Land Suitability for Agricultural of Certain Crops in Al-Bostan Area, Egypt

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Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, 4(5): 485-499, 2008 2008, INSInet Publication

Land Suitability for Agricultural of Certain Crops in Al-bostan Area, EgyptM.Z. Salem, G.W. Ageeb and I.S. Rahim Soils and Water Use Dept., National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt.Abstract: Eighteen soil profiles have been chosen to represent production and research station of National Research Centre, which including El-Emam Malek and El-Esraa and El Mearage farms. The main morphological properties of the studied soil profiles were described. The studied soil profiles are classified to subgroup level according to Key of Soil Taxonomy as Typic Torripsamments. The obtained results indicate that the soil texture is sandy, and gravels are found in some soil profiles. Organic matter content is low and ranged between 0.08-0.92 %. Soil salinity is low and ranges between 0.15-1.64 dS/m. Cation exchange capacity is low and ranges between 4.2-13.9 meq/100g soil. Calcium carbonate content ranges between 1.17-13.34%. Land capability classification of area under investigation is belonging to Class 4, the limiting factors for agricultural production are gravel percent (G%), available moisture percent(AM%), exchangeable sodium percent (ESP) and cation exchange capacity(CEC). The studied soils are evaluated to determine its suitability for growing 12 crops. Data reveal that soil profiles from El Emam Malek and El-Esraa farms are placed at high suitable (S2) and moderate suitable (S3) for growing crops, while soils represented by profiles 5 and 6 are placed at non-suitable (S5) for growing crops, the limiting factors for agricultural production are soil texture and exchangeable sodium percent (ESP) in the most of soil profiles. Key words: Land suitability, Land capability, Remote sensing, Geographic Information System, AlBostan area. INTRODUCTION Production and research station of National Research Centre, which including El-Emam Malek farm (145 feddans) and El-Esraa and El-Mearage farm (160 feddans). The study area lies to the North West of the Nile Delta of Egypt between 30 29 N and 30 19 E (El-Emam Malek farm) and 30 30 N to 30 21 E (El-Esraa and El-Mearage farm) Map (1). The aim of the present study is to evaluate land capability and suitability for growing different crops. Such work will be useful for agricultural development policy of the region under consideration. The climate of the studied area is situated in the desert zone of Egypt which characterized by hot dry summer and warm winter. The maximum air temperature is 31.6C in August, while the minimum air temperature is 7.4C in January. The maximum rainfall is 10.30 mm in December, while the minimum rainfall is 0.00 in June, July and August. The relative air humidity shows the highest value is 69.7 % in January, while the lowest value is 53% in July. The highest wind speed is 21.1km/hr in April[1]. Parent material of the studied soils is sand deposits. The digital elevation model (DEM) is illustrated in Maps 2 and 3, shows that elevation ranges from 23-48 m A.S.L. at El-Emam Malek farm and 13-42m A.S.L. at El-Esraa and ElMearage farm.Corresponding Author:

The main resource of irrigation water at Al-Bostan area is El-Nubariya canal through Al-Bostan canal except for some areas that irrigated by artesian wells water[2]. The identified soils of West Nubariya, Egypt according to analyzed data from both landsat MSS and SPOT high resolution visible, belong to Entisols and Aridisols[3] . Soils of some newly areas in Nubariya could be classified as: Typic Torripsamments, Typic Calciorthids and Typic P aleorthids[4] . While soils of West Nubariya classified to, Typic Calciorthids, Calcic Gypsiorthids, Cambic Gypsiorthids, Typic Torriorthents, and Lithic Torriorthents[5]. The area extends to cover seven villages at West Nubariya which represent the first stage of reclamation soils classified to Haploclaci-gypsids, Haplocalcids, Petrocalcids and Petrogypsids[6] . Many areas which locate in Nubariya for sustainable agricultural development through out the integration of GIS/RS techniques, with link cluster analysis, classified as, Typic Haplosalids, Typic To r r ip s a m m e n t s, Ty p ic H a p lo gy p sid s, Ty p ic Calcigypsids and Typic Haplocalcids[6]. Designed a computer program [7] (SSCC) based on [8 ] have been used to determine quantitatively soil suitability for certain crops and named this method. The concept of SSCC program is to match soil characteristics with crops requirements (includes climatic requirement) the possibility for including more

M.Z. Salem, Soils and Water Use Dept., National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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Res. J. Agric. & Biol. Sci., 4(5): 485-499, 2008

