In this lesson, the farmer will understand the basic principles on how to cultivate in a sustainable manner. The lessons will cover palm oil seed nursery, immature planting, mature planting, kastrasi, harvesting, and replanting.
2.1 Palm oil nursery management
Palm oil seed nursery operations are divided into two stages, Pre-Nursery (PN) and Main Nursery (MN). In the PN stage, the farmer needs to prepare space for planting the seeds, the seedbed, and providing shade. In selecting the location, it must be a flat surface, near a waterway, and located near the main nursery. For seedbeds, a length of 10 meters, a width of 1.2 meters, and a height of 14 centimeters backfilled for its foundation to about 3 centimeters is recommended. Distance between each seedbed should be 0.5 to 0.6 meters. The seedbed should use bamboo or board material. Each seedbed can store 1200 polybags. The size of stored polybags (layflat) should have a width of 14 centimeters, a height of 22 centimeters, and a thickness of 0.1-0.12 millimeters. They should have approximately 20-24 holes on each polybag. The polybag is filled with topsoil and should be free of roots and pests. For textured soil, it should be mixed with about 10-30% of sand. In filling the polybag, start by filling it up by ½ of the volume, compact, and repeat again until a level of 1-2 cm from the top side of the polybag. Polybags should be stored in an upright position and support each other. Once or twice polybags should be sprayed with water before planting the sprouts (until saturated). As for the shed, it should be made out of bamboo or cheap wood materials and palm fronds. The recommended height of sheds is approximately 2-2.5 meters and will reduce the amount of direct sunlight falling on the seeds. In planting the sprouts, the radicle should be faced down and the planula faced straight up. The planting process should be undertaken by three persons, the first person drilling the polybag approximately 3 cm deep, the second person filling the holes with the sprouts, and the third person to check and gently press down on the sprout so it will be in a stable position and then cover the sprout with smooth surface soil about 1 cm from the surface.
For maintenance in the PN phase, seeds are watered twice a day (morning and noon), with a minimum of 8 mm until fully soaked. If the roots surface after being watered they need to be covered by soil. The seedbed must not be flooded. If it is flooded trenches need to be made to drain away excess water. As for weeding, every weed that grows on the inside and outside of the polybags must be gently removed so it will not affect the growth of the seed. Weeding is done twice a month. Seed that is perfectly leaved should be fertilized with 0.2% urea liquid and urea liquid mixed with NPK (2 gr Urea or NPK into 1 liter of water). The liquid mixture should be poured evenly over the seeds (1 liter of liquid = 100 seed). Poly embryo seed should be separated when the age is 2 months and placed in separate locations specially for poly embryo seed inside the seedbed. This seed can be moved to the MN phase after stored for one month.
In setting up the MN, it the same as the PN in that it should be located on a flat surface, near a waterway, with the direction of the seeds perpendicular with the main road, clean of weeds, and cleared of bushes which can harbour pests. As for watering the seeds, they generally require 2 liters per seed (1 liter in the morning and 1 liter in the afternoon).
Next lesson, immature planting, will cover information relating to preserving bean plantations for soil cover, plant maintenance, kastrasi, the usage of fertilizer, sprouting, pest management, and preparation for harvesting.
2.2 Soil management
Maintaining Leguminosa (legumes, peas or beans) as a cover crop is useful as a source of nutrient for soils, protects soil from erosion, improves the physical land condition, and helps with weed control. For immature plantations categorized in the first stage, weeds are cleared within 100 cm radius from the plantation disk, immature plantations categorized in second stage within 125 cm radius, and immature plantations categorized in third stage within 175 cm radius. As well as using manual cleaning processes, chemicals can be used rotating once every 3 months between glyphosate 300 cc/ha/rotation. Wiping thatch by using glyphosate (0.75-1% concentrate) can be rotated once a month. DAK can be rotated once every three months.
2.3 Integrated pest management
To control rhino beetles, a farmer can cover replanted oil palm trunks with Leguminosa (bean plantation), collecting the larva and the beetle manually, using insecticide on youngest midrib (5 gram for each plant) rotated every 3 weeks, and by using a ferotrap. As for controlling mice, farmers can use barn owls (Tyto alba) or use poisonous bait (klerat RMB).
Likewise for immature plantations, common pests found in mature plantations are caterpillars and mice. For caterpillars, farmers have to monitor his/her plantation by observing one palm oil tree every hectare every month. If there is an indication of caterpillar pests in the plantation, then the farmer observes more frequently by observing five trees every hectare (one midrib per tree) every two weeks. As for mice, farmers can use poisonous bait traps (klerat) or barn owls (Tyto alba).
