achieve high economical results. The precise irrigation scheduling contributes to irrigation water saving and thus a valuable natural resource is protected. Under this point of view, in the experimental field of the Laboratory of Agricultural Hydraulics of the University of Thessaly, a research was conducted during the growing season of 2012 in order to evaluate the growth, seed and oil production of sunflower as well as the water saving, by applying different methods of irrigation scheduling. Three treatments in four replications were organized. These were: a) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on the Penman-Monteith (PM) method (control); b) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil moisture sensor (SMS); and c) surface drip irrigation, where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil potential sensor (WM).

Keywords: Irrigation scheduling, soil moisture sensors, sustainable agriculture, water saving.

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12 Application of Metarhizium anisopliae against Meloidogyne javanica in Soil Amended with Oak Debris

Authors: Mohammad Abdollahi

Abstract:

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most popular, widely grown and the second most important vegetable crop, after potatoes. Nematodes have been identified as one of the major pests affecting tomato production throughout the world. The most destructive nematodes are the genus Meloidogyne. Most widespread and devastating species of this genus are M. incognita, M. javanica, and M. arenaria. These species can cause complete crop loss under adverse growing conditions. There are several potential methods for management of the root knot nematodes. Although the chemicals are widely used against the phytonematodes, because of hazardous effects of these compounds on non-target organisms and on the environment, there is a need to develop other control strategies. Nowadays, non-chemical measures are widely used to control the plant parasitic nematodes. Biocontrol of phytonematodes is an important method among environment-friendly measures of nematode management. There are some soil-inhabiting fungi that have biocontrol potential on phytonematodes, which can be used in nematode management program. The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, originally is an entomopathogenic bioagent. Biocontrol potential of this fungus on some phytonematodes has been reported earlier. Recently, use of organic soil amendments as well as the use of bioagents is under special attention in sustainable agriculture. This research aimed to reduce the pesticide use in control of root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica in tomato. The effects of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and different levels of oak tree debris on M. javanica were determined. The combination effect of the fungus as well as the different rates of soil amendments was determined. Pots were filled with steam pasteurized soil mixture and the six leaf tomato seedlings were inoculated with 3000 second stage larvae of M. javanica/kg of soil. After eight weeks, plant growth parameters and nematode reproduction factors were compared. Based on the results of our experiment, combination of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and oak debris caused more than 90% reduction in reproduction factor of nematode, at the rates of 100 and 150 g/kg soil (P ≤ 0.05). As compared to control, the reduction in number of galls was 76%. It was 86% for nematode reproduction factor, showing the significance of combined effect of both tested agents. Our results showed that plant debris can increase the biological activity of the tested bioagent. It was also proved that there was no adverse effect of oak debris, which potentially has antimicrobial activity, on antagonistic power of applied bioagent.

Keywords: Biological control, nematode management, organic soil, Quercus branti, root knot nematode, soil amendment.

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11 A Review on Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture in Southeast Nigeria

Authors: Jane O. Munonye

Abstract:

Climate change has both negative and positive effects in agricultural production. For agriculture to be sustainable in adverse climate change condition, some natural measures are needed. The issue is to produce more food with available natural resources and reduce the contribution of agriculture to climate change. The study reviewed climate change and sustainable agriculture in southeast Nigeria. Data from the study were from secondary sources. Ten scientific papers were consulted and data for the review were collected from three. The objectives of the paper were as follows: to review the effect of climate change on one major arable crop in southeast Nigeria (yam; Dioscorea rotundata); evident of climate change impact and methods for sustainable agricultural production in adverse weather condition. Some climatic parameter as sunshine, relative humidity and rainfall have negative relationship with yam production and significant at 10% probability. Crop production was predicted to decline by 25% per hectare by 2060 while livestock production has increased the incidence of diseases and pathogens as the major effect to agriculture. Methods for sustainable agriculture and damage of natural resources by climate change were highlighted. Agriculture needs to be transformed as climate changes to enable the sector to be sustainable. There should be a policy in place to facilitate the integration of sustainability in Nigeria agriculture.

Keywords: Agriculture, climate change, sustainability, yam.

