Indonesia and Malaysia

Boosting Oil Palm Health

These island nations are major producers of important tropical agricultural products, including palm oil, natural rubber, cocoa, coffee, tea, rice, and spices. The crude palm oil industry in particular is vital to the region’s economy. Seventeen million tonnes of the commodity is used annually in the production of food, industrial, biofuel, and cosmetic products. Malaysia is the world’s largest supplier of palm oil, meeting three quarters of the world’s demand, followed by Indonesia, which supplies one quarter.  
 
As demand continues to rise, growers need to explore new methods to increase production by optimizing their available acreage. A typical oil palm does not begin to produce fruit until three or four years after it has been planted, so farmers must focus on optimizing yields from their mature trees. Careful micronutrient management is the most effective way to ensure each tree produces the most fruit.

Featured Regional Crops

Rubber
Boron deficiency in rubber trees would be expected only in soils of extremely low boron status as the rubber tree is efficient in absorbing boron.
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Oil palm
Oil palm removes significant amounts of boron from the soil each year. And, boron is the most often deficient micronutrient in oil palm cultivation.
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Cocoa
One of the first signs of boron deficiency in cocoa is profuse chupon formation and the appearance of a few curled leaves which will be almost normal green in color. 
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Improve Soil Conditions with Boron Supplementation

Oil palms require a relatively high amount of boron to stimulate growth and oil production. Because the soil in which they are typically grown is often boron deficient and the plants themselves remove a considerable amount of boron from the soil each year, boron deficiency is a common problem. In both Indonesia and Malaysia, sandy soils and high rainfall can also result in the leaching of boron, creating less than optimal growing conditions.
 
Palm tree plantations may also rely heavily on chemical fertilizers to boost ripening time for oil palm fruits, but this practice can further reduce soil quality. This is why growers need to consistently replenish their crops with enough boron to nurture healthy, high-producing trees.

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