2.4 Agrochemical use management
Fertilizing immature plantations is based on the type of soil and results from soil analysis (to know the nutrient content). Soil experts that conduct the analysis will share with the farmer the type of fertilizer and dosage to be used. For a simplified fertilizing method, farmers can use plantation company standards based on the age of the plantation. Common types of fertilizers include urea (Natrium), TSP (phosphate), RP (phosphate), MOP (Kalium), Kieserite (Magnesium), and HGF Borate (Boron). Common types of pests in immature plantations are rhino beetles (oryctes rhinoceros), mice, and caterpillars.
In controlling weeds around the plantation disk, a farmer can use a herbicide containing Glyphosate 480 AS mixed with Metsulfuron-methyl 20%. Besides plantation disks weeds that are commonly found in gawangan such as thatch can be controlled by using Glyphosate with a 1% concentrate. Soft weeds have to be cut down when as high as 30 cm from the ground every once in six months.
Common plant diseases in palm oil include crown disease, marasmius sp, and ganoderma boninense. Crown disease can be controlled by applying strict seed selection during the nursery phase, cutting all crooked midribs, and increasing the frequency of plant maintenance. As for Marasmius sp, it can be controlled by spraying fungisida (Difolatan 4F, Bayleton 250 EC), sanitizing rotten fruit and dried midribs, and regular harvesting once every seven days.
Kastrasi (literally castration) is defined as the process of discarding the male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts of the flower when the plantation starts to bloom (PPKS: 15-20 month; Socfindo: 13-20 month). By applying kastrasi, a farmer can reduce the possibility of his/her plantation getting infected by Marasmius spp. fungus.
Common plant diseases for mature plantations are rotting in base of palm oil trees (Ganoderma boninense) and palm oil fruit rotting (Marasmius palmavirus). For Ganoderma boninense, farmers can use biofungisida Marfu-P for lightly contaminated plants, besides that, the plant has to be exterminated. For Marasmius palmavirus disease, the farmer has to adjust the humidity in the palm oil tree by cutting midribs according to the standard, apply routine plant sanitation of dried midrib and rotting fruits, schedul harvests, and control palm oil moth (Tirathaba rufivena). When fertilizing, the farmer has to use the right dosage for his/her mature plantation. For reference, PTPN III use Dolomite (2.5-2.75 kg dosage per tree per year) and NPK (5.75-7.25 kg dosage per tree per year). For dolomite, the farmer spreads the fertilizer around the plant, whereas for NPK, the farmer makes a 4-6 pocket holes. Certain areas set aside for replanting within the next two years do not need to be fertilized.
For plantations categorized as mature plants (1-4), farmers selectively choose sprouts to be maintained in palm oil trees with 56-64 midribs, rotated twice a year. Periodic sprouting is conducted when a mature plantation is over four years. If it is below eight and above four years, a plantation is maintained in 56-64 midribs. Whereas above 8 years, the number of midribs is maintained at between 48-56, all done in a nine-month rotation. The midrib cutting process is done close to the base of a midrib and for flat wavy areal is cut in three sections. By cutting the midribs regularly, it will preserve the balance between plant physiology, sanitation, expedite pollination, ease harvesting, and avoid palm fruit stuck at the base of the midrib.
2.5 Harvesting management
Harvest season happens when the age of plantation is 30 months. Areas can be considered ready for harvest when 60% of average FFBs weigh 3 kg for mature palm oil trees. Before harvesting, a farmer has to prepare a road for hauling the FFBs at intervals of two plant rows and one meter in width. For every 5 roads there will be a FFB collection point.
When plantations reach a mature condition, farmers have to change the way they maintain their plantation. Farmers need to expand their plantation disks to be 4.8 meters in diameter and prepare haul roads for FFB with a width of 1 meter.
Plantations are ready to be harvested when they reach 30 months of age, and the palm oil tree has produced 60% FFBs with an average weight of 3 kg. When ready, the farmer has to prepare a haul road for FFBs and collection points. For mature plants with age below and equal to eight years, a farmer can use dodos to harvest the fruits. If plants are above eight years, then the farmers use egrek.
In harvesting the palm oil, there is a harvest rotation that the farmer has to follow. Commonly, between January and June, harvest is done five days a week (Monday until Friday) or so called 5/7. Between July until December, harvest is done six days a week (Monday until Saturday) or so called 6/7. Farmers also need to understand the harvest density as it defines the number of trees which FFBs are ready to be harvested from in a certain area. A Harvest Density Value (HDV) of five means from five trees one tree with FFBs are ready to be harvested. HDV is useful for forecasting the following day’s production, number of workers for harvesting, conveyance, and the FFB processing plan.
There are two types of harvest shelf, fixed shelf and sleigh shelf. The advantage of a fixed shelf is it has a controllable area and cleaner. Whereas the disadvantage is the FFBs are slow to reach to the nearest collection point. As for a sleigh shelf, FFBs reach the collection point faster than fixed shelf, but are less controllable and less clean than a fixed shelf.
