Sustainable Oil Palm Farming / Applying magnesium (Mg)

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Figure 22: This dolomite was applied in the circle, but should have been spread over the frond stack

Download: Module 4: Fertiliser Application

Goal

  • Provide oil palms with sufficient magnesium to produce optimum yields;
  • Limit the loss of magnesium to the environment.

Standard

Magnesium fertiliser is applied according to the 4R principle: right type, right amount, right place, right time.

Timing

  • Not during very wet periods because magnesium is sensitive to leaching.
  • If magnesium is applied, then urea should not be applied shortly after because this will increase leaching of nitrogen.

Frequency

1—2 doses per year, depending on the total quantity of magnesium fertiliser applied 1.

Labour time required

2—4 hours per hectare.

Equipment and materials

  • Bucket, bag or wheelbarrow
  • Kitchen scales
  • Black marker pen
  • Bowl of 1.5—2 L
  • Fertiliser

Dosage

See: Table 4; Table 5; Table 6; Table 7.

Who

Farmers and their families or hired labourers.

How

Apply magnesium fertiliser by following these steps:

Step 1. Before application, remove noxious weeds are and slash ground cover to 50 cm height.
Step 2. Weigh the amount to be applied in a bowl or cup, using kitchen scales.
Step 3. Mark the bowl / cup at the right amount using a black marker pen.
Step 4. Break up any clumps of fertiliser into small pieces before application.
Step 5. Dolomite is best applied as follows:
  • For palms younger than 7 years after planting, dolomite should be applied in a band around the weeded circle;
  • For palms older than 7 years after planting, dolomite should be broadcast over the frond stack and in the inter-row 1 (see Figure 22).

Kieserite is best applied as follows:

  • For palms younger than 7 years after planting, kieserite should applied evenly in the weeded circle;
  • For palms older than 7 years after planting, kieserite should be applied in a band around the weeded circle 1.

If palms are on the edge of a river, road or ditch, avoid applying fertilisers on the side of the palm closest to the edge.

Data recording

Every fertiliser application should be recorded in a logbook as shown in the example below.

Date Time Location Activity Input type Input amount Input costs Labour input Labour costs
People Hours
16/01/13 Field 3 Fertiliser: Mg Dolomite 300 kg 300000 1 4 40000

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 K.J. Goh, R. Hardter, General Oil Palm Nutrition, (2003).

Acknowledgements

The material from Applying magnesium (Mg) is sourced from Smallholder Oil Palm Handbook and put together by Lotte Suzanne Woittiez (Wageningen Universit) and Haryono Sadikin, Sri Turhina, Hidayat Dani, Tri Purba Dukan, and Hans Smit (SNV) in August 2016. See Module 4: Fertiliser Application for more information.

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