Evaluation of Spatial Variability of Soil Physico-Chemical Characteristics on Rhodic Ferralsol at the Syferkuil Experimental Farm of University of Limpopo, South Africa

  •  Kopano Phefadu    
  •  Funso Kutu    


Spatial variability among selected soil physical and chemical properties in twelve profiles dug across the research block of the University of Limpopo experimental farm was investigated. The soils were moderately shallow to deep, contain variable textural classes and classified as Rhodic ferralsol. Over 90% of the samples were considered as slightly alkaline based on the water-measured pHvalues but decreased to marginally over 27% when measured in KCl. The electrical conductivity of the soils revealed a generally non-saline field. Bray P1, EC, exchangeable cations, extractable Zn and effective cation exchange capacity contents differed significantly (p < 0.05) with depth while K, Mg, Ca, Mn, organic carbon and ECEC differed significantly (p < 0.05) across profiles. Semi-variograms for the measured variables had low values indicating the existence of considerable level of spatial variability. Spatial dependence among top and subsoil pH, EC, organic carbon, sand, silt clay and bulk density ranged between weak and strong. Results revealed a significant spatial variability of the characterized parameters across the research block because to differences in tillage, cropping pattern and nutrient specific application over the years.

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