Forestry and Environment Sympoisum 2002, Sri Lanka

Monday, September 18, 2006

IMPROVEMENT OF SOIL CHARACTERISTICS UNDER CROP - STOCK INTEGRATION

S.H.R. Priyadarshani & Thakshala Seresinhe
Dept of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna

Soil characteristics and vegetation properties of Diggassawela farm belong to Diddenipotha plantation Limited (approximately 10 km from Kamburupitiya) was studied in view of evaluating the impact of crop - stock long term integration. Crop - stock integration has been practiced in this farm for more than a decade. Compost and farmyard waste were intensively used for tea replanting purposes and pasture cultivation respectively. Soil samples were collected randomly from (3 replicate/location) cattle courtyard, pasture land and compared with an abandoned tea land soil in the same area.

The soil pH ranged from 8.06 for pastureland and 4.53 for an abandoned tea land (P <>0.05). The soil characteristics of pastureland compared with other two sites shows improvement due to nutrient recycling via dairy washings and litter accumulation.

The observations also revealed that the grass yield and longevity of the pastures and fodder were improved significantly with application of farmyard waste. Application of compost also improved the soil properties and increased the rate of survival of tea plants (replanting).

The results suggest that the waste materials such as excreta, residues of feeding materials, bedding and dairy washings thus produced various benefits with passage of time and demonstrated potential for the sustainability of a crop - livestock integration system. It is suggested that crop - livestock integration could be successfully used for the rehabilitation of tea lands on a long-term basis.

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