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The "double cut alternative" (DCA) tapping system: an innovative tapping system designed for Thai rubber smallholdings using high tapping frequency

Chantuma P., Lacote R., Leconte A., Gohet E.. 2011. In : IRRDB. IRRDB International Rubber Conference, 14-17 December 2011, Chaing Mai, Thailand. s.l. : s.n., 14 p.. IRRDB International Rubber Conference, 2011-12-14/2011-12-17, Chiang Mai (Thaïlande).

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 usually 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 rubber yield under the double cut alternative tapping system (DCA). The aim was to 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 d4 7d7 (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, particularly those related to study of multiple-cut systems, should lead to new advances in our knowledge of the physiology of the rubber tree, mainly at the trunk scale.

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

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