How Do I Select A Good Site for Planting Cassava?

Author :  Wendy       Date Time : 2016-04-26
Cassava grows best in areas with deep and well-drained loamy soils, adequate rainfall, and warm and moist climatic conditions. The factors which guide you to determine if an area will be suitable for growing cassava include vegetation cover, soil texture and fertility, topography of land, and the field history of the area.

look for an area with thick vegetation cover: Sites with dense vegetation cover are likely to have fertile soils. The dense vegetation shades the soil from direct sunlight, reduces the amount of moisture that is lost from the soil through evaporation, and minimizes run-off water which may otherwise cause soil erosion. The dense vegetation also drops a lot of leaves which rot and add nutrients to the soil. In addition, decaying leaves encourage an increase in the number of earthworms and other small invertebrates in the soil, which in turn help to increase the air in the soil and make it better for growing cassava.

Look for an area with good soil texture: The best soil for growing cassava is deep, loamy soil. Such soils are rich in nutrients, low in gravel, hold water well, and are easy to work or till. The way to tell if the soil is loamy is to moisten a small amount of it and try to shape it into a ball (Figure 4). If you press the ball and it falls apart, then your soil is loamy. If it feels gritty and you are not able to shape the moistened soil into a ball, then the soil is sandy. If you shape the soil into a ball, and the soil does not fall apart when pressed, then the soil contains a lot of clay and is a clayey soil. Sandy and clayey soils are not the most suitable soils for growing cassava.

 Look for an area with fertile soil: Fertile soils usually have a dark color, for example, dark red or dark brown. The dark color shows that the soil has a lot of organic matter. If the soil looks gray and sometimes contains green or blue spots, it means that there is poor drainage and waterlogging. Do not grow cassava on soils that get waterlogged.

 Look for an area with flat or gently sloping land: The best farmland for cassava is flat or gently sloping. Steep slopes are easily eroded and are therefore not very good areas for growing cassava. Valleys and depression areas are also not very suitable because they usually get waterlogged and do not allow cassava roots to develop well. You may, however, plant early maturing cassava varieties on mounds or ridges in inland valleys during the dry season. Know the history of the site: Information such as how the land was previously used, and the types of weeds, diseases, and pests in the area, can help you in selecting a site for your cassava farm. Such information can help you to avoid a site with problems or make good plans for plant protection. Table 1 can be used to summarize the agronomic and cassava plant protection history of a site.
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