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Cirad

Oil palm mineral nutrition management : Current situation and prospects

Caliman J.P., Dubos B., Tailliez B., Robin P., Bonneau X., De Barros I.. 2003. In : XIV International oil palm conference, 23 - 26 September 2003, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. s.l. : s.n., 33 p.. International Oil Palm Conference. 14, 2003-09-23/2003-09-26, Cartagena de Indias (Colombie).

Oil palm yield potential can be achieved only by a perfect management of its mineral nutrition. Oil palm is usually very responsive to fertilizer applications and consequently manuring represents the largest, single component of production cost. However a high selectivity is required based on the specific characteristics of each ecological situation, in order to ensure an optimum nutrient balance. The immature period, starting from planting time, is a key phase for the future performance of the palms. Fertilizer applications have a strong impact on the vegetative development of the palms, and subsequently on the precocity and yield levels in the first 2-3 years of harvesting. The use of high quality slow release fertilizers, applied at an appropriate rate and time results in some cases in a better efficiency compared to straight fertilizers. In some specific soils micro-nutrients are necessary, depending on their physico-chemical characteristics. On mature palms, nutrient requirement is estimated through an appropriate use of the yield and leaf nutrient content response curves to fertilizer applications, drawn up thanks to the results obtained in the fertilizer field trials. Moreover, economical parameters have also to be taken into account in order to maximize profitability. The type of fertilizer to be applied depends on the status of the palms and soil characteristics. Selectivity is also a key word in order to maximize efficiency of the applied nutrient. In both mature and immature situations, the rational use of factory by-products is an interesting friendly environmental solution for the residues and can also improve the sustainability of the system. (Résumé d'auteur)
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