Map 1: Location map of the production and research station of National Research Centre, Landsat (ETM 2001)

Map 2: Digital elevation model of El-Emam Malek farm

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Res. J. Agric. & Biol. Sci., 4(5): 485-499, 2008

Map 3: Digital elevation model of El Esraa and El- Merage farm crops. The limitations are gravel %, salinity, ESP, depth and slope. The formula is as follows IS = A.B.C.D.E.F.G.H. The suggested quantitative systems[9] were more suitable under the Egyptian conditions, where the results were compatible and added that[10,11] it could be considered prevailing in the soils of Egypt. On the other hand [12] reported that the quantitative land capability classification also worked out following the modified system[11] . The main objectives of land evaluation are to assess the suitability of different tracts of land for specific alternative forms of rural land use [13] . 5.46 % of total area of newly reclaimed areas in Nubariya area high suitable only for olives and moderately suitable for potato, pepper, onion, garlic, watermelon, apples, almond, date palms, citrus, grape and pea [4]. Land capability classification indicated that soils of W est Nubariya belong to class 1(9.34%), class II (20.74%) and class III (70.10%). Land suitability classification was carried out for wheat, alfalfa, maize and watermelon [14] . While land capability classification of the soils of branch 20 areas of West Nubariya belong to class I, II, III and IV [6] . Land suitability evaluation for wheat, maize, citrus and banana respectively, have been done in the same study. The changes in soil characteristics and soil quality under different land use periods and management practices (cropping patterns, irrigation systems, water recourses and quality were compare and analyze 487 also the study dealt with land capability and land suitability[1 5] in sandy soils at El Bostan region, and found that the capability classes of the investigated area are classes (C3) moderate, (C4) marginal, while most of the studied soils are moderately (class 3) to low (class 4) suitable for tested crops. The main limiting factors in all the studied soils are soil texture, sodium saturation, salinity, useful depth and carbonate content. MATERIALS AND METHODS Eighteen soil profiles were chosen to represent the studied area which covering about 305 feddans. Ten soil profiles from El-Emam Malek farm and eight profiles from El-Esraa and El-Mearage farm. The profiles were morphologically described[16] . Fifty five soil samples were collected for the following analyses; particle size distribution using standard sieving technique [ 1 7] , soil moisture constants [ 1 8 ] , hydraulic conductivity in disturbed soil samples [ 19], soil reaction (pH) of soil water suspension (1:2.5), EC (dS/m) of soil extract (1:1), soluble cations and anions, Cation exchange capacity (CEC), calcium carbonate content (CaCO 3 %) and gypsum content[20] . Soil classification was carried out [21] . Land capability classification was performed on the study area [22] , while land suitability classification was

Res. J. Agric. & Biol. Sci., 4(5): 485-499, 2008

performed using MicroLIES Almagra evaluation model[23] . The main soil characteristics considered in this system as follow: useful depth, texture, drainage, calcium carbonate content, salinity, sodium saturation and degree of development of the profile. GIS Database: GIS database of production and research station soils was established in Arc GIS 9.0 software. The database was started by create a base maps of the farms, which includes a number of 120 observation points. These points were observed to get the spot height and geographic position by GPS of the surface features of the farms. The database include a set of thematic maps such as location of the farm, contour lines, surface layout of the farms, location of the soil profiles, gravel distribution, alkalinity, salinity, cation exchange capacity, calcium carbonate distribution and soil depth. These maps were produced depend upon the attribute data of the observation points and soil profile analyses. The GIS database includes detailed description and laboratory analyses of 18 soil profiles and land suitability for growing 12 crops.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Physical properties: Data in Table (1) show that the particle size distribution of the studied soil profiles, the soil texture was sandy, where the sand fraction more than 94%, with very low percent of clay and silt fractions. The gravels percent ranged between 10 90% in El-Emam Malek (profiles 3, 4, 5 and 6), while it is ranging from 2-24% at El-Esraa and El-Mearage farms (profiles 12, 13, 14, 15 and 18). The soil moisture constants presented in Table (2), the available water (AW%) was low and ranged between 5.4-9.9%, of El-Emam Malek farm and 6.710.7 of El-Esraa and El-Mearage farm. This is expected due to the relatively low clay content and consequently low water holding capacity. Soil hydraulic conductivity (HC) was high values in the study area and ranged between 14.3-25.1 cm/hr, these high values may be attributed to be sandy texture of the soils. Chemical Properties: The data presented in Table (3) show that the soil salinity (EC/dS/m) in most profiles

