Featured articles on current and upcoming projects
OMP Field Survey and the OMP Survey app
Any agronomic analysis tool such as OMP relies fundamentally on the quality and trustworthiness of the basic data that is input into the database. In an oil palm plantation, some kinds of data can be collected relatively reliably and easily using various kinds of automated or semi-automated measurements. Typical examples would include weighbridges with automatic digitalization of production data, automatic weather stations, or more recently automated palm counts using LIDAR, drone or satellite imagery. However, many crucial kinds of field data, in particular relating to field upkeep standards, harvesting performance, nutrient deficiency scoring or pest and disease monitoring still require manual evaluation and scoring by trained survey personnel in the field.
The new OMP Field Survey add-in (OMP-FS) and associated survey app for Android tablets or smartphones is a powerful tool to help tackle the issues outlined above. As data can be recorded in electronic form directly in the field, the need for any transcribing of paper survey forms is eliminated. Standardization is enhanced because all survey parameters are defined in a unified manner in the OMP-FS add-in.
Preview: BMP Field Work Module
Besides ensuring that harvesting and fertilizer application is being carried out according to schedule, maintaining field upkeep standards is one of the most important tasks in the day-to-day work of plantation and field managers. Field work in this sense can encompass any number of different activities including for example manual or chemical weeding, pruning, drainage implementation or repairs, road repairs etc. While of course some particular tasks may only need to be carried out on demand or at irregular intervals, the majority of field upkeep tasks are typically carried out at regular intervals throughout the year. By setting up a good work plan at the beginning of the year, field managers will be able to ensure efficient distribution of labor and other material requirements, derive corresponding field work budgets and of course monitor and react whenever work is falling behind schedule. The aim of the new BMP Field Work module is to give plantation managers a powerful and flexible tool to generate field work schedules or budgets, record field work actuals and actual material and labor usage, and monitor and reconcile differences between the two. While the module will be implemented first in the context of BMP, we have designed it with the requirements of OMP in mind and are planning to transfer the module to OMP in the future.
The OMP Ten Year Crop Budget
Access to accurate predictions or budgets of future production is extremely important for oil palm plantation companies. Short-term forecasts based on black bunch counts help companies to plan sales and arrange CPO transport and mill maintenance. Yearly crop budgets form an important component of the overall financial budget and help companies to plan labor allocation and timing of fertilizer application or other field work. However, beyond this also longer term crop budgets are highly important, for example to plan replanting dates, strategic sales contracts or construction of new palm oil mills.
OMP fertilizer planner module
Generating effective fertilizer recommendations is arguably the single most important task for an oil palm agronomist. This is because fertilizers form one of the biggest cost factors in an oil palm plantation, and at the same time nutrient deficiency is often the most important yield-inhibiting factor that can be affected by plantation managers.
It is clear that rough “blanket” approaches to fertilizer application, where the same fertilizer doses are applied to large portions of the plantation, are neither agronomically nor economically effective. On the other hand, every agronomist knows that generating site-specific detailed fertilizer recommendations is typically a difficult and time-consuming task. In many cases it is very important to take into account site-specific knowledge and personal experience from previous years when creating fertilizer recommendations. At the same time it is obvious that at least conceptually a block’s fertilizer requirements should be calculable from measurable parameters including site specific details like soil type and topography, environmental parameters and limitations as well as measurements of plant and soil nutrients. Various scientific studies over the years have uncovered statistically significant correlations that can be used to derive fertilizer requirement indicators, and I believe this type of scientific approach to fertilizer recommendations will only become more important in the future.
Preview: OMP-AMIS 8.8.01
Despite the latest OMP-AMIS release lying just three months in the past, the Agrisoft programmers have been extremely busy and the next version of the program is nearing completion. As usual, the upcoming release will combine the addition of new program features with bug fixes and other small improvements. The present article outlines a selection of the most important changes you can look forward to in the new version, which will carry version number 8.8.01.