01 Dec 2014

PALMSIM model shows great potential for oil palm industry in Malaysia and Indonesia

December 1, 2014. Penang, Malaysia – PALMSIM, a robust physiological oil palm model has been recently developed by the University of Gottingen, University of Wageningen and the International Plant Nutrition Institute’s Southeast Asia Program. Coupling a radiation module with a plant growth module, PALMSIM simulates the potential growth and yield of oil palm over a period of 30 years using a monthly time-step. Tested against field data from sites in the region, the model performed well, without extensive parameter inputs.(M.P. Hoffmann et al., 2014. Simulating potential growth and yield of oil palm with PALMSIM: Model description, evaluation and application. Agricultural Systems 131:1-10)

Malaysia and Indonesia currently account for 81 percent of total global palm oil production, with a combined 10 million hectares of land planted to oil palm. As the demand for vegetable oil grows, rapid oil palm expansions are no longer feasible due to environmental and socio-economic limitations. Oil palm producers need to embrace more sustainable options such as yield intensification in existing plantations or the establishment of new plantations on marginal, degraded lands.

Since radiation is one of the major yield determining factors across Borneo, Sumatra and the coastal areas of the Malaysian Peninsular, PALMSIM may be a valuable tool to explore potential yield on a larger scale for a range of sites. Using the model, a potential yield map was created for Malaysia and Indonesia, which included marginal, sometimes water-limited sites. This has far-reaching implications for the industry.

When combined with information on soil, rainfall and other maps of marginal sites, this potential yield map may have future applications as a decision-making tool to identify suitable sites for oil palm expansion in degraded areas in Malaysia and Indonesia.
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About IPNI
The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) is a not-for-profit, science-based organization dedicated to the responsible management of plant nutrition for the benefit of people. Through cooperation and partnerships with respected institutions around the world, IPNI adds its strength to agronomic research, education, demonstrations, training, and other endeavors. Best management practices for nutrient stewardship encourage the concept of 4Rs - applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. To learn more about IPNI, please visit: www.ipni.net

Dr. Thomas Oberthür, IPNI Director of Southeast Asia Program
Email: toberthur@ipni.net

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