11 Oct 2016

“4R Plant Nutrition Manual” from an Oil Palm Agronomist’s Perspective

October 11, 2016. Penang, Malaysia – Penang-based independent oil palm agronomist, Chiu Sheng Bin recently reviewed and brought to the attention of planters, the 138-page “4R PLANT NUTRITION: A Manual for Improving the Management of Plant Nutrition” published by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI).

With 32 years of experience in the plantation industry in Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and Sabah, Chiu provided a well-rounded review and highlighted several aspects of the manual, stressing its’ usefulness in the industry.

“As an oil palm agronomist, I would often preach the benefits of fertilizer management to my clients in dollars and cents: namely, (that) applying 7 kg per palm per year could be equivalent to applying 9 kg per palm if only we increase the uptake efficiency from, for example, 70 percent to 90 percent (7 kg x 90% = 6.3 kg; 9 kg x 70% = 6.3 kg). Estates who either are unaware or disregard this principle suffer a great loss. The plantation, however, can only benefit from fertilizer management when it applies the four principles of 4R Plant Nutrition. It is therefore timely that IPNI has published this condensed manual.”

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept refers to applying the right source of nutrient, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.

Chiu found the spiral-bound book easy to follow – “major points in each chapter are revised by way of bullet-point questions (and answers are provided at the end of the book). Surely this is a book that helps its readers digest the salient points!”

He added that fertilizer recommendations should be based on grounded scientific principles and noted that the IPNI manual embodied this. The manual contains chapters on scientific principles behind each of the four Rs with supporting practices, and discusses adopting these practices on the farm, approaches for nutrient management planning, and measuring sustainability performance. Most of the chapters include modules outlining examples from around the world.

He remarked how IPNI had drawn on its international presence to provide case studies to support the 4R principles.

Chiu pointed out however, that the manual did not include a case study on oil palm and recommended using it in combination with a 2009 paper published by Goh and colleagues in the Applied Agricultural Resources (AAR) newsletter. (PDF enclosed *)

Recommending the manual, he stressed, “Planters, remember that useful information never goes to waste. Having explored and digested both the manual and the oil palm case study, you will be a planter that truly pursues excellence.”

The original version of this review appears in print on The Planter, Vol. 92, No. 1081 on page 259-260. We would like to thank The Incorporated Society of Planters for allowing us to share it with you here.

For more information on the 4R Plant Nutrition Manual, please visit this page.

*Goh, K.J., P.H.C. Ng and C.T. Lee. 2009. Fertilizer management and productivity of oil palm in Malaysia. AAR Newsletter Oct 2009: 2 -21.

– END –

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

More about: Press Releases