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Introduction

The respondent’s area is owned by Copertina Bantilan and is located

at Brgy. Tamlangon, Matanao, Davao del Sur with bearing coordinates

Latitude 60 N and Longitude 1250E at 60 M.Asl. With a total land area of

10,000 m 2 and a partly sloping terrain. The concerned area was previously

planted with Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) and Banana (Musa

acuminata) that were raised under conventional practices. The area is

currently categorized as an open land with few existing Banana species.

Agriculture is a soil-based industry that extracts nutrients from the

soil, effective and efficient approaches to slowing that removal and

returning nutrients to the soil will be required in order to maintain and

increase crop productivity and sustain agriculture for the long term.

Soils are complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, organic matter,

and countless organisms that are the decaying remains of once-living things

(Soil Science Society of America 2011).

There are indications that the highly productive fertilizer and seed

technologies introduced over the past three decades may be reaching a

point of diminishing returns (Cassman et al. 1995).


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Objectives

The study was conducted in-order to evaluate the impacts of the

conventional agricultural practices to the diminishing health of our soil and

as to the dwindling farm yield brought by problematic soils in terms of

nutrient availability and its management.

The result of this study will provide crucial information to the people

who are currently and planning to engage in agricultural activities to ensure

the profitability of their crops in a harmonious environment.


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METHODOLOGY

Soil Sampling

To determine the fertility status of the soil, soil testing was

conducted. Soil sampling was done by providing pre-determined points

using wooden stacks as markers for the 10 sampling points. Sampling points

were in a zigzag orientation to ensure that sampling points can represent

the total land area.

Soil specimen collection was done using a digging bar as an

alternative tool for a soil auger. Soil specimen were collected at a depth of

6 inches. Soil specimen for each sampling points were approximately 100g,

all the soil specimen collected in the 10 sampling points were thoroughly

mixed and were subjected for a 5 day air drying period prior to analysis.

Soil specimens were sent to the Bureau of Soils for N.P.K and pH analysis.
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Respondent’s Interview

Focused grouped discussion was used in interviewing the respondent

to obtain actual information of the concerned land. Questions asked are as

follows;

 Do you practice Kaingin?

 Yes

 Does the area have appropriate drainage system?

 Yes

 What are the dominant weed species in the area?

 Cogon (Impereta cylindrica)

 What are the previous crops that were planted?

 Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.)

 Banana (Musa acuminata )

 Type of agricultural practice being employed?

 Conventional

 Do you prefer organic farm inputs?

 No

 Do you employ fallowing method?

 No
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Identified Soil problems

A. Low Soil pH (Slightly Acid Soil)

Occurrence and Causes

Low soil pH occurs when the farm land undergoes massive non-

judicious use of synthetic farm inputs like herbicides, sulfur bearing

fertilizers, and pesticides. Soils with high clay and organic matter content

are more able to resist drastic pH change due to its high buffering capacity

compared to sandy soils. Soil acidity develops gradually in humid regions as

abundant precipitation percolates through the soil, carrying dissolved

nutrients below the root zone. Growing plants also remove calcium and

magnesium from the soil. The lost calcium and magnesium is replaced by

hydrogen and aluminum, resulting in increased soil acidity and Al, Fe and

Mn toxicity. The use of acid-forming fertilizers also contributes to soil

acidity. Root and microbial respiration produce CO 2 which dissolves to

produce carbonic acid in the soil solution. Carbonic acid is a weak acid,

producing H+ above pH 5 and can be a major source of acidity in agricultural

soils.

The concerned area has undergone soil sampling analysis and results

shows that soil bears a pH of 6.1 which is considered slightly acidic. During
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the interview, the land owner stated the farm land has Cogon grass as its

dominant vegetation species which results them to practice “kaingin”. A

recent study in the University of Florida stated that a decreases in soil pH,

often associated with poor soil fertility, is likely a contributing factor for

Cogon grass invasion.

Remedial Measures

A.1 Liming

A liming material can bring the pH of a soil to optimum levels for

crop production if used properly. Liming materials also provide calcium (Ca)

and/or magnesium (Mg) to the soil for plant uptake. Soil acidity can be

corrected when hydrogen or aluminum held by soil and organic matter

particles are replaced with calcium or magnesium. Finely ground limestone

is one of the most commonly used materials


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Table 2
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A.2 Crop Choice

Crop selection can also be employed in addressing acidic soils, there

are various crops that are tolerant when it comes to soil acidity as show in

the table below.

Impacts

Soil acidity greatly affects the soil nutrient availability of the soil as

per shown in table 2 above. Soil pH must be determined first before

applying any mineral form fertilizer to ensure adequate and efficient use of

mineral fertilizers. Acidic soils causes significant loss in production and

where the choice of crops is restricted to acid tolerant species and varieties,

profitable market opportunities may be reduced. In pastures grown on

acidic soils, production will be reduced and some legume species may fail

to persist.
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B. Inadequate Levels of N.P.K

Occurrence and Causes

Soil is major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth, the three

main nutrients are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).

Together they make up as the known trio in the world of essential nutrients.