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10 Impact of Long Term Application of Municipal Solid Waste on Physicochemical and Microbial Parameters and Heavy Metal Distribution in Soils in Accordance to Its Agricultural Uses

Authors: Rinku Dhanker, Suman Chaudhary, Tanvi Bhatia, Sneh Goyal

Abstract:

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), being a rich source of organic materials, can be used for agricultural applications as an important source of nutrients for soil and plants. This is also an alternative beneficial management practice for MSW generated in developing countries. In the present study, MSW treated soil samples from last four to six years at farmer’s field in Rohtak and Gurgaon states (Haryana, India) were collected. The samples were analyzed for all-important agricultural parameters and compared with the control untreated soil samples. The treated soil at farmer’s field showed increase in total N by 48 to 68%, P by 45.7 to 51.3%, and K by 60 to 67% compared to untreated soil samples. Application of sewage sludge at different sites led to increase in microbial biomass C by 60 to 68% compared to untreated soil. There was significant increase in total Cu, Cr, Ni, Fe, Pb, and Zn in all sewage sludge amended soil samples; however, concentration of all the metals were still below the current permitted (EU) limits. To study the adverse effect of heavy metals accumulation on various soil microbial activities, the sewage sludge samples (from wastewater treatment plant at Gurgaon) were artificially contaminated with heavy metal concentration above the EU limits. They were then applied to soil samples with different rates (0.5 to 4.0%) and incubated for 90 days under laboratory conditions. The samples were drawn at different intervals and analyzed for various parameters like pH, EC, total N, P, K, microbial biomass C, carbon mineralization, and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) exactable heavy metals. The results were compared to the uncontaminated sewage sludge. The increasing level of sewage sludge from 0.5 to 4% led to build of organic C and total N, P and K content at the early stages of incubation. But, organic C was decreased after 90 days because of decomposition of organic matter. Biomass production was significantly increased in both contaminated and uncontaminated sewage soil samples, but also led to slight increases in metal accumulation and their bioavailability in soil. The maximum metal concentrations were found in treatment with 4% of contaminated sewage sludge amendment.

Keywords: Heavy metals, municipal sewage sludge, sustainable agriculture, soil fertility, quality.

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9 Yield and Sward Composition Responses of Natural Grasslands to Treatments Meeting Sustainability

Authors: D. Díaz Fernández, I. Csízi, K. Pető, G. Nagy

Abstract:

An outstanding part of the animal products are based on the grasslands, due to the fact that the grassland ecosystems can be found all over the globe. In places where economical and successful crop production cannot be managed, the grassland based animal husbandry can be an efficient way of food production. In addition, these ecosystems have an important role in carbon sequestration, and with their rich flora – and fauna connected to it – in conservation of biodiversity. The protection of nature, and the sustainable agriculture is getting more and more attention in the European Union, but, looking at the consumers’ needs, the production of healthy food cannot be neglected either. Because of these facts, the effects of two specific composts - which are officially authorized in organic farming, in Agri-environment Schemes and Natura 2000 programs – on grass yields and sward compositions were investigated in a field trial. The investigation took place in Hungary, on a natural grassland based on solonetz soil. Three rates of compost (10 t/ha, 20 t/ha, 30 t/ha) were tested on 3 m X 10 m experimental plots. Every treatment had four replications and both type of compost had four-four control plots too, this way 32 experimental plots were included in the investigations. The yield of the pasture was harvested two-times (in May and in September) and before cutting the plots, measurements on botanical compositions were made. Samples for laboratory analysis were also taken. Dry matter yield of pasture showed positive responses to the rates of composts. The increase in dry matter yield was partly due to some positive changes in sward composition. It means that the proportions of grass species with higher yield potential increased in ground cover of the sward without depressing out valuable native species of diverse natural grasslands. The research results indicate that the use of organic compost can be an efficient way to increase grass yields in a sustainable way.

Keywords: Compost application, crude protein content, dry matter yield, native grassland, sward composition.

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8 Effects of Biostimulant Application on Quali-Quantitative Characteristics of Cauliflower, Pepper and Fennel Crops under Organic and Conventional Fertilization

Authors: E. Tarantino, G. Disciglio, L. Frabboni, A. Libutti, G. Gatta, A. Gagliaridi, A. Tarantino

Abstract:

