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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

NEW PLANTING OF COCONUT (PART 5)

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

The new coconut planting for Step 5 are the general maintenance of coconut plantation.  Coconut plantations are fairly bare of grasses and weeds during the high productivity years (years 8-18). However, during the immature and late years, when sunlight penetration is high, weeds will be more abundant. For blog writer, nonetheless it is a good practice not to kill off all the weeds and grass, but instead to manage and crop them down. This helps to hold the soil and retain moisture, house beneficial insects, and keep the palm in a good, healthy state. Thus, mowing down the grass and leafy weeds is the suggested option; for broadleaf shrubs, contact weedicides could be used. Chemical fertilizer should be applied to supplement inherent soil nutrients to provide a steady supply of balanced nutrient range required for the healthy growth of palms. The quantity and quality of the fertilizer applied, and their timing and placement, are important aspects to be considered to ensure proper realization of this input. For manuring process there has to follow the recomendation. The manuring regimes are with 2kg Urea, 2kg Muriate of potash (MOP) and 1kg Rock phosphate (RP). Do note that the rates above are for each palm, per year. You will need to split the amount according to how many round of fertilizer application is carried out in a year. It is recommended that at least 4 rounds be carried out, i.e. 500g urea + 500g MOP + 250g RP per application; but preferably, 8 rounds is ideal , i.e. 250g urea + 250g MOP + 125g RP per application. The activity during manuring must able to avoid spreading the fertilizer to broadly. It is important that the fertilizers are applied within the root zone area. One trick that many growers do is to spread some of the fertilizer over the frond heap stacked at the inter-palm area. As the frond heap traps a lot of moisture and organic nutrients, coconut roots tend to congregate beneath the heap. Thus, applying some fertilizer onto the heap would target the coconut roots there, thereby feeding the palms more efficiently. Fertilizer must spread-out frond heap between each palm. 

Another important note is that the fertilizer rates above is not fixed, and will vary according to soil type, productivity, foliar nutrient status, age, and yield targets. But of course, not all growers will have access to the necessary analytical equipment, so engage a government agriculture extension officer for further advice when necessary. Coconuts are normally self-pruning, meaning that dead fronds and bunch stalks will dry and fall on their accord. However, it is still a good practice to remove them off the palm where they don’t fall naturally, and stack them neatly on the inter-palm heap. There is great value in keeping this practice; as the dead fronds and bunch stalks break down, they actually release micronutrients back into the soil. This helps increase the soil nutrient content and biomass over time, which will further improve your coconut palm’s health. In addition, such frond heaps act as moisture traps, and help provide an alternate source of moisture to palm roots. As mentioned earlier, fertilizers may also be applied to this zone, as the coconut root mass tends to congregate here, thereby ensuring that your fertilizer is targeted to the roots of the palms. The article continue for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 6 respectively. Thank You!!.



By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018). 

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