The owner stated that the concerned area did undergo “kaingin” or slash

and burn method in eradicating the Cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica). In

the Philippines, most of the rural farmers are practicing conventional

farming which includes slash and burn method as part of their land

preparation due to its convenience and cost effectiveness. According to

Food and Agriculture Organization the high temperature brought by the

slash and burn method and heavy tillage are detrimental to beneficial soil

biota. Bioremediation and biodegradation are also important in maintaining

the health status of the soil and both are significantly affected by

conventional farming methods. Disrupting the soil ecosystems deals a great

blow in the soil fertility status which eventually leads to poor soil status and

reduction in yield in the long run.


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Table 3. Soil Biota


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Remedial Measures

B1. Sustainable Agricultural Practices

The development of sustainable agricultural practices depends

largely on promoting long term fertility and productivity of soil at

economically viable levels through, for example;

 Matching the supply of soil nutrients with nutrient demands of crop,

fodder and pasture plants: through optimizing return of crop residues

and animal wastes to the land and through greater reliance on

biologically fixed and recycled nutrients, and judicious use of mineral

fertilizers.

 Maintaining acceptable pest tolerance levels: through reliance on crop

rotations and bio-control agents and hence reducing or maintaining

low pesticide use.

 Maintaining soil physical properties conducive to plant growth and to

soil ecosystem functioning (aeration, water infiltration and retention,

nutrient availability, etc.) through decreasing or maintaining low

frequency and intensity of tillage and reducing erosion and leaching.

 Use of environmentally safe farming techniques and inputs to

promote a harmonious ecosystem towards a sustainable agriculture.


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B2. Land Fallowing

Agricultural land that is plowed or tilled but left unseeded during a

growing season. Fallowing or land resting is usually done to conserve

moisture and restore soil fertility. Green manuring can also be integrated

during this stage to help boost the Nitrogen levels.

B3. Soil Amendment of Mineral Fertilizers

Synthetic NPK fertilizers are readily available in the market, it can be

used to supplement the lacking nutrients in the soil in-order to boost crop

stand. Nutrient levels and crop nutrient requirement must be evaluated first

before applying any synthetic fertilizers to provide the right amount of

fertilizers needed by plants for growth.

B4. Soil Nutrient Status Monitoring

Soil analysis for macro and micro nutrients must be monitored

annually or quarterly if possible. In-order to have basis for fertilizer

applications, to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the fertilizers.


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Impacts

A healthy soil has the ability to perform or function according to its

potential, and to change over time due to human use and management or

to natural events. Soil health is enhanced by management and land-use

decisions that consider the multiple functions of soil and that take into

account that soil is a living organism. It is impaired by overuse of one input

factor in order to reach the maximum crop yield potential. The time scale is

an important consideration as seasonal and yearly changes in crop/land use

patterns can be effectively managed to compensate for changes in soil

condition and to restore a healthily functioning soil.

C. Heavy Clay Soils

Occurrence and Causes

By nature, clay soil is heavy, which makes it tough to dig and

cultivate. It holds water well, which can be a plus, but it also drains slowly,

which can cause your plants to get too much water. You may notice that

your clay soil also takes longer to warm up in the spring, and that can force

you to wait before you can work the soil and plant in it. Despite the

challenges of this soil type, clay soil is still good for growing different types

of plants. When looking at clay properties and uses, consider the type of
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things you plant. Trees and shrubs tend to perform well in clay soil. Clay

minerals typically form over long periods of time as a result of the gradual

chemical weathering of rocks, usually silicate-bearing, by low

concentrations of carbonic acid and other diluted solvents. These solvents,

usually acidic, migrate through the weathering rock after leaching through

upper weathered layers. In addition to the weathering process, some clay

minerals are formed through hydrothermal activity. There are two types of

clay deposits: primary and secondary. Primary clays form as residual

deposits in soil and remain at the site of formation. Secondary clays are

clays that have been transported from their original location by water

erosion and deposited in a new sedimentary deposits.

Remedial Measures

C1. Incorporate Organic Matter

Incorporation of organic matter to heavy clay soils provides the soil

pore spaces that serves as vent for aeration and water drainage. Organic

matter loosens the clay soil.


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C2. Minimize Soil Disturbance

Disturbing soil that's heavy with clay too much can make the

situation worse. Compaction is an issue when clay soil undergoes heavy

load/pressure. Tilling the ground too much can also make clods or cause

compaction. To avoid damage to the soil's structure, minimize how much

you work or walk on the soil.

C3. Appropriate Time of Tilling

Tilling can be employed in clay soils when water is at field capacity

to lessen the friction or stickiness of clay soils towards the tilling

implements. It is best done 2-3 days after the rain, at this time water will

be at field capacity.

C4. Build Raised Beds

Because clay soils hold water, creating raised beds can help improve

drainage by encouraging water to run off. Raised beds can be a simple

mound of soil, or can be constructed out of wood, brick, or stone. To lessen

compaction, size the beds so you can reach the middle without stepping in

the bed.
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Impacts

Heavy clay soils have very hard consistence when dry and very

plastic and sticky when wet. Therefore the workability of the soil is often

limited to very short periods of medium water status. However, tillage

operations can be performed in the dry season with heavy machinery.

Mechanical tillage in the wet season causes serious soil compaction. They

are imperfectly to poorly drained, leaching of soluble weathering products

is limited. This is due to the very low hydraulic conductivity.


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Documentation

Site Visit and Interview


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Documentation

Soil Sample Collection


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