Agroecological zoning for the cultivation of sugarcane in the Cauca river valley (fourth approach). Methodological principles and applications.

Technical Series Number 38, April 2011

Agroecological zoning is a multifunctional tool that scientifically contributes to the management of land development projects at the farm, local and regional scales. In the definition of the fourth approximation of agroecological zoning for the cultivation of sugar cane in the Cauca river valley, climatic zoning due to water balance is used as a source of geographic information (precipitation with probability of 75% and Kc = 0.7) and the detailed study of the soils, cartography at 1:10 000 scale, geo-referenced, with descriptive legends of the classification of the soils up to the textural family level according to the guidelines of the Taxonomic System of the United States Department of Agriculture ( 2003) adopted in Colombia by the Agustín Codazzi Geographical Institute. The zoning criteria take into account the soil and climate factors arranged in 33 Homogeneous Soil Groups (defined by the textural family, the humidity regime and the effective depth) and in six Humidity Groups (defined by the water balance, soil permeability, slope, signs of poor drainage and depth). By combining these two groups, areas characterized by long-term biophysical factors are identified, in which the productivity of the crop is expected to be homogeneous. The methodological principles of zoning, the reference sources for the description of the identified areas, and some site specific agriculture applications (AEPS®) in the Colombian sugar sector are presented. The results updated to December 2010 refer to 212,200 hectares located between 3 ° and 5 ° north latitude and between 76 ° 35 'and 75 ° 49' west longitude, where detailed soil studies are available and 156 agro-ecological zones are identified. for the cultivation of sugar cane.

Keywords: Agroecological zoning, site specific agriculture, sugar cane, water balance, soils, sugar sector, Colombia.

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