Nowadays, the main goal for modern horticultural production is an increase the quality. In recent years, the use of organic fertilizers or biostimulants that can be applied in agriculture to improve quali-quantitative crop yields has encountered increasing interest. Biostimulants are gaining importance also for their possible use in organic and sustainable agriculture, to avoid excessive fertilizer applications. Consecutive experimental trials were carried out in the Apulia region (southern Italy) on three herbaceous crops (cauliflower, pepper, fennel) grown in pots under conventional and organic fertilization systems without and with biostimulants. The aim was to determine the effects of three biostimulants (Siapton®10L, Micotech L, Lysodin Alga-Fert) on quali-quantitative yield characteristics. At harvest, the quali-quantitative yield characteristics of each crop were determined. All of the experimental data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA), and when significant effects were detected, the means were compared using Tukey’s tests. These data show large differences in these yield characteristics between conventional and organic crops, particularly highlighting higher yields for the conventional crops, while variable results were generally observed when the biostimulants were applied. In this context, there were no effects of the biostimulants on the quantitative yield, whereas there were low positive effects on the qualitative characteristics, as related to higher dry matter content of cauliflower, and higher soluble solids content of pepper. Moreover, there were evident positive effects of the biostimulants with fennel, due to the lower nitrate content. These latter data are in line with most of the published literature obtained for other herbaceous crops.

Keywords: Biostimulants, cauliflower, pepper, fennel.

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7 Achieving Sustainable Agriculture with Treated Municipal Wastewater

Authors: Reshu Yadav, Himanshu Joshi, S. K.Tripathi

Abstract:

A pilot field study was conducted at the Jagjeetpur Municipal Sewage treatment plant situated in the Haridwar town in Uttarakhand state, India. The objectives of the present study were to study the effect of treated wastewater on the production of various paddy varieties (Sharbati, PR-114, PB-1, Menaka, PB1121 and PB 1509) and the emission of GHG gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) as compared to the same varieties grown in the control plots irrigated with fresh water. Of late, the concept of water footprint assessment has emerged, which explains enumeration of various types of water footprints of an agricultural entity from its production to processing stages. Paddy, the most water demanding staple crop of Uttarakhand state, displayed a high green water footprint value of 2474.12 m3/ Ton. Most of the wastewater irrigated varieties displayed up to 6% increase in production, except Menaka and PB-1121, which showed a reduction in production (6% and 3% respectively), due to pest and insect infestation. The treated wastewater was observed to be rich in Nitrogen (55.94 mg/ml Nitrate), Phosphorus (54.24 mg/ml) and Potassium (9.78 mg/ml), thus rejuvenating the soil quality and not requiring any external nutritional supplements. A Percentage increase of GHG gases of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater as compared to control plots was observed as 0.4% - 8.6% (CH4), 1.1% - 9.2% (CO2), and 0.07% - 5.8% (N2O). The variety, Sharbati, displayed maximum production (5.5 ton/ha) and emerged as the most resistant variety against pests and insects. The emission values of CH4, CO2 and N2O were 729.31 mg/m2/d, 322.10 mg/m2/d and 400.21 mg/m2/d in water stagnant condition. This study highlighted a successful possibility of reuse of wastewater for non-potable purposes offering the potential for exploiting this resource that can replace or reduce the existing use of fresh water sources in agriculture sector.

Keywords: Greenhouse gases, nutrients, water footprint, wastewater irrigation.

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6 Biogas from Cover Crops and Field Residues: Effects on Soil, Water, Climate and Ecological Footprint

Authors: Manfred Szerencsits, Christine Weinberger, Maximilian Kuderna, Franz Feichtinger, Eva Erhart, Stephan Maier

Abstract:

Cover or catch crops have beneficial effects for soil, water, erosion, etc. If harvested, they also provide feedstock for biogas without competition for arable land in regions, where only one main crop can be produced per year. On average gross energy yields of approx. 1300 m³ methane (CH4) ha-1 can be expected from 4.5 tonnes (t) of cover crop dry matter (DM) in Austria. Considering the total energy invested from cultivation to compression for biofuel use a net energy yield of about 1000 m³ CH4 ha-1 is remaining. With the straw of grain maize or Corn Cob Mix (CCM) similar energy yields can be achieved. In comparison to catch crops remaining on the field as green manure or to complete fallow between main crops the effects on soil, water and climate can be improved if cover crops are harvested without soil compaction and digestate is returned to the field in an amount equivalent to cover crop removal. In this way, the risk of nitrate leaching can be reduced approx. by 25% in comparison to full fallow. The risk of nitrous oxide emissions may be reduced up to 50% by contrast with cover crops serving as green manure. The effects on humus content and erosion are similar or better than those of cover crops used as green manure when the same amount of biomass was produced. With higher biomass production the positive effects increase even if cover crops are harvested and the only digestate is brought back to the fields. The ecological footprint of arable farming can be reduced by approx. 50% considering the substitution of natural gas with CH4 produced from cover crops.