Table 1: Particle size distribution of the studied soil profiles Profile No. Depth (cm) Gravel % VCS% CS % MS % FS % VFS % Silt+clay % Texture El-Emam Malek farm 1 0-20 2.44 11.12 32.34 34.85 15.73 3.25 Sandy 20-60 1.55 10.45 33.32 32.45 18.76 3.47 Sandy 60-150 2.21 20.23 40.35 28.35 6.55 2.31 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2 0-40 14.14 11.27 34.25 32.22 4.89 3.23 Coarse nd 40-150 15.22 13.23 28.53 33.45 5.36 4.21 Coarse sand -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3 0-150 10 22.32 19.45 33.45 10.21 7.57 2.32 Coarse sand -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4 0-30 13 12.34 20.22 30.41 30.22 4.49 2.32 Coarse sand 30-50 18 10.11 8.23 20.31 52.13 5.91 3.31 Fine sand 50-70 95 7.25 10.25 30.22 30.44 18.39 3.45 Sandy 70-150 79 6.35 7.32 28.22 34.2 19.66 4.25 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5 0-50 38 3.45 7.75 30.23 37.22 19.03 2.32 Sandy 50-70 59 1.54 2.75 23.12 54.47 14.37 3.75 Sandy 70-150 2.54 8.73 33.24 36.35 14.89 4.25 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6 0-60 40 10.11 13.45 37.21 30.25 5.75 3.23 Sandy 60-150 10 8.72 7.15 21.21 51.24 7.44 4.24 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7 0-70 12.57 18.23 32.03 31.23 3.22 2.72 Fine sand 70-150 7.53 10.23 30.23 41.02 6.68 4.31 Coarse sand -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8 0-60 10.32 11.24 30.23 38.39 7.47 2.35 Sandy 60-150 9.24 10.25 34.23 40.21 2.74 3.33 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9 0-50 17.22 6.22 34.32 29.51 10.28 2.45 Sandy 50-93 9.25 10.25 37.22 30.21 9.35 3.72 Sandy 93-125 6.32 3.25 27.21 50.21 9.19 3.84 Sandy 125-150 9.28 11.23 32.11 34.22 8.61 4.55 Fine sand -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10 0-20 16.11 7.35 28.32 32.12 12.89 3.21 Sandy 20-50 10.15 11.23 29.22 34.55 11.31 3.45 Sandy 50-120 11.55 12.34 30.22 36.12 5.56 4.21 Sandy 120-150 10.13 8.21 33.34 37.22 7.32 3.78 Sandy ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Res. J. Agric. & Biol. Sci., 4(5): 485-499, 2008Table 1: Continued El-Esraa and El-Mearage farm 0-30 11.13 17.25 30.25 34.21 4.84 2.32 andy 30-60 12.13 10.4 37.25 32.31 4.8 3.11 Sandy 60-90 5.32 4.91 28.23 52.33 5.68 3.53 Fine sand 90-150 7.83 10.11 35.33 33.24 9.28 4.12 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12 0-35 6 11.35 20.22 26.45 33.2 5.55 3.23 Coarse sand 35-65 8 8.75 10.22 30.23 40.11 6.88 3.81 Sandy 65-90 14 3.52 7.23 28.22 50.42 6.4 4.21 [Fine sand 90-140 9.27 10.11 33.21 30.22 13.34 3.85 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13 0-40 9 10.23 11.33 37.22 30.33 8.66 2.23 Sandy 40-80 15 9.23 10.45 38.33 31.23 7.64 3.12 Sandy 80-150 10 8.75 11.33 40.11 28.32 7.38 4.11 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14 0-40 5 12.14 18.45 32.23 30.31 4.7 5.17 Sandy 40-65 3 10.32 11.21 35.23 28.31 11.8 3.13 Sandy 65-150 3 9.24 10.34 36.24 33.21 6.81 4.15 Sandy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15 0-30 7 10.13 13.11 34.22 31.31 8 3.23 Sandy 30-50 2 9.58 10.21 37.22 34.23 4.64 4.12 Sandy 50-70 2 5.35 6.21 26.23 53.2 5.46 3.55 Fine sand 70-150 24 7.52 5.62 40.24 30.21 12.18 4.23 Sandy ---------------------------------------------------------...