Agricultural Science

Agricultural Science

ISSN: 2291-4471 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-448X (Online)

Volume 2 (2014), No. 1, Pages 22-36

DOI: 10.12735/as.v2i1p22

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What Drives Decline Productivity in Ageing Tea Plantation - Soil Physical Properties or Soil Nutrient Status?

Piero Iori1  Reginaldo Barbosa da Silva1  Ayodele Ebenezer Ajayi2  Francisca Alcivania de Melo Silva1  Moacir de Souza Dias Junior3  Zigomar Menezes de Souza4 

1Universidade Estadual Paulista "Julio de Mesquita Filho" - UNESP, Campus Experimental de Registro, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2Soil, Water and Environment Division, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Federal University of technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria
3Department of Soil Science, Federal University of Lavras (UFLA). CNPq Researcher Mineiro - FAPEMIG. Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brazil
4Departament of Water and Soil, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

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Over the years, the tea plantations in the Ribeira Valley, Brazil had been recording declining productivity and reduced tea quality. This had been associated with several factors including the age of the plantation, decling fertility, soil degradation among others factor. In this study, our objective was to identify the main driver of declining productivity in tea yield in the Ribeira Valley tea plantation in Brazil and to evaluate the effects of long-term tea cultivation on the physico-chemical changes and nutrient dynamics in the soil at 2 profile depths. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of long-term cultivation on changes in the physical and chemical properties of Acrisol Haplic planted to Tea in the Ribeira Valley region, Brazil. The soil samples were collected at two depths 0-10 cm and 10-20 cm in two representative plantations and analyzed for chemical, physical and mechanical soil properties. The selected sites; Thea Hills – TH1987 and Braço Preto – BP1972 presents different plantation ages on a similar cultivation practices. The harvested quantities of tea from the sites were monitored and their quality classified following international standards. We observed declining productivity in terms of harvested tea from both sites and the quality of harvested tea were better in TH1987 than BP1972. The soil nutrient study indicated an improvement in fertility parameters in the older plantation (BP1972). We observed degradation in the soil physical quality parament and all possible factors indicated that degradation of the soil structure through compaction was the main factor resulting in the observed declined productivity (quantitatively and qualitatively). Soil structure degradation adversely affects the soil functions including aeration, crop water use efficiency and soil nutrient conversion. We recommend appropriate soil tillage management in tea plantations too improve the productive cycle and capacities.

Keywords: soil compaction, degradation of soil structure, soil fertility, soil penetration resistance

To Cite this Article: Iori, P., Da Silva, R. B., Ajayi, A. E., De Melo Silva, F. A., Dias Junior, M. D. S., & De Souza, Z. M. (2014). What drives decline productivity in ageing tea plantation - Soil physical properties or soil nutrient status? Agricultural Science, 2(1), 22-36.

Copyright © Piero Iori et al.

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This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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What Drives Decline Productivity in Ageing Tea Plantation - Soil Physical Properties or Soil Nutrient Status?