Investigating the Properties of the Vertisols at Kenana III and IV Towards Enhancing Management Practices (Sennar State - Sudan)

  • El Abbas Doka M. Ali College of Agricultural Studies Sudan University of Science and Technology Khartoum Sudan
  • John Aitken International Consultant, Soil Survey and Land Evaluation,
  • Neil R. Munro International Consultant, Soil Survey and Land Evaluation,
Keywords: Vertisols, Kenana Area, Irrigated Agriculture, Soil survey, Landsat, Clay plain


A series of studies were initiated in Sudan in the early 1950s for utilization of the Nile Waters [19]. On the basis of these studies the Rosaries Dam was built on the Blue Nile. By the end of 2008 a programme to start the heightening of the dam was started with outlets for canals on both banks. At the same time further agricultural development on two irrigation projects, the Kenana and Rahad II commenced with soil surveys and irrigation design. The Kenana Area lies between the Blue Nile and the White Nile and runs south east to North West from Disa to Managil. Kenana Area is almost flat with predominantly clayey soils [21], [17]. Kenana III lies midway between the Blue Nile and the White Nile south of Sennar-Kosti railway line. Kenana IV area finally lies to the north west of Kenana III area.


The soil study area is partly semi-arid and partly arid, and experiences slight rainfall in the order of 350 mm in its northern edge, increasing to some 650 mm at its southern boundary near Jebel Dali. The soil surveys carried in the area were made at semi-detailed level and the key specifications are a field density of 1 observation each 100 ha and map scales of 1:50,000 and 1:100,000. Previously published soil survey information was reviewed and incorporated in these surveys.  In these surveys a number of potential agricultural options in terms of adapted cropping patterns, systems of management and two methods of surface and pressure irrigation were considered for development [6]. The most dominant soils are the Vertisols which have high potential for crop production, but some constraints emerge affecting crop performance and decreasing yields. Those limitations are aspects of land degradation, manifested in deterioration of physical and chemical properties. Continuous cropping of Vertisols, through time, leads to compaction and eventually develops hardpan at the subsurface, reducing porosity, intensity of cracking and obliterating water movement. Such adverse effects are indicators of degraded soil physical properties. To minimize the concurrence of those hazards management procedures should adhere to land and crop management systems. Parallel to this approach, the fertility status is likely to decline due to intensive farming of some nutrient-depleting crops, but this nutrient deficiency is correctable through implementing a fertilizer programme. In the study area, some parameters are management-factors determining e.g. flat slope favouring uniform distribution of irrigation water through well designed irrigation and drainage network, and sub-soiling preparing proper seedbed. Those technical inputs if properly used and practiced they are expected to sustain crop production.


Keywords: Vertisols, Kenana Area, Irrigated Agriculture; Soil survey; Landsat, Clay plain

Author Biography

El Abbas Doka M. Ali, College of Agricultural Studies Sudan University of Science and Technology Khartoum Sudan

Soil and Water Sciences Department

Associate Professor


(1) Brady N. C. 1974. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 8th edition. Macmillan publishing Co. Inc. New York.

(2) Buursink J. 1971. Soils of Central Sudan. Grafisch Bedrijf Schotanus & Jens. Utrecht N.V.

(3) Charles, S. Wortmann and Paul, J. Jasa. 2003. Management to Minimize and Reduce Soil Compaction. G896. NebGuide, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Extension educational programs. Nebraska–Lincoln

(4) Coyne Et. B., Hunting Technical Services Ltd, Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, Sir M. MacDonald & Partners. 1977. Blue Nile Waters Study, Phase IA Availability and Use of Blue Nile Water. Volume 2, Annex I Soils and Land Classification.. Ministry of Irrigation and Hydro-electricity Energy, Khartoum.

(5) Dawoud H. A. 1971 Characterization of two soils from Kenana area of the central clay plain of Sudan M.Sc.Thesis, submitted to University of Aberdeen, U.K

(6) DIU. 2009. Semi Detailed Soil Survey of Kenana III & Kenana IV Areas. Volume 1: Main Report (Final Report). Dams Implementation Unit, Khartoum. Sudan

(7) FAO. 1995. Integrated Plant Nutrition Systems. FAO Fertilizers and Plant Nutrition Bulletin – No.12

(8) FAO. 2014. World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) - CD-ROM. Prepared by Berding F. R. (et al). FAO, Rome.

(9) FAO, 2006. Guidelines for Soil Description. 4th edition. Rome.

(10) GRAS & Robertson, 1995. Accompaning Geological Notes to the 1:1,000,000 scale Geological Atlas of the Republic of Sudan. Bulletin 40, Geological Research Authority of the Sudan (GRAS), Khartoum.

(11) Grossman, RB., WD. Nettleton and BR. Brasher. 1985. Application of pedology to plant response prediction For tropical Vertisols Proceeding of the Fifth international Soil classification workshop. Soil study Administration, Khartoum. Sudan

(12) Ishag H.M. and Said M.B 1985. Groundnut Production irrigated Vertisols of Gezira, Achievements and Problems. In: proceedings of The Fifth international soil Classification workshop. Soil Study Administration, Khartoum. Sudan.

(13) Lal. R. 1995. Tillage Systems in the Tropics. Management Options and Sustainability Implications, FAO. Soil Bulletin-75. Rome, FAO.

(14) Lal R. 1985. A soil suitability guide for different tillage systems in the tropics, Soil and Tillage Research 5: 179-196.

(15) Landon, R. (editor). 1991. Booker Tropical Soil Manual - A handbook for soil study and agricultural land evaluation in the tropics and subtropics Paperback Edition, Longman Scientific Technical Co-published in USA with John Wiley & Sons. Inc. New York

(16) Murthy, A. S. A. (editor). 1985. Soil fertility management in relation to agricultural Productivity in the Vertisols of India. In: proceeding of the Fifth international Soil classification workshop, Soil Study Administration, Khartoum. Sudan

Purnell, M.F., J. H. Verma and Omar Khodary. 1976. Soil Resource Regions of the Blue Nile, While Nile, Gezira and Khartoum province of the Sudan Soil Study Report No.80. Wad Medani: Soil Study Administration

How to Cite
M. Ali, E. A. D., Aitken, J., & Munro, N. R. (2017). Investigating the Properties of the Vertisols at Kenana III and IV Towards Enhancing Management Practices (Sennar State - Sudan). European Journal of Applied Sciences, 5(5), 40.