Fertilizer Management: Sources

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A wide range of fertilizer products is available on the market. The choice of fertilizer depends on the following factors:

  • Nutrients required.
  • Availability of fertilizers.
  • Physical and chemical properties (nutrient concentration, availability) of fertilizers.
  • Cost ($ kg-1 N, P, K, Mg, B, and Cu).
  • Soil characteristics (pH, clay content and type, texture).
  • Terrain (e.g. flat, sloping, hilly).
  • Palm age and condition.
  • Climate.
  • Availability of labor.

In general, the water soluble fertilizers are used for immature palms, correction of nutrient deficiencies, and aerial application. Water insoluble fertilizers (e.g. dolomite, rock phosphate) are used on acid soils to provide a sustained slow release of nutrients, to counter the acidifying effect of urea and SOA, and to build up soil fertility. The common fertilizers used in oil palm are listed by Goh and Härdter (2003) and a comprehensive account is given by Chew et al. (1994). Also, the common sources of fertilizers for each nutrient are described under Deficiency section.

Goh K.J., Rolf Härdter and Thomas F. (2003) Fertilizing for maximum return. In: Thomas Fairhurst and Rolf Hardter (eds). Oil palm: Management for large and sustainable yields. Potash & Phosphate Institute and International Potash Institute: 279-306

Note: The full list of references quoted in this article is available from the above paper.