In Ethiopia, where sugarcane has been cultivated for over 20 years, changes in soil physicochemical properties are expected to occur albeit information on the extent of change is scanty. A study was conducted in 2015 at Finchaa Sugar Estate with the objective of assessing the status of selected soil properties under long term mechanized sugarcane cultivation. Disturbed composite and undisturbed soil samples from 0-30 and 30-60 cm layers of selected Luvisols and Vertisols at Finchaa were collected for laboratory analysis of selected soil properties. The result of the study indicated that clay content of the land under sugarcane was higher than that of the adjacent uncultivated land use types. The bulk density values for a clay texture for most of the studied soils were higher than the critical values recommended for successful sugarcane production. The pH of the two land uses also ranged from 5.35 to 6.63. Organic carbon (0.95 to 1.32%), total nitrogen (< 0.12%), and available P (2.51-8.63 mg kg-1) were also in the range of those not adequate for sugarcane cultivation. Overall, the measured soil properties indicated that the management practices the estate has been implementing were not adequate to sustain sugarcane production on a profitable basis and, thus, require revisiting the practices. To maintain sustainability of sugarcane production in the estate; soil management practices that can increase soil organic carbon, pH, total nitrogen and soil available P should be employed.
Key words: Sugarcane, soil physical property, soil chemical property.
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