Keywords: Biogas, cover crops, catch crops, land use competition, sustainable agriculture.

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5 Fish Marketing: A Panacea towards Sustainable Agriculture in Ogun State, Nigeria

Authors: A. M. Omoare, E. O. Fakoya, B. G. Abiona, W. O. Oyediran

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This study assessed fish marketing as panacea towards sustainable agriculture in Ogun State, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used in the selection of 150 fish marketers for this study. Descriptive statistics were used for the objectives while Product Pearson Moment Correlation was used to test the hypothesis. Result of the findings revealed that the mean age of the respondents was 38.60 years. Majority (93.33%) of the respondents had acceptable levels of formal education. Many (44.00%) of the respondents had spent 1-5 years in fish marketing. The average quantity of fish sold in a day was 94.10kg. However, efficient fish marketing were hindered by inadequate processing equipment, storage rooms and ice holding facilities (86.67%). There was a significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics and profit realized from fish marketing (p < 0.05). It was recommended that storage and warehousing facilities should be provided to the fish marketers in the study area.

Keywords: Fish marketers, panacea, retail markets, sustainable.

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4 Use of GIS for the Performance Evaluation of Canal Irrigation System in Rice Wheat Cropping Zone

Authors: Umm-e- Kalsoom, M. Arshad, Sadia Iqbal, M. Usman, M. Adnan

Abstract:

The research study evaluated the performance of irrigation system by using special scientific tools like Remote Sensing and GIS technology, so that proper measurements could be taken for the sustainable agriculture and water management. Different performance evaluation parameters had been calculated for the purposed data was gathered from field investigation and different government and private organizations. According to the calculations, organic matter ranges from 0.19% (low value) to 0.76% (high value). In flat irrigation system for wheat yield ranges from 3347.16 to 5260.39 kg/ha, while the total water applied to wheat crop ranges from 252.94 to 279.19 mm and WUE ranges from 13.07 to 18.37 kg/ha/mm. For rice yield ranges from 3347.47 to 5433.07 kg/ha with total water supplied to rice crop ranges from 764.71 to 978.15 mm and WUE ranges from 3.49 to 5.71 kg/ha/mm. Similarly, in raised bed system wheat yield ranges from 4569.13 to 6008.60 kg/ha, total water supplied ranges from 158.87 to 185.09 mm and WUE ranges from 27.20 to 33.54 kg/ha/mm while in rice crop, yield ranges from 5285.04 to 6716.69 kg/ha, total water supplied ranges from 600.72 to 755.06 mm and WUE ranges from 6.41 to 10.05 kg/ha/mm. Almost 51.3% water saving is observed in bed irrigation system as compared to flat system. Less water supplied to beds is more affective as its WUE value is higher than flat system where more water is supplied in both the seasons. Similarly, RWS values show that maximum water deficit while minimum area is getting adequate water supply. Greater yield is recorded in bed system as plant per square meter is more in bed system in comparison of flat system Thus, the integration of GIS tools to regularly compute performance indices could provide irrigation managers with the means for managing efficiently the irrigation system.

Keywords: Field survey, Relative Water Supply (RWS), Remote sensing maps, Water Use Efficiency (WUE).

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3 Sweet Corn Water Productivity under Several Deficit Irrigation Regimes Applied during Vegetative Growth Stage using Treated Wastewater as Water Irrigation Source

Authors: Hirich A., Rami A., Laajaj K., Choukr-Allah R., Jacobsen S-E., El youssfi L., El Omari H.

Abstract:

Yield and Crop Water Productivity are crucial issues in sustainable agriculture, especially in high-demand resource crops such as sweet corn. This study was conducted to investigate agronomic responses such as plant growth, yield and soil parameters (EC and Nitrate accumulation) to several deficit irrigation treatments (100, 75, 50, 25 and 0% of ETm) applied during vegetative growth stage, rainfed treatment was also tested. The finding of this research indicates that under deficit irrigation during vegetative growth stage applying 75% of ETm lead to increasing of 19.4% in terms of fresh ear yield, 9.4% in terms of dry grain yield, 10.5% in terms of number of ears per plant, 11.5% for the 1000 grains weight and 19% in terms of crop water productivity compared with fully irrigated treatment. While those parameters in addition to root, shoot and plant height has been affected by deficit irrigation during vegetative growth stage when increasing water stress degree more than 50% of ETm.

