07 SepOil Palm Nutrient and Fertilizer Requirement
Oil palm is an important economic crops is Malaysia, study and research has been carried out in order maximize crop productivity and palm oil yield. For oil palm plantation, over 80% of the production cost is contributing to purchase of oil palm fertilizer. Researcher had put a lot of effort to study the oil palm nutrient needs in order to assure an appropriate oil palm fertilizer is added in to ensure maximum productivity.
Oil palm is a crop that consume high nutrient through out it planting life span, hence to ensure sufficient nutrient for oil palm tree will achieve higher bunch yield and palm oil production.
The oil palm fertilizer is to fulfill 2 aspects of need of nutrient, namely micro-nutrient and macro-nutrient. There are several famous oil palm fertilizer management system, such as PORIM & INFER. In this article, we are not going to reveal the details about the system but will elaborate the basic efficiency about some key nutrient, such as NPK fertilizer. After all, oil palm nutrition should follow site-specific method which always referred to actual condition.
Oil Palm Nutrient : Micro-nutrient
Micro-nutrient could understand as organic fertilizer, compost and enzyme that helping in overall plant growth and metabolism. Those trace elements in compost fertilizer become the essential element involve in physiological process of oil palm tree growth.
A palm tree may not give the maximum productivity if compost fertilizer is neglected and only macro-nutrient is added.
Oil Palm Nutrient: Macro-nutrient
NPK fertilizer classified as macro-nutrient. There is other nutrient such as Mg, Ca, S (Sulfur), however we only discuss the efficiency of NPK fertilizer.
Nitrogen (N) is the main contribution in improving of leaf growth and also the adaptation of oil palm. The oil palm leaf will turn yellow-green or even pale with deficient of N nutrient. Ammonia fertilizer is added in the soil in order to improve the N nutrient for oil palm. A mature oil palm tree needs an intake of 0.25-1.75kg of N per palm tree per year.
Phosphorous (P) is the nutrient for increasing the frond weight, this also come with the increase the weight of proportion of oil palm bunch fruit. A deficient of P will lead to reduce of palm trunk diameter and also smaller of bunch size. To ensure an appropriate growth of palm bunch fruit, farmer is recommended to add 0.4-0.7kg of P per palm tree per year.
Potassium (K) is the important nutrient for oil palm tree. A palm tree with sufficient K will show strong resistance to decease and drought tolerance. Perhaps from the study show, a palm tree could adapt much wider living condition from 0.3 – 3kg of P per palm tree per year. Ash fertilizer is the best content of Potassium (K).
Suitable Oil Palm Nutrient & Fertilizer
Compost fertilizer is very best oil palm fertilizer especially for those oil palm tree planted at sand or red soil. The compost fertilizer will improve to retain water and create a good leaving environment for micro-organism.
Ash fertilizer may become a great solution for clay soil. Ash fertilizer is alkali base organic fertilizer, it helps to improve the soil pH.
NPK fertilizer or chemical fertilizers are the main contributor for macro nutrient.
After understanding the oil palm nutrient and fertilizer requirement, farmer should understand that compost fertilizer, ash fertilizer and chemical fertilizer are mandatory in order to growth a healthy oil palm tree. None of the fertilizer could be replace or substitute.