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An innovative tapping system, the double cut alternative, to improve the yield of Hevea brasiliensis in Thai rubber plantations

Chantuma P., Lacote R., Leconte A., Gohet E.. 2011. Field Crops Research, 121 (3) : p. 416-422.

In Thailand, the continuous decrease in the size of rubber plantations has led to the general adoption of intensive tapping systems which may lead to over harvesting, high rates of tapping panel dryness (TPD), short life-cycles of the plantations, and low labour productivity. In Thailand, farmers use a half-spiral downward tapping system (S/2) or a one third-spiral (S/3) with a tapping frequency of once two days (d2) or more. To increase productivity, it is difficult to reduce tapping frequencies, even with ethylene stimulation, as this would result in days without work for tappers. The purpose of this study was to characterize the behaviour of the Hevea latex yield under the double cut alternative tapping system (DCA). The aim was ensure the long-term sustainability of latex yield by increasing the time required for latex regeneration between two tappings through splitting this high tapping intensity (100% or above) into two different tapping cuts tapped alternately (S/2 d47d7(t,t). Over a period of 10 years, compared to a single cut tapping system (S/2 d2) of equivalent intensity, DCA increased cumulative rubber production by 9%. Ability of the trees to produce more latex under DCA was related to the sucrose and inorganic phosphorus contents of the latex cells in each tapping panel. DCA produced metabolic activity more favourable to yield during the first 10 years of tapping. But DCA also resulted in higher TPD rates, a sign of a metabolic dysfunction of the productive bark. DCA is a new tapping system. Further research is required to optimize the use of the DCA strategy. Such research will lead to new advances in our knowledge of the physiology of the rubber tree, mainly at the trunk scale. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : rendement des cultures; récolte; plantations; hevea brasiliensis; thaïlande

Thématique : Culture des plantes; Physiologie végétale : croissance et développement

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