The Role of Different
Balanced Fertilisation Benefits Long-term Yield
Balanced fertilisation means that each plant receives the right amount of nutrients to be able to grow strong and healthy. This is important because a healthy plant produces a good yield, and it is also more resistant to different diseases, pests and even drought. Also large root mass helps prevent erosion, and when the basics of growth are right, plants can efficiently use added nutrients without loss through leaching, run-off, volatilization or fixation. Balanced fertilisation also means that removed nutrients which are taken out with the crop will be returned by adding fertilisers.
Different soils contain different amounts of valuable nutrients, and soil analysis is a base for accurate and balanced fertilisation. In many cases, leaf analysis is also used either to complement soil analysis, or as the main analysis.
The major soil types in Africa
© EUROPEAN SOIL DATA CENTRE (ESDAC)
The map shows the dominant WRB Reference Soil Groups for Africa. The map is a revised representation of the African part of the Digital Soil Map of the World produced by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The map clearly shows the zonal arrangement of soils in Africa. The central, wetter part is dominated by Ferralsols, depicted in brown-orange. They are associated with Acrisols (orange-brown). Towards drier parts, Lixisols start to appear (pale pink). In West Africa large areas of Plinthosols occur (dark brown), mainly as hardened surface layers or cuirasses.
The desert regions in the north and the south are dominated by Calcisols (bright yellow), Leptosols (shallow soils depicted in grey), Regosols (pale pink), Arenosols (brownish yellow) and Gypsisols (pale yellow). Very locally, especially in southern Africa, Durisols (pinkish grey) occur.
The dark purple colour on the map, mainly in Sudan and Ethiopia, indicate Vertisols whereas the bright red colours depict the dominance of Andosols, mostly associated with the African Rift valley. This is also where most of Africa’s Nitisols are found (dark pink).
In the Mediterranean region pale brown and brown colours indicate areas of, respectively, Kastanozems and Phaeozems. Gleysols (dark blue) and Fluvisols (bright blue) are found throughout the map, the latter associated with Africa’s river systems and deltas. Solonchaks (purple) and Solonetz (light purple) are mainly associated with coastal plains. Alisols (very pale yellow), Cambisols (orange), Histosols (dark grey), Luvisols (dark pink), Planosols (dark orange), Podzols (green) and Umbrisols (dark green) are scattered throughout the map and can be locally important.
In urbanised areas and near large mines, Technosols (highly disturbed soils) may occur. However, most of these areas will be too small to be visible at this continental scale.