Keywords: Leaf area, yield, crop water productivity, water saving

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2 Study The Effects of Conventional and Low Input Production System on Energy Efficiency of Silybum marianum L.

Authors: M. Haj Seyed Hadi, M. Darzi, E. Sharifi Ashoorabadi

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Medicinal plants are most suitable crops for ecological production systems because of their role in human health and the aim of sustainable agriculture to improve ecosystem efficiency and its products quality. Calculations include energy output (contents of energy in seed) and energy inputs (consumption of fertilizers, pesticides, labor, machines, fuel and electricity). The ratio of output of the production to inputs is called the energy outputs / inputs ratio or energy efficiency. One way to quantify essential parts of agricultural development is the energy flow method. The output / input energy ratio is proposed as the most comprehensive single factor in pursuing the objective of sustainability. Sylibum marianum L. is one of the most important medicinal plants in Iran and has effective role on health of growing population in Iran. The objective of this investigation was to find out energy efficiency in conventional and low input production system of Milk thistle. This investigation was carried out in the spring of 2005 – 2007 in the Research Station of Rangelands in Hamand - Damavand region of IRAN. This experiment was done in split-split plot based on randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Treatments were 2 production systems (Conventional and Low input system) in the main plots, 3 planting time (25 of March, 4 and 14 of April) in the sub plots and 2 seed types (Improved and Native of Khoozestan) in the sub-sub plots. Results showed that in conventional production system energy efficiency, because of higher inputs and less seed yield, was less than low input production system. Seed yield was 1199.5 and 1888 kg/ha in conventional and low input systems, respectively. Total energy inputs and out puts for conventional system was 10068544.5 and 7060515.9 kcal. These amounts for low input system were 9533885.6 and 11113191.8 kcal. Results showed that energy efficiency for seed production in conventional and low input system was 0.7 and 1.16, respectively. So, milk thistle seed production in low input system has 39.6 percent higher energy efficiency than conventional production system. Also, higher energy efficiency were found in sooner planting time (25 of March) and native seed of Khoozestan.

Keywords: energy efficiency, milk thistle, production system

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1 Microbiological and Physicochemical Studies of Wetland Soils in Eket, Nigeria

Authors: Ime R. Udotong, Ofonime U. M. John, Justina I. R. Udotong

Abstract:

The microbiological and physicochemical characteristics of wetland soils in Eket Local Government Area were studied between May 2001 and June 2003. Total heterotrophic bacterial counts (THBC), total fungal counts (TFC), and total actinomycetes counts (TAC) were determined from soil samples taken from four locations at two depths in the wet and dry seasons. Microbial isolates were characterized and identified. Particle size and chemical parameters were also determined using standard methods. THBC ranged from 5.2 (+0.17) x106 to 1.7 (+0.18) x107 cfu/g and from 2.4 (+0.02) x106 to 1.4 (+0.04) x107cfu/g in the wet and dry seasons, respectively. TFC ranged from 1.8 (+0.03) x106 to 6.6 (+ 0.18) x106 cfu/g and from 1.0 (+0.04) x106 to 4.2 (+ 0.01) x106 cfu/g in the wet and dry seasons, respectively .TAC ranged from 1.2 (+0.53) x106 to 6.0 (+0.05) x106 cfu/g and from 0.6 (+0.01) x106 to 3.2 (+ 0.12) x106 cfu/g in the wet and dry season, respectively. Acinetobacter, Alcaligenes, Arthrobacter, Bacillus, Beijerinckja, Enterobacter, Micrococcus, Flavobacterium, Serratia, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas species were predominant bacteria while Aspergillus, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, and Rhizopus were the dominant fungal genera isolated. Streptomyces and Norcadia were the actinomycetes genera isolated. The particle size analysis showed high sand fraction but low silt and clay. The pH and % organic matter were generally acidic and low, respectively at all locations. Calcium dominated the exchangeable bases with low electrical conductivity and micronutrients. These results provide the baseline data of Eket wetland soils for its management for sustainable agriculture.

Keywords: Wetland soils, Microbial counts, physicochemicalcharacteristics, Sustainable agriculture.

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