Variability of soil physical parameters, soil moisture and soil erodibility under different weed controls on a coffee plantation in the Kilimanjaro region

Daniel-Sebastian Moser1, Bernd Huwe2, Christina Bogner3
1 Ecological Modelling and Soil Physics
2 Soil Physics
3 Ecological Modelling

P 4.18 in BayCEERversity: Across scales, compartments & communities

Introduction

Coffee is one of the most valuable cash crops and luxury goods produced for the world market. The overall goal of this study is to examine the influence of different weed controls on soil properties and therefore to a certain extent on Coffea arabica plants on two coffee plantations on the southern slopes of the Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). We hope to provide information to support decision on the best way to control weeds in coffee plantations for local coffee farmers. Coffee plantations can be prone to soil erosion due to weed free soil between the crops and the large distances between the individual plants. The objective is to characterize soil and plant parameters and soil erodibility and to assess possible differences related to weed control.

Material and Methods

During January and February 2017 fieldwork was conducted at two coffee plantations at the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Treatments ranged from no weed control, mowing and mulching, mowing and removing of the cut plant material, applying pesticides, weeding and placing the biomass either between the coffee plants or in the middle of the drive way.

Results

All exported soil samples underwent scanning by visible-near-infrared spectroscopy. Some samples are analysed and will be used for model calibration and estimation of carbon and nitrogen contents. We expect to see only minor differences in properties due to the short duration of the different treatments compared to the standard weed control.