Publications

Agrisoft Systems places a high value on close cooperation with research institutes and leading experts on oil palm agronomy. Below is a selection of publications which have been produced as part of this collaboration.

Use of a ‘glass-box’ computerized decision support tool (CDST) for the preparation of fertilizer recommendations in oil palm plantations

T. Fairhurst (Tropical Crop Consultants Limited), M. Kerstan and N. Memenga (both Agrisoft Systems)

Abstract

Fertilizer is the largest variable cost of production in oil palm cultivation. The preparation of fertilizer recommendations is a complex task that should make use of all agronomic data accumulated by a plantation company. The OMPTM agronomic database, now widely used in the oil palm industry, provides the means to store and analyze agronomic data for large-scale plantations. In this paper, we describe a computerized decision support tool (CDST) that provides agronomists with the means to interrogate all agronomic data (leaf and soil analysis, production, field conditions) stored in OMPTM using customized queries for the purpose of estimating nutrient requirements. The user can set up the CDST to determine the least costly source of mineral fertilizers and a fully-costed fertilizer program for each block within a plantation. The CDST provides transparency in terms of methodology, opportunities for peer review by company management and external consultants whilst securing the company’s agronomic intellectual property.

Download the full paper here.

Concept and Implementation of Best Management Practice for Maximum Economic Yield in Oil Palm Plantations

C. R. Donough, C. Witt (both Potash & Phosphate Institute), T. Fairhurst (CTP Holdings), W.Griffiths (PT Asiatic Persada) and A. Gfroerer-Kerstan (Agrisoft Systems)

Abstract

There are substantial opportunities to increase yield and profitability on existing land through the implementation of Best Management Practice (BMP) in oil palm estates. However, plantations are challenged with the identification and implementation of suitable BMPs that would promise greatest financial return with existing human and capital resources. This paper summarizes results from several years of development and field testing of a generic BMP concept that has been introduced at larger scale in several estates in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Major emphasis is given to portraying the process from the evaluation of most promising BMP practices in representative blocks to the introduction of practices at commercial scale. The evidence-based BMP concept is now promoted through a new set of collaborative projects in Southeast Asia providing assistance in training, agronomic and economic data analysis, and planning for wider scale implementation of BMP at a commercial scale. The BMP concept is part of a larger framework for the ecological and sustainable intensification of oil palm production with integrated solutions for the management of agronomic information.

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A Conceptual Framework for Precision Agriculture in Oil Palm Plantations

T. Fairhurst (Potash & Phosphate Institute), I. Rankine, A. Gfroerer-Kerstan (both Agrisoft Systems), V. McAleer, C. Taylor and W. Griffiths (all Pacific Rim Palm Oil Ltd.)

Summary

In this paper an overriding framework for precision agriculture in oil palm plantations is discussed. Particular focus is placed on how modern computer and GIS technology can be used to support implementation of precision agriculture.

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Identification and elimination of yield gaps in oil
palm using OMP7 and GIS

W. Griffiths, T. Fairhurst, I. Rankine, A. Gfroerer-Kerstan and C. Taylor

Abstract

The increasing competitiveness of other vegetable oil crops, declining commodity prices, scarcity and cost of labor, and reduced availability of land for further expansion are some of
the reasons driving a requirement for increased productivity in oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia (Foong and Lee, 2000; Fry, 2000; Goh, 2000; Gurmit Singh, 1999; Kuruvilla, 2000; Paramananthan, 2000; Stringfellow, 2000; Teo, 2001). At the same time it is clear that yields lag behind the potential in many oil palm plantations. Furthermore, more stringent controls on environmental impact are a consequence of the market’s demand for certified sources of ‘clean’ crude palm oil produced in sustainable production systems (Kuruvilla et al., 2002). In all oil palm plantations, it is essential to identify the potential yield for each soil type and planting material, establish realistic yield targets, by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on representative soil types, and then identify and eliminate yield gaps by site specific field management. We are presently implementing a program of BMPs in selected blocks in the Pacific Rim Plantations Group (PACRIM) so that the potential yield, limited only by soil type, planting material and climate, is fully expressed. We use OMP7, a computer database system, to store and analyze all historical information on yield, nutrient use, leaf and soil analysis, tree stand and selected environmental parameters for each block. Agronomic information is portrayed in block history reports, using OMP7, and maps, using GIS software with OMP7 as the data source.
Blocks that have performed poorly are identified by calculating the gap between site-specific potential yield and actual yield. Lists and maps that include information on agronomic constraints for each poorly performing block are produced from OMP7 to provide a quantitative basis for field inspections. An action plan is then drawn up including a program of activities that will eliminate those agronomic constraints amenable to management control.
This approach constitutes a change from the use of routine field upkeep programs to site specific management of the factors that constrain yield on a block-by-block basis. We are presently implementing this approach as part of the PACRIM group’s strategy to achieve yields in excess of 8 t/ha palm products.

Download the full paper here.