The Unsuitability of Certain Virgin Soils to the Growth of Grain Crops

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It is strikingly apparent that certain types of soils when put down to crops for the first time are entirely unsuitable in the first few years to the growth of grain crops such as maize, sorghum and pennisetum. Not only do the plants fail to produce grain, but they may fail to grow beyond half the normal height, and then abortively and prematurely attempt to break out into flower. Yet soils of these types will produce excellent crops of legumes, and also fair yields of cassava and sweet potatoes. In many areas native practice has been adjusted to contend with this; as, for instance, in Kasulu District, near Lake Tanganyika, where virgin land, especially that which has been over, oxidized by exposure to sun and weakened by sheet erosion, is invariably laid down to Bambarra groundnuts, and sweet potatoes and cassava for at least two years before any attempt is made to plant a crop of maize.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 2, p. 145-148