25 Feb 2015

Plantation Intelligence Incorporating Estate Scale Experimentation

February 25, 2015. Penang, Malaysia – After decades of rapid growth, the oil palm industry in Southeast Asia is now at a crossroads. The industry can choose between business-as-usual with stagnant productivity and ambiguous return on investment (ROI), and making efforts to introduce more innovation, improve ROI and demonstrate that the full potential of oil palm has yet to be realised. Plantation IntelligenceTM (PI) is an adaptive learning process based on the analysis of a large database of crop performance to achieve better yield by learning how to deal with various factors affecting yield. Some of these factors cannot be controlled, such as climate and soil, while others can be manipulated, such as fertilization and harvesting protocols. This knowledge will help plantation managers make better day-to-day decisions to realise productivity gains.

Originally developed by IPNI, partner plantations and support provided by Canpotex, the goal of PI is to understand the response of oil palm to fertilizers, especially in the context of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. However, the scope for PI is not limited to fertilizer response alone. Now, IPNI is incorporating estate-scale experimentation into PI. All plantation managers face huge uncertainties that hinder good decision-making. For example, how many know the actual effects of a fertilizer, or the effectiveness of one type of fertilizer over another? Estate-scale experimentation can produce reliable block-by-block insights on inputs such as labor and fertilizer that go a long way in improving yield. The experiment is easy to implement: introduce a deliberate variation of inputs and measure the response. Because the scale is large, the results are almost always significant. Occurring at the same scale as routine management, the results are also real and measurable.

Estate-scale experimentation involves the entire production domain, accepts variations due to weather, site, soil, pest, disease and plant nutrition. This approach considers the operational unit itself a worthy object of analysis. Through PI, such analysis will become embedded within the decision-making and operational culture of a plantation, setting in motion a continuous improvement mindset. You can read more about Plantation IntelligenceTM Incorporating Estate Scale Experimentation and how to engage with IPNI here.
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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

Additional Resources

05 IPNI Newsflash - PI and ESE.pdfSize: 0.24 MB

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