OIL PALM GUIDE OF FIELD MANAGEMENT & FERTILIZATION
Oct 13, 2016

OIL PALM

Mature oil palms are single-stemmed, and can grow well over 20 m (66 ft) tall. The leaves are pinnate, and reach between 3–5 m (10–16 ft) long. The flowers are produced in dense clusters; each individual flower is small, with three sepals and three petals.

Plant population: 128-148 trees /Ha.
Expected yield: 10-18 t/ha FFB (mature fresh fruit bunches).
First harvest at good development conditions is expected 32-38 months from planting.
Economic life of the plantation is 20-25 years.


The palm fruit is reddish, about the size of a large plum, and grows in large bunches. Each fruit is made up of an oily, fleshy outer layer (the pericarp), with a single seed (the palm kernel), also rich in oil.


Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.

Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. palm kernel oil contents  81% saturated fats.

Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats and is semi-solid at room temperature.

Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil.

Malaysia is the world's second largest producer of palm oil. 



Common nutrient deficiencies of oil palm

N deficiency is usually associated with waterlogging, heavy weed infestation and topsoil erosion. It will result in general paling and stiffening of the pinnae which lose their glossy lustre, reduce the number of effective fruit bunches, as well as the bunch size. P deficient leaves are shorter than well-nourished ones. Bunch size and trunk diameters are reduced. K deficiency is very common, and is the major yield constraint in sandy or peaty soils. The most frequent symptom is pale green spots appearing on the pinnae of older leaves. As deficiency intensifies these spots turn orange, or reddish-orange, and dessication sets in, starting from the tips and outer margins of the pinnae. In soils with low water holding capacity K deficiency can lead to a rapid premature dessication of fronds.

 

Fertilization 

Nitrogen - In case of high N fertilization, N should be split into several dressings. In areas with  an extended dry period, the last N application should be at least 3-4 months before the beginning of the dry season, because high N levels in the leaves result in increased water consumption.

Phosphorous - water-soluble sources are preferred  during the immature phase. 

Potassium - should be spread over the circle around young trees. For mature trees it is preferable to broadcast in the inter-row.


Suggested fertilizers

Seedling - SSP mixed with planting soil (5g/tree), when growing two leaves, fertilizing NPK10-25-10 with little Mg, Fe, Mn, S, 5g/tree every 15 to 20days on site-dressing with organic fertilizer till 3 to 4 months old; then select strong young tree and change plan bag with SSP mixed with planting soil (100g/tree), fertilizing NPK15-15-10+TE 50g/tree every 15 to 20days on site-dressing with organic fertilizer till 9 months transplant; transplanted and plantation, fertilizing NPK15-15-15+2S on March,  fertilizing NPK15-10-20+3Mgo  or NPK19-10-13+2mgo on July and September, fertilizing NPK13-5-26+3mgo  on December, with broadcast in the inter-row, using 250-350g per tree for 9 months to one year old young tree, using 400-550g per tree for one year old young tree, and using 650-850g per tree for two or more years old young tree.

Mature oil palm trees (6 years and over) - fertilizing NPK15-15-15+2S on March, this is the popular formular that used in Malaysia; fertilizing NPK15-10-20+3Mgo  or NPK19-10-13+2mgo on July and September to promote flower and ear development; fertilizing NPK13-5-26+3mgo on December to add K nutrients furthering; with trip furrow between the lines and using 1kg per tree.