Location of Station
The Station is located about 12km due West of Chipata Township, in between the Great East Road and the Msoro Road. Its approximate co-ordinates are Latitude 13o 39o and Longitude 32o 34oE and covers an area of about 406 ha at an altitude of 1016 metres. The Msekera Stream made perennial by an earth dam flows through the station 1.
The site at Msekera was opened in the early 1930s as an extension base for the Province and was transferred to Research Branch on 1st July, 1962. It is from that time when most buildings which stand here started to be built.
The station carries out Research in the following three disciplines:
a). Basic Crop Nutrition
b). New crop and variety improvement
c). Improved crop husbandry techniques with a view to making crop recommendations for Eastern Province.
Besides this, there are three other branches of Research based at the station. These are the Soil Survey Unit which is responsible for all reconnaissance; semi detailed and detailed soil surveys in the Province, the Food Conservation and Storage Unit, which is charged with the responsibility of teaching and advising on improved methods of Food Storage in the Province
At Msekera, rainy season extends from November to April, the rainfall averaging to 1092 mm followed by dry cool season from may to August and a hot spell with low humidity and high sunshine hours in September and October. The climate is thus Tropical Continental.
Four main soil types have been identified:-
a). Msekera Clay (36 ha) is a deep well drained red clay soil. It occurs on the more elevated parts with slopes ranging from 0-3%.
A Stone line of mainly quartz, about 10-15cm thick may be found at a depth ranging from 10-100cm. pH is slightly to medium.
b). Msekera sandy soil (163) ha). Is similar to (a) above, but differs in having sandy clay top soil an in slope. Slopes range from 3-5%. They occur on intermediate position between the elevated parts and the dambo soils. Few gravels are found on the surface and some Fe-Mn coated gravels below 80cm.
The slopes on those soils have necessitated the construction contours to prevent soil erosion. It is here where they preserve major research work is being carried out.
c). Msekera sandy clay, sloping (11 ha)
also similar to (a) but differs in texture of the surface soil and the texture of the top soil is sandy clay. Slopes range from 5-8%, posing a severe risk of erosion. This soil is at present under natural vegetation.
d). Msekera sandy clay loam (53 ha)
Similar to (a) but the texture of the top soil is sandy clay loam, though in some places it may be sandy loam in the upper parts. Slopes are from 3-5%. The soil is easier to work because of light top soil texture.
The total arable land is about 268 ha while the non arable is about 138 ha on the station.
MASUMBA RESEARCH SUB-STATION
This station is located some 100km North West of Chipata. It is bounded by the New Masumba Airport road on the West, the Masumba Mnkhanya road on the South and the Chipata - Kakumbi road on the North.
It is approximate co-ordinates are Latitude 13o 16oS and Longitude 37o 58 an altitude of about 550 m and on an area of about 250 ha.
Out of 250 ha only about 48 ha are most suitable for climatically adapted crops such as Sorghum, Millet, Groundnuts, selected vegetables, Citrus, Cotton etc. Most of the land is flood-hazard, may be suitable for rice.
Location of Station