Response of Oil Palm Roots to Mechanization in Bernam Series Soil

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  • Topic: Bulk density, Palm oil, Oil palm
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  • Published : November 5, 2010
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American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences 5 (1): 15-19, 2010 ISSN 1557-4989 © 2010 Science Publications

Soil Compaction and Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis) Yield in a Clay Textured Soil Zuraidah Yahya, 2Aminuddin Husin, 2Jamal Talib, 3Jamarei Othman, 4 Osumanu Haruna Ahmed and 5Mohamadu Boyie Jalloh 1 Biology Division, Malaysian Palm Oil Board, No. 6 Persiaran Institusi, BB Bangi, 43000 Kajang 2 Department of Land Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Malaysia 3 Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Malaysia 4 Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu Campus, Sarawak, 97008 Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia 5 Crop Production Programme, School of Sustainable Agriculture, University Malaysia Sabah, Locked Bag 2073, 88999 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Abstract: Problem statement: The impacts of soil compaction on crop yields have been studied extensively by soil scientists due to declining soil productivity associated with mechanisation. However, a relationship between machine-induced soil compaction and oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) yield is unclear. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the effects of mechanization on soil physical properties and the influence on oil palm yield. Approach: The palms were planted in Bernam series soil which is clay textured. Compaction treatments were imposed for 6 consecutive years. Comparisons were made between the effects of soil compaction caused by different trailer weights and monthly transportation frequency. Results: The results showed a beneficial effect of soil compaction on the oil palm yield. It significantly increased the yield with increased mean soil bulk density. The transportation frequency played a greater role than the trailer weight. After six years of soil compaction, there was a positive relationship between mean soil bulk density, porosity and oil palm yield. Conclusion: Thus compaction may not often be a problem. Key words: Soil compaction, oil palm, transportation frequency, trailer weight, soil physical properties INTRODUCTION The oil palm, Elaeis guineensis Jacq, is the most important industrial crop in Malaysia and remains as the ‘golden crop’ which contributes to the global oils and fats trade. It is not only supplying oil to the food industry but also to the oleochemical and biocomposites industries. Oil palm plantations have always been a labor intensive industry. The rapid development of the Malaysian economy has created competition for labor that has resulted in an acute labor shortage in the oil palm industry. Hence, the use of machines in the oil palm industry is more extensive to reduce the dependence on labor as well as to turn the industry into a more mechanized, high technology, well-managed and globally competitive industry. Various types of imported, locally fabricated or adoptive technology machinery and equipment have been introduced to the plantations either to assist workers or to increase productivity (Kamarudzaman and Mohd Hashim, 1998). It is now generally accepted that sustaining the industry will partly depend on mechanization which is now widely adopted in oil palm plantations. A major achievement in reducing labor to land ratio has resulted from mechanized in-field FFB collection, mechanical spreading of fertilizer and mist blower method of weeding. A study (Yusof and Ahmad, 1998) reported that adoption of mechanization by an oil palm plantation has shown a decrease of about 30% in labor requirement with a 30% increase in productivity. One of the main concerns regarding mechanization in oil palm plantations is soil compaction caused by repeated traffic on the harvesting paths by the machines which affects soil health. Compaction changes 1

Corresponding Author: Osumanu Haruna Ahmed, Department of Crop Science, Faculty of...
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