|Authors: ||T. Kukulies, A. Pattison, L. Forsyth, P. Nelson|
|Keywords: ||banana production systems, fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis, soil organic carbon, water content, β-glucosidase activity|
The major banana production areas in Australia are particularly sensitive to environments due to their close proximity to areas of World Heritage rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
Management of soil quality, nutrients and pesticides are vital to maintaining the integrity of these sensitive areas.
Studies on cropping systems have suggested that integrating organic matter into ground cover management would improve the quality of soil under banana cultivation.
In this study, an alternative management practice for bananas, which addresses the management of organic matter and fertiliser application, was assessed and compared to the conventional practice currently employed in the banana industry.
Several chemical, physical and biological soil parameters were measured including: pH, electrical conductivity, water stable aggregates, bulk density, water filled pore space, porosity, water content, fluorescein diacetate hydrolyis (FDA) and
The alternative management practice did not have a significant impact of the production and growth of bananas but overall improved the quality of the soil.
Although some differences were observed, the chemical and physical soil characteristics did not differ dramatically between the two management systems.
The addition of organic matter resulted in the soil under alternative practice having higher FDA and β-glucosidase levels, indicating higher microbial activity.
The integration of organic matter into the management of bananas resulted in positive benefits on soil properties under bananas, however, methods of maintaining organic matter in the soil need to be further researched.
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