Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq); Palmae

Dura, Tenera, Pisifera.
 Tenera is the ruling hybrid and it is a cross between thick-shelled Dura and shell less Pisifera.
 Tenera has a thin shell, medium to high mesocarp content and high oil content

Temperature is 210 C to 320 C with bright sunlight for at least 5 hours per day, annual rainfall- 200 cm with relative humidity – 75 – 100 % and Altitude – 450 -900 m above MSL.
Moist deep, loamy soils, rich in humus with good water permeability are suitable. Soil pH: 4 – 6.

Fruits are separated from the bunch. Remove the exocarp and mesocarp with knife.
Dry the seeds on concrete or wooden floors under shade for 2 days and stored for 3-9 months. Seeds are soaked in water for 5 days (changing the water daily) and spread out to dry for 24 hours.
 Dried seeds are put in 250 guage thickness and 23 X 13 cm size polythene bags filled with top soil, sand and well decomposed cattle manure in equal proportions and
placed for germination. Germination (90-95 %) starts 10-12 days. Apply fertilizer
mixture containing 15:15:6 of NPK @ 8 g in 5 litres of water for 100 seedlings.

 Best season for planting is May – June i.e., during monsoon.
 12 -14 months old healthy seedlings with 1-1.3 m height and 13 functional leaves are recommended for planting.
 While planting, 143 plants per hectare should be maintained with a spacing of 9 m x 9 m x 9 m (triangular planting). Planting should be done in pit size of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm (length, breadth and depth). Immediately after planting, form basin and give copious irrigation

Mulching of oil palm basins is essential to conserve moisture as well as to control weeds. Empty bunches, male flowers, coconut husk, sugarcane trash can be used as mulch.

 Oil palm requires sufficient irrigation, as it has to grow with assured and adequate irrigation facility.
 For grown up yielding palms of 3 years age and above, a minimum of 150 to 200 litres of water per day is required. However, in older plantations during hot summer this quantity may be increased up to 300 litres. Basin method of irrigation is to be taken up when irrigation water is not a constraint.
 Drip or Micro sprinkler irrigation: If drip irrigation is installed, four drippers are to be placed for each palm. Each dripper discharges 8 litres of water per hour, 5 hour of irrigation per day is sufficient to discharge 160 lit/day.

 During first year, basins of 1-m radius, second year 2- m radius, and the third year 3-m radius are to be taken around the palm by removing the soil from inside so that the soil will not accumulate at the collar region.
 Basin area of oil palm represents its active root zone. Hence it must be kept clean and weed free to avoid competition for nutrients and water.

For five year old palm, apply 50 kg compost or FYM or green leaves.

N: P: K: Mg SO4 (g/palm/year)
1st year = 400:200:400:125
2nd year = 800:400:800:250
3rd year onwards = 1200:600:1200:500 (2 equal split doses on July- Aug & Dec – Jan)

 Severe pruning will adversely affect both growth and yield of palm, cause abortion of female flowers and also reduce the size of the leaves.
 It was suggested that the palms aged 4 – 7 years should retain 6-7 leaves per spiral(48-56 leaves), those aged 8 – 14 years 5-6 leaves per spiral (40- 49 leaves) and those above 15 years should have 4-5 leaves per spiral (32 – 40 leaves).

 Ablation is the removal of male and female flowers produced in the early stages of plantation. This enables the plant to gain adequate stem girth, vigour and develop adequate root system.
 Flowering starts from 14th to 18th month after planting. Start ablation immediately after the appearance of inflorescences on the palms. They can be removed easily by hand pulling or using the tool developed at DOPR. Ablation can be extended up to 2-1/2 to 3 years depending upon the plant growth and vigour. Ablation is done at monthly intervals by pulling out the young inflorescence.

 Take up regular weeding manually or with the use of only recommended herbicides.
 Use preferably contact herbicides. Glyphosate (750ml/ha/ year or 17.5 ml/basin) is recommended for effective weed control.
 Herbicide mixtures of Paraquat with Atrazine, Monuron and Diuron sprayed on ground, twice a year can control the weeds effectively.

 Oil palm is a wide spaced perennial crop with a long juvenile period of 3 years. Any remunerative crop can be grown, but the most suitable crops are vegetables, banana, flowers, tobacco, chillies, turmeric, ginger, pineapple etc.
 While growing intercrops in mature oil palm gardens of 8- 12 years age or palms attained a height of 3 metres, intercrops should be able to grow under partially shaded conditions and should not compete with oil palm for water, sunlight and nutrients (eg. cocoa, pepper, heliconia and ginger lilly).
 Do not cut the oil palm fronds. Do not tie oil palm fronds close to the stem for intercropping, which will reduce photosynthetic activity. Do not plough close to the palm base, which will cut the absorbing roots and thereby reduce intake of water and nutrients.
 Maximum number of green leaves should be retained on the palm.

Pueraria phaeseoloides, Calopogonium muconoides, Centrosema pubescens, Mimosa invisa, Mucana sp.

 Oil palm comes to flowering 14-18 months after planting. It produces both male and female flowers separately on the same palm. Male and female phases do occur naturally in consequent cycles in a palm.

 Oil palm is a highly cross-pollinated crop. Wind and insects assist pollination, but wind pollination is not adequate.
 Effective pollinating insects like Elaeidobius kamerunicus helps in good pollination and fruit set. Release of this weevil after 2-1/2 year of planting is advisable. If the plants are not having good girth and vigour, release the weevils after 3 years

Pests
Rhinoceros beetle
Trap the adults with fermented castor cake or pheromone bait. Use Bio agents like virus (Baculovirus oryctes) and Fungi (Metarrihizium anisopliae). Treat the compost pit with quinalphos @ 0.025 % to kill the young stages of pest.
Red palm weevil
Removal of damaged and rotten bunches and apply tar to the wounds and cuts on the stem portion to avoid egg laying. Trap the adult beetles using pheromone baits.

Bud rot
 The affected crown should be removed and drenched with carbendazim or thiram @ 0.1 %
Basal stem rot
 Removal and destruction of diseased palms
 Apply 5 kg of neem cake/ tree/year
 Root feeding with 10 g Aureofungin sol in 100 ml of water/tree/year

First harvest can be done 3.5 to 4 years after planting. Few ripe fruits are loose/fall off indicates the bunch is ready for harvest. In Young palms, Chisel harvesting is followed. If palms become taller (from 10th year onwards), then harvesting is done by hook. Harvesting rounds should be made as frequent as possible to avoid over ripening of bunches. Harvesting rounds of 10-12 days are generally practised. During rainy season harvesting rounds of 6-7 days are followed.

25 – 30 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches/ ha

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