EFFECT OF CROP RESIDUE ON SOIL CHEMICAL PROPERTIES AND RICE YIELDS ON AN ULTISOL
The soils of the Abakaliki area are low in fertility. The soils have been noted to be acidic, low in organic matter status, caption exchange capacity and other essential nutrients, (Emoezor et al., 1988, Asadu and Akamigbo, 1990, Nnabude and Mbagwu 1999 and Ogbodo and Nnabude, 2004). The use of organic amendments could be a viable means of improving the productivity of the soils. Recycling of crop residue has demonstrated to be one of the ways of improving soil nutrient content and maintaining soil productivity (Kang and Juo 1986, Iwuafor et al., 1991, Salim, 1991 and Mbagwu et al., 1994). Large quantities of rice straw and husk are produced in Abakaliki annually. These materials are either burnt or removed for various domestic uses. Various species of leguminous plants also grow wildly in the vegetation, which are usually slashed and removed before traditional tillage operations. These crop residues are major sources of nutrients, and have the potentials for improving soil conditions. Rice production is the main cropping operation in Abakaliki Area of Ebonyi State Nigeria. The crops are posed with the protein of realizing productivity owing to the soil fertility problems. Determining appropriate crop residue management practices that could lead to improved and sustainable rice crop yields in Abakaliki area could be a welcome agricultural technology.