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Persistence of mineral fertility carried over from the first crop cycle in two oil palm plantations in South America

Dubos B., Flori A.. 2014. Oil palm Bulletin (68) : p. 8-15.

In South America, factorial fertilisation trials were set up on oil palm estates managed by Palmeras de los Andes in Ecuador and Indupalma S.A. in Colombia to control fertilisation during the two oil palm crop cycles. These experiments were designed to determine the optimal leaf contents of N, P, K, Mg and Cl, in recent planting materials and to assess the impacts of the first crop cycle on the following cycle. In the two presented trials, nitrogen and chlorine treatments were found to have the greatest impact on production after 10 years of monitoring. The observed leaf N and Cl deficiencies resulted in a significant effect on the average bunch weight, but these differences did not lead to significant differences in yield. However, after 10 years of monitoring, it was found that the yield differences between the highest and the lowest nitrogen rates (N2-N0) and between the highest and the lowest chlorine rates (Cl2-Cl0), increased steadily until reaching a threshold at which some authors consider that supplementary fertilisation is required. In both experiments, soil mineral reserves had not been tapped during the first oil palm crop cycle, which had benefitted from mean rational fertiliser rates of 3 - 5 kg palm-1 yr-1. These reserves were sufficient to limit a yield decline in the non-fertilised treatments. We also noted that it took a long time for the differences in leaf mineral content and yields to become significant, thus confirming that these are long-term effects. Hence, in a suitably fertilised plantation, it is very unlikely that the effects of fertiliser applications during previous years could be reflected by inter-annual yield variations. However, there is no reason to consider that the depressive effect of poor climatic conditions, such as prolonged drought, could be overcome by increasing early fertilisation. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : rotation culturale; teneur en éléments minéraux; propriété physicochimique du sol; carence minérale; carence du sol; sécheresse; conditions météorologiques; rendement des cultures; engrais minéral; fertilisation; plantations; elaeis guineensis; fertilité du sol; colombie; Équateur

Thématique : Fertilisation; Fertilité du sol; Culture des plantes

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