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Optimum oil palm planting density in West Africa

Bonneau X., Impens R., Buabeng M.. 2018. OCL. Oilseeds and Fats, Crops and Lipids, 25 (2) : 10 p..

DOI: 10.1051/ocl/2017060

This article follows on from an earlier one about the same experiment in 2014. A range of various planting distances (from 7.5 to 9.5¿metres) between oil palms was tested using an equilateral triangle design. The current planting density experiment was set up in an oil palm plantation in Nigeria. The climatic conditions are quite stable, with two seasons and around 2000¿mm of annual rainfall. The soil is of the desaturated ferralitic type, sandy on the surface, deep and without coarse elements. After twelve years of continual monitoring and extrapolation of the results obtained up to the end of the cycle, we concluded on an optimum planting density of between 143 and 160 oil palms per hectare in a monospecific, equilateral triangle planting design (i.e. a distance of 8.5 to 9¿metres between palms). It will take another few years of yield recording to fine-tune the result. For 12-year-old palms, this density range corresponds to a Leaf Area Index of 3.5 to 4, a light interception percentage of 89 to 90 and a foliage overlap percentage of 51 to 68. A thinning treatment was included in the protocol. Thinning at eight years has not led to any advantage after four years.

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; espacement; plantation; nigéria; densité de plantation

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