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Soil genesis, classification and soil-crop suitability of Serdang and Malacca soil series in a Malaysian public university


Aliyu, Santuraki Hassan (2017) Soil genesis, classification and soil-crop suitability of Serdang and Malacca soil series in a Malaysian public university. Masters thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.


A study was conducted to update the soil data of Serdang and Malacca Series. The soil data update was conducted in order to obtain comprehensive soil data for characterization of physical, chemical and mineralogical properties of Serdang Series (Ultisols Order) and Malacca Series (Oxisols Order) and within UPM campus area. The soil data were used for Soil-Crop Suitability assessment as stated by Wong (2009) and FAO Land Evaluation (1976) that benefits farmers, soil scientist and to some extent, benefits stakeholders in future soil studies. A total of four soil profiles were dug that, represent Serdang and Malacca Series. For each soil series, the soil profile represent two condition, which are minimal disturbance and highly disturbed soil condition. Following the soil profile preparation, the soil classification was conducted based on USDA Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff, 2014). Bulk density and porosity are important physical properties of soil. For Serdang Series, highly disturbed soils have higher bulk density (1.47-1.51 g cm-3) values compared to minimal disturbance (1.42-1.47 g cm-3). This indicate top soil soil compaction after several years of human activity, and further supported with reduction (from 38% to 30%) in soil porosity. Compaction decreases porosity as bulk density increases. Typically, porosity between 40-50% would be ideal for soil, to support good plant growth. In general, if compaction increases bulk density from 1.3 to 1.5 g/cm3, porosity decreases from 50 percent to 43 percent. Aggregation also decreases porosity because more large pores are present as compared to single clay and silt particles that are associated with smaller pores. Another important aspect of soil porosity concerns the oxygen found within these pore spaces. All plants need oxygen for respiration, so a well-aerated soil is important for growing crops. For Malacca Series, the bulk density was lower compared to Serdang Series, and thus increase in porosity (from 35% to 41%) was observed. This support that, Malacca Series have better potential to be utilized for plant growth compared to Serdang Series in terms of soil physical criteria. Soil chemical properties, such as soil pH for both soil series indicated the soil were strongly (pH 4) to moderately acidic (pH 5.6) in reaction. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) values of all the soil were low (< 16 cmol+ kg-1). The values ranged from 11.0 to 5.25 cmol+ kg-1 and 8.72 to 4.16 cmol+ kg-1 and 10.22 to 4.66 cmol+ kg-1 and 9.72 to 3.38 cmol+ kg-1 1 for the highly and minimally disturbed soil of Serdang and Malacca Series. Base saturation values were also low for all soils (< 50%), available phosphorus, total nitrogen contents (0.15-0.20%) of all the soil were moderately low. Except for organic carbon, average of 3.5% was observed for minimal disturbed soils for both series, compared to highly disturbed with reduction of half a magnitude. Exchangeable aluminum values were higher in Serdang Series (1.59-2.66 cmol+ kg-1) indicating high level of potential soil toxicity if the aluminium becomes available for plant uptake in the soil. At present, the aluminium poses moderate concerns for plant, with lime application is recommended in Malaysia to mitigate the aluminium saturation to certain extent. As such practice is used widely in Malaysian soil for oil palm, rubber, paddy and other crop production. Mineralogical data showed presence of kaolinite, gibbsite and quartz in both Serdang Series and Malacca Series that indicates highly weathered soil in Malaysia tropical region. Meanwhile, soil texture class indicates sandy clay loam to sandy clay for both Serdang and Malacca Series, and under this textural class, the soils can be stated as moderately fine, that require some tillage practice for good crop growth. Serdang Series and Malacca Series, respectively classified as Typic Kandiudults and Typic Hapludox, based on USDA Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff, 2014). Assessment of Soil-Crop Suitability based on Wong (2009) on the selected crops that are oil palm, cocoa, rubber, corn and paddy were conducted for both soil series. The assessment noted that, Serdang Series were Marginally (M) suitable (nutrient imbalance) with Class 2n for all the selected crop production compared to Malacca Series. Class 2 indicates one moderate limitations. Malacca Series noted to be Unsuitable (U) with Class 4 (nc)r for all the selected crops mainly due to nutrient imbalance (n), soil compaction (c) and stoniness (r) within the soil layers. Nutrient imbalance (n) limitations can be improved with application of inorganic NPK fertilizer, compost, lime and some other soil amendment. With that, the Malacca Series can be improved to potential suitability of Class 4 cr. Class 4 indicates at least one very serious limitations. Since the limitations c and r falls within the physical limitations. Rectification of such limitation are often costly. Therefore, perennial crops such as oil palm, rubber and cocoa have a better potential to be cultivated in Malacca Series compared to cash crops such as corn and paddy. Meanwhile, based on FAO (1976) suitability indices, Serdang Series are marginally suitable with nutrient imbalance (Sf) for all selected crops, compared to Malacca Series that indicates oil palm and cocoa are unsuitable for planting crops (N), while rubber is marginally suitable with nutrient deficiency (Sf). The FAO system of classification indicates soil limiting factors for each particular crop, while system of classification in Wong is based on the group of crops that match with each soil suitability class. As a conclusion, Serdang Series are marginally suitable for perennial and cash crops production compared to Malacca series, that only suitable for rubber growth. With soil amendments, Malacca Series can be potential for oil palm and cocoa production.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subject: Soils - Classification
Subject: Soil formation
Subject: Soil science
Call Number: FP 2017 16
Chairman Supervisor: Roslan bin Ismail, PhD
Divisions: Faculty of Agriculture
Depositing User: Nabilah Mustapa
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2019 02:26
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2019 02:26
URI: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/70320
Statistic Details: View Download Statistic

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