Soil test crucial to cultivation – Expert
By Kehinde Oluwatayo
The need for farmers in the state to carry out soil test before planting to determine their final yield has been stressed.
Speaking to The Hope in an interview, the Farm Supervisor of Luhare Laboratory, Akure, Mr Oladapo Ewete said gone were the days when farmers picked land at a random, planted any type of crop on it and applied any quantity of fertilizer.
According to him, soil test gives farmers the assurance of his final yield and guarantees what he will get at the end of the season.
Ewete who said things are changing and people are beginning to understand the need for soil test noted that the step will help to determine the nutrient level and that farmers may not need the same quantity of fertilizer they have been applying.
“Through soil test, you check for nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium to know if they are adequate or not and you will be able to determine the quantity of fertilizer to apply.
“Another reason why you need to carry out soil test is to know the level of acidity of the soil. Not all crops grow at all levels of acidity. Some can grow at the PH of 7.2 or 7.3, for others it might be too much. So when you know the level of acidity, you know the type of crop that can thrive in it.
“Some nutrients like phosphorus will become unavailable for the plant when the level of acidity is above 7.9 compared to when the PH is 6.4.
“It will also help to know if a particular soil is heavy or light. For example, clay soil is heavy, but sandy soil is light. The quantity of fertilizer applied to clay cannot be applied to sandy because it will be washed away”, he explained.
Ewete said further that the organic matter of the soil is determined through soil test adding that knowing that will help to ascertain if the ability of the soil to hold water is okay or not.
According to him, the higher the organic matter, the higher the water holding capacity adding that it makes nutrients available for the soil throughout the year.
Ewete who said Nigeria is just metamorphosing into agriculture noted that soil test is imperative for farmers adding that a lot of enlightenment is going on to ensure that farmers embrace it.