Research Results in Central Kalimantan: Through Smart Estate, Oil Palm Production Can Be High on Spodosol-Type Land

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Illustration of oil palm plantation on spodosol type land. Photo by: Special

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – Central Kalimantan Province, a significant center for palm oil plantations in Indonesia, shows potential for increased productivity. Research conducted by a team from the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) indicates that spodosol-type areas are conducive for developing palm oil plantations.

These specific areas cover approximately 2.16 million hectares throughout Indonesia, with 70% (about 1.51 million hectares) located in Central Kalimantan Province. Spodosols are characterized by unique traits such as high organic acidity, low organic material content, and hardpan layers that may restrict soil drainage.

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The research team, comprised of Suwardi, Prof. Lilik Soetiarso, Herry Wirianata, Andri Prima Nugroho Ph.D., Rudiati Evi Masithoh, and Joko Nugroho Wahyu Karyadi, conducted their study within palm oil plantations operated by the Wilmar Group in Sampit, Central Kalimantan Province, from January 2022 to December 2023.

Also Read: Utilizing Empty Fruit Bunches in Palm Oil Plantations

From the research result that Palmoilmagazine.com got on Monday (24/6/2024), the research was about to know the soil substance of spodosol type – areas based on vegetation condition, physical characteristic, soil chemical, land moisture, and water potential Hydrogen (pH).

It was also about to explore the engineering impact for plant and water management system to roots development, leave nutrient level, and palm oil production; develop technology model and application within smart estate to cultivate palm oil plantation.

The result of research showed that spodosol type areas could be identified by three methods: soil survey (drilling), biodiversity survey (vegetation level), and deep learning (taking shot from sky by using drone).

The facts showed that spodosol type – areas still have the economic potential to develop palm oil plantations by implementing engineering technic, such as, breaking hardpan, and mounding, and get water management system.

The result noted, engineering media plant and water management system would escalate physical and chemical characteristic of the soil, land moisture, and water pH. “The impacts, roots develop and palm oil production significantly got escalated with the productivity up to 2,88 tons per hectare per year, or escalates 21% to the control that only reached 0,33 ton per hectare per year,” the result of the research noted.

In 36 months after the treatment, the wet roots got escalated in weigh up to 47% (0,52 kg tree – 1 month – 1), dry weight up to 55% (0,20 kg tree – 1 month – 1), and root volume up to 46% (52 cm3 tree – 1 month – 1) to the control. The leave nutrient level in the control and treatment remain in the optimal level. This showed the treatment did not deliver the negative for leave nutrient level.

“Smart estate technology implementation in spodosol type – areas used plantation data (system application and product/SAP), climate data (Nusaklim web), and water data (Agrieye web) to support the decision in water treatment – base and root media well. This technology would escalate fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production up to 21%,” the research team noted.

The latest information about the research was the integration among technology, spodosol characteristic, and palm oil plantation in the smart estate application and model in water treatment and root media – base.

“The approach is hoped to be the solution for issue mitigation to cultivate sustainable palm oil plantation in spodosol type – areas and would escalate the additional velues from the social, economic, and environmental aspects,” the research result noted. (P2)

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