Properties and Nutrient Status of Soils Under Cacao Production System in Compostela Valley, Philippines


The study was conducted to understand the morphological and physico-chemical characteristics of the soils under cacao production system and evaluate nutrient status of soils under cacao production system in Compostela Valley, Philippines. Eight (8) cacao farms were selected for detailed field characterization and sampling of soils for various nutrient analyses. These farms were located in Pindasan, Mabini; Lebanon, Montevista; New Leyte, Maco; Sawangan, Mawab; Emilda, Laak; Sta. Maria, Nabunturan; Cogonon, New Bataan; Bagong Silang, Maragusan, representing different agro-climatic conditions and unique management practices. Fertility status of each selected farm was determined by comparing the fertility properties of each soil with the optimum and critical nutrient level requirement for cacao. Results show that most of the soils has dark brown soil color in upper horizon with dark yellowish brown in lower horizons. They are moderately deep to very deep (19 to 150cm) with very friable to extremely firm when moist and slightly sticky to very sticky and slightly plastic to very plastic when wet consistence. Lower elevation (Site 1) had shallow solum caused by high water table, impeding soil development, resulting thereby to the development of mottles and redoximorphic properties. Amount of clay ranged from 9 to 37%, 18 to 40% for silt and 30 to 68% for sand. Most of the cacao farms were intercropped with coconut, durian, lanzones, rubber and banana. Majority of the soils have moderate to slightly acidic condition with pH values < 6.5 and CEC ranging from 10 to 34 meq/100g. Moreover, majority of the areas have low organic matter (1.66%) except for the areas who continually applied organic matter during fertilization (4.60%). Amount of nitrogen (N) is optimum; however, phosphorus (P) was generally deficient in the soils of most cacao farms surveyed, while amount of potassium (K) ranges from 41.30 to 375.60 mg/kg. Appropriate fertilization based on site-specific recommendation and proper cultural management are the pre-requisite for sustainable production of cacao in Compostela Valley.