24 Nov 2016

IPNI’s International Publication Partnership on Oil Palm Nutrition

November 24, 2016. Penang, Malaysia – Our knowledge of the importance of nutrients for sustainable oil palm production is incomplete. Extensive experimental work has been dedicated to the understanding of yield response to applied nutrients, but very few of these studies report on nutrient uptake and nutrient use efficiency. Specific research on nutrient uptake and use efficiency has been limited to a few studies in the 1960s in Nigeria and Malaysia, and more recently in the 2000s in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Unfortunately”, as Dr. Oberthür, director of IPNI’s Southeast Asia Program (SEAP), explains, “such incomplete knowledge restricts the applicability of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept in oil palm.” The 4R concept was developed by IPNI and its partners to enable responsible fertilizer use and management for crop nutrition.

Oil palms recover a fraction of the nutrients applied, yet little effort is made to measure the efficiency of fertilizers used in commercial operations. This is critical as rapid expansion of the oil palm industry in the last two decades has brought cultivation to new areas, with local conditions that may differ from those in previously studied areas. In these new geographies, basic information on nutrient uptake is unavailable, and models for fertilizer recommendations may need re-validation.

Acknowledging this issue, IPNI SEAP implemented several research projects on 4R Nutrient Stewardship in commercial oil palm plantations between 2006 and 2016. These projects generated a significant amount of valuable information for improved nutrient management. IPNI and K+S KALI GmbH, an IPNI member company, pooled resources and now, partner with the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition and the Institute for Crop Production Systems in the Tropics, both of Göttingen’s Georg August University in Germany, to analyze, publish and share the data acquired in these projects.

Dr. Hsiao Hang Tao, University of Oxford Ph.D. graduate, leads this two-year publication partnership in close collaboration with Professors Dittert and Rötter of Georg August University, Dr. Thiel of K+S KALI GmbH, Mr. Christopher R. Donough, IPNI’s Senior Oil Palm Advisor, and IPNI’s Southeast Asia program oil palm partner plantations. All partners envision the collaboration making a major contribution to the environmental and economic sustainability of the global oil palm industry.
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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, visit: www.ipni.net

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

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