The influence of soil salinity on regeneration of annual Medicago pastures in the Swartland area of South Africa
Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Soil is a critical aspect in food security and represents the difference between survival and extinction of all living organisms. However, most environmental reports suggest that various agricultural activities are responsible for soil degradation and thus can hinder sustainable food production. Soil salinity can be caused by agricultural activities, and it has become a major global concern. Farms in the Swartland area of the Western Cape province in South Africa have soil salinity problems which is affecting farm productivity and profitability. This study aimed at evaluating the influence of soil salinity on the regeneration of annual medic (Medicago spp.) pastures. The study was carried out on two farms which practice conservation agriculture in the Swartland area. The study highlights the changes in medic productivity in terms of seed production, seedling establishment and herbage production across a soil salinity gradient. The low productivity (saline) soils had the lowest (P < 0.05) medic seed numbers, seedling establishment and herbage yield compared to the medium and high productivity (none saline) soils. The use of gypsum was not effective in the alleviation of soil salinity, therefore, the use of salt tolerant legumes such as messina (Melilotus siculus), on the saline soils was recommended.
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