SUNBIZ

Test Soil Health, Farmers Told

Institute Chief Executive Officer, Professor Santiago Mahimairaja, said soil health enhanced the sustainable sugarcane production.
26 Jul 2022 16:50
Test Soil Health,  Farmers Told
Liming can improve sugar production, says the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.

Cane farmers have been urged to test the soil health before commencing cultivation.

The Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF) is ready to assist farmers in carrying out tests, at no additional cost.

The move ties in with the institute’s efforts to promote liming to enhance sugarcane production.

Institute Chief Executive Officer, Professor Santiago Mahimairaja, said soil health enhanced the sustainable sugarcane production.

“Soils of sugarcane growing areas in Fiji are mostly, naturally acidic, where the pH ranges from 3.2 to 8.0,” he said.

“Due to monocropping for a long- time, the basic cations like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, are leached down from soil.”

 

“These cations are replaced by the acidic cations like hydrogen, aluminum, manganese and iron, to further lower the pHs.”

Professor Mahimairaja said soil pH affected the biochemical processes of sugar formation.

“Thus the quality of sugar produced in sugarcane,” he said.

The optimum growth of most crops occurs in the pH range 6 to 7.

“If soil pH is below this range, the excess acidity needs to be neutralised, and the pH should be raised.”

“This can be achieved through a procedure called liming.”

 

How Liming Works

Liming involves application of optimum rate of lime stone, or other calcium containing compounds, such as like burnt lime, slaked lime, to neutralize the soil acidity.

“The minimum process period is three weeks, before planting canes. Green manuring is also encouraged for improved soil health,” Professor Mahimairaja said.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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