When cutting the FFBs, the farmer has to search and determine which FFB is ripe, cut the midrib that interrupts the FFB located near the base, and afterwards cut the FFB. For plantations aged 3-5 years, FFB is cut by using dodos (blade 8 and 14 cm). As for plantations aged above 5 years, the farmer can cut the midrib by using an egrek and then stake it at gawangan.
After FFBs are collected at the collection points, a truck will pick up all FFBs to RAM or directly to mill. To prevent any falling FFBs, a net will cover the top side of the truck. FFBs are not allowed to stay overnight on the field as it has to be processed right away after harvesting to maintain quality.
2.6 Replanting management
Steps in doing replanting are processing the land mechanically through use of a ripper, Luku I, Luku II, and stake for FFB hauling road, toppling staple and chipping, stapling planted points, planting Mucuna brachteata, hole digging, fertilizing the hole, spreading Bio fungicide, and planting the seed.
When using rippers, the direction must be aligned with the plantation row (North-South) and close to the palm tree. Collapsed trees are stacked and aligned with plantation rows. Tractor D-6/D-8 with a minimum depth of 45 cm. When being ripped the farmer starts a Mucuna nursery, so that when Luku II is finished, it has reached 2 months of age. Farmers start to do Luku I after ripping is done with intervals of 14 days. The direction is diagonal with plant row (Southeast-Northwest). Disc ploughs of ∅ 60 inches are pulled by four-wheel tractors with a minimum depth of 30 cm. After 14 days of intervals, farmers start to do Luku II. The direction is diagonal with plant row and cut through Luku I direction (Southwest-Northeast). A disc plough of ∅ 60 inch is pulled by four-wheel tractors with a minimum depth of 30 cm.
When collapsing a staple plant, a farmer makes a hole from ex bole tissue 1.5 m x 1.5 m x 1.5 m. The thickness of the shredder is 10 cm in the form of a disc. The previous location of collapsed plant is friable using bucket excavators.
Stake for FFB hauling road is set to have a minimum height of 2 meters. The direction is from North-South. The head of stake is set with a plant distance of 7.692 meter. Stake for planting point is set 30 cm of height for hole digger with manual hole of 1 meter. The row direction is North-South. Planting pattern is 143 plant/hectare with planting distances of 9.090 x 7.692 meter. Plant rows are located in ex pasar pikul. Determine a peg (100×100) as the center point, determine head of stake (East-West) based on the planting distance (7.692 meter). First acreage is done, then continue to other acreage by straightening head of stake row. Do pancang isi (North-South) with a 9.090-meter distance.
Farmers excavate approximately 2 weeks before planting the seed by using excavators pulled by a tractor. The hole size is 70 cm, with a depth of 60 cm. Farmers will fertilize the hole approximately two weeks before planting the seed. Fertilizer is spread to 1/3 part of upper surface of the soil, 1/3 part of lower surface of the soil, 1/3 part of the wall of the hole. After that, farmers spread bio fungicide (400gr/lbg).
In planting Mucuna, the number of mucuna bracteata planted is 715 ST/Ha. Seeds must be two months of age in the nursery before being planted in the field. In one gawangan, farmers plant four rows of of four seeds. (1 row for each plant row, 2 row in gawangan). The number of bean plantations in a mechanical area is 5 ST between the point of planting. Bean plantation distance in terraces is 1.7 meter.
Before planting the seed, the farmer has to determine the number of cross seed per block, list the number of seeds per row /rij, and place them in two rows for ease of monitoring. When planting the seed, the farmer checks the depth of the hole with the height of the seed polybag. Cut out the lower side of polybag. Place the polybag into the hole, cut the body of polybag, cover with soil and condense firmly to 1/3 the depth of the hole, then cover again until the neck side of the polybag, place the polybag plastic in the end of stake, and create a monitor card for each block.
For land development using chemicals, a farmer collapses the base of palm oil trees with an excavator, then creates a space based on land contours with a width of 4 meters and a slope of 10’-15’ in depth. The distance between terraces (8.33 meters) with plants inside the area is 9.09 meters and a density pattern of 132 plants. In eradicating weeds I, farmers spray the weeds by using systemic glyphosate. As for weed II, it is done approximately 21 days after weed I.
To support the development of a good plantation, the farmer also has to develop the infrastructure surrounding the plantation. Such as trench disposal, waterways, collector, and field drains. The general measurement of an outlet (trench disposal, as water reservoir from collector): (3,0-5,0) x (2,0-2,5) meter. Collector (trench disposal from field drain): (2-2.5) x 0.5 x (1.25-1.75) meter. Field drain (trench disposal from area and drain it to the collector): 1 x 0.3 x 1 meter. Terrace: slope > 28 degree – 45 degrees, horizontal direction follows the contour, 4 meters’ width inwards with height difference 15-30 cm. Hoof (individual terrace) made in areal with slope > 3 degree – 28-degree hoof is tilt inward with 5-15 cm height. Manual hole: two days before planting seed, 60x60x50 cm size.