Baseline Soil Information and Management of a Salt-Tolerant Forage Project Site in Pakistan
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai is implementing a salt-tolerant forage project in Pakistan in collaboration with Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology Faisalabad. Pakistan is one of the seven partner countries (Tunisia, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Oman) where this project is implemented. Prior to any agricultural project initiation, it is essential to establish baseline soil information to understand soil conditions to prepare management plans to utilize the site optimally to achieve the objectives. It is also important to assign internationally recognized soil name to the experimental site for the wider acceptance of project findings /results by the international scientific community. This paper presents soil assessment results and management options of a project site at Shorkot, Pakistan. Specifically it presents physical and chemical characteristics, soil classification and management issues, as well as highlighting the limitations and constraints inherent at the site and suggests recommendations needed to overcome or reduce the limitations. The site presents variable texture at different depths, the argillic horizon (at 15-35 cm depth) is 20 cm thick silty clay (49% clay). The entire profile is calcareous and saline-sodic, surface salinity is the highest (ECe 64.2 dS/m). The soil type as per USDA Soil Taxonomy is coarse-loamy, mixed, hyperthermic Typic Natrargid. To offset high sodicity addition of soil amendment such as gypsum is required, as well as leaching of soil salinity from root zone. This paper is unique in its scope and purpose. The researchers may use the results of the forage project to apply in other areas where such a type of soil will occur with great confidence and avoids conducting long term experiments.