2016 in INDONESIA: High Fertilizer Input 4R Trials for Mature Oil Palm

Project code: IDN-30

To demonstrate the feasibility of analytical approaches of Plantation Intelligence (PI) and use them to establish large-scale fertilizer rate-response trial(s) within commercial oil palm operations to identify impact on yield of fresh fruit bunches of high rate and high frequency of fertilizer application.

Implementation is between 2017-2022 in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Treatment overview:
Using PI analyses tools, areas were identified that are likely to respond to higher rates of fertilizer inputs. Suitable blocks were selected within these areas. In each selected block, a nutrient gradient will be applied that starts from an unfertilized central section with progressive increase in fertilizer rate, in steps of 50%, towards both the eastern and western ends of the block. With this design, each block consists of two replications. 10 blocks will be used, so there will be a total of 20 replications of each treatment. Ten day interval harvesting will be implemented, and soil and plant tissue samples collected as prescribed by the standard operating procedures of the plantation. Statistical analyses routines will be deployed to understand the treatment effect. A novel concept of zero fertilizer control rows for commercial plantation operations will be piloted.

Results to date:
10 blocks were selected for the trial. Plotting and marking of treatment sections in each selected block, and preparation for pre-treatment FFB yield recording was done. The zero row method was conceptualized and is being prepared in the trial. Senior management of the plantation partners is engaged in a learning dialogue.

Fertilizer is a major cost in commercial oil palm operations, but current fertilizer decisions do not fully incorporate actual commercial experience & information. The Plantation Intelligence approach permits this by using the wealth of commercial data to supplement data from conventional fertilizer experiments. Subsequent validation of PI findings at large or estate scale is expected to lead to more effective fertilizer decision-making for commercial operations.

More about: Southeast Asia Projects