28 Nov 2011
LATIN AMERICA - Assessing Nutrient Demand of Oil Palm Hybrids in Colombia
ASSESSING NUTRIENT DEMAND OF OIL PALM HYBRIDS IN COLOMBIA
In tropical America, the traditional planting material has been the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Recently, however, the ‘OxG’ hybrid that results from crossing E. guineensis with E. oleifera (the American oil palm) has gained attention for it's ability to better cope with local prevalent diseases. Contrary to the African palm, the OxG hybrids present a variety of canopy forms and different bunch formation patterns. Also, because of their relatively recent appearance, very little agronomic information is available on ‘OxG’ hybrids.
In collaboration with CENIPALMA, the research branch of the Colombian Guild of Palm Growers, IPNI has initiated a long-term project to study the nutrient demand of at least two OxG hybrids in different environments. The study initiated in 2010 with simultaneous studies looking at young plants at the nursery for about a year. In short, two sets of plantlets growing in two locations of Colombia were given different rates of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) in one experiment, and different amounts of magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca) and Boron (B) in a parallel experiment. All these elements are essential for oil palm. Plant growth, nutrient absorption and leaf physiology were evaluated.
The results showed, not surprisingly, that nitrogen is the main driver of nutrient demand at the nursery, and that depending on the material, more P and B are required for optimal growth.
Following the nursery phase experiments, a second set of plants with similar nutrient management were transplanted at three sites in Colombia to study the effects different rates of N, P, K, Ca and B on plant growth and yield. These plants are growing normally and the first sets of measurements are currently underway.
For more information, contact Dr. Raúl Jaramillo, Director, IPNI Northern Latin America Program, P.O. Box 17-17-980, Gaspar de Villarroel E14-171, Quito, Ecuador. Phone: +593.2246.3175. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.