The following Best Management Practices (BMP) are expected to return greatest productivity increases across a wide range of planting conditions, climate, and soils:
Priority 1: Complete crop recovery through collection of all fruits and short harvesting rounds (access for harvesters, short harvesting intervals)
Priority 2: Optimal growth and fruit bunch production through quantitative canopy management (pruning, removal of unproductive palms)
Priority 3: Optimal root function and nutrient uptake of palms through adequate moisture availability (drainage, water conservation)
Priority 4: Improvement of soil organic matter and indigenous nutrient supply through legume cover plants, optimal nutrient use through complete utilization of crop residues (pruned fronds, empty fruit bunches, decanter cake), proper (wide) stacking of pruned fronds to reduce erosion and increase soil fertility in the largest area possible, optimal access and erosion control through contour paths, optimal fertilizer use efficiency through weed-free platforms around trees and correct fertilizer placement.
Under BMP conditions, attainable yield is only limited by climate, planting material, and site-specific natural resources such as soil texture, rooting depth, or water. A limited number of blocks with BMP strategically placed in a plantation will be used to
- determine site-specific attainable yield under optimal management conditions,
- estimate peak crop production for planning mill capacity requirements,
- demonstrate the effect of management practices on crop performance and soil improvement,
- develop improved Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) strategies for effective and efficient use of fertilizer nutrients,
- train staff on the implementation of new practices, and
- test new technologies.
Collaborating plantations will have access to technical support, training, and assistance in oil palm agronomy provided by a respected senior oil palm agronomist employed by the Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) of IPNI-IPI. AgriSoft Systems will provide the database OMP8, the most widely used agronomic management information system in the oil palm industry to store, analyze, and map all relevant agronomic field data. Opportunities exist to integrate crop and nutrient management with evidence-based pest management strategies. A monitoring system for pests and diseases is currently under development for integration into the OMP software by AgriSoft Systems. SEAP will provide collaborators with oil palm handbooks and guides, and funding for soil and plant analysis.