Fertilizer

Precision Agriculture in Preventing Fertilizer Wastage

As the need for food increases day by day, more and more land is cleared to plant food sources such as grains, paddy and wheat. Small scale farmers try to do their best to produce some food for income while large companies tend to clear acres of land at a time to plant the amount of food needed to feed the mouths of so many people.

A lot of time, money and energy is invested in developing a piece of land for agricultural purpose. However, some parts of the land may not be as productive or fertile as it is expected to be during the planning. For example, if a farmer clears and plants fifty rows of grains, one of the rows might just be on an infertile piece of land. However, he will keep fertilizing the row, hoping that the crops produce will increase.

Given the example, precision agriculture techniques can help reduce the risk of fertilizer and capital wastage alongside reducing the effect of fertilizer runoff into the neighbouring lakes and other water sources. Precision agriculture is a technology which utilizes satellites to determine the areas of land which have been barren for years.

3D rendering of a satellite orbiting the earth with illuminated cities at night

Images from the satellite show the areas in a different shading where the infertile regions are marked. These images can then be provided to farmers who own the piece of land. By doing this, the farmers would not clear the land for agricultural use, knowing that the yield would not be rewarding. Therefore, instead of experimenting with the land, the farmers can directly use the land for other purposes such as building habitats for animals cattle, or goats.

This technology promises a reduced carbon footprint from agricultural activities. This is so, once the land is known as infertile, no projects for plantation will be carried out. Thus, lowering the risk of wasteful land clearing. Next, by knowing that the land is infertile, farmers would not plant any food there, thus avoiding the farmers from over fertilizing an area which can not produce a healthy plant. This in return helps reduce the damage done to the environment by the fertilizer runoff.

What Is the MSPO and Why You Need It for Your Plantation

Palm Oil plantation owners and other stakeholders in this field should always strive to improve their plantation practices. One of the ways this can be accomplished is through getting certifications. Currently, the MPOCC of the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council has made one type of certification for oil palm smallholders.

This is known as the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil or MSPO Certificate.

What is the MSPO Certificate?

The MSPO certificate is an acknowledgement that the products of your plantation products are made through sustainable methods. This means there’s nothing that pollutes the environment and all processes are safe and complies Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

The main benefit of having the MPSO certificate is that your products will be more marketable overseas. Right now, many western countries, especially the European Union, have laws against buying palm oil linked to serious environmental issues like deforestation and wildlife destruction.

When Should I Get the MSPO?
Basically, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, under the Ministry of Primary Industries, is trying to get all palm oil plantations certified with the MSPO. This certificate ensures that certain standards of agricultural practices are met within your plantation or palm oil processing plant. It was first announced in 2013 but started out as a voluntary program.

However, in 2017, the announcement was made to make it mandatory for oil palm plantations and factories to be MSPO certified in three stages. The first two phases involved larger plantations and factories who previously had RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Oil Palm) certificates and those who did not have RSPO certification. The first phase ended in December 2018 while the second phase ends in June 2019.

The third and final phase involves all oil palm smallholders. Oil palm smallholders are compulsory to have this MSPO certification by 31st December 2019. Therefore if you haven’t started with the process, now is the time to do it.

How Do I Get The MSPO?

As a plantation owner, you should first submit an application to MPOB after consultation. After that, you will undergo two stages of audits and one peer review. If you pass all that, then the MPSO certificate will be issued to your plantation. However, that is not the end as there will be an annual re-evaluation so that the certificate can be renewed.

What Are The Benefits of Having the MPSO?

The MPSO certificate will give you an edge over competitors as it will ensure consumers and business partners know that your agricultural practices are safe for the environment and sustainable. Additionally, here are some other benefits listed out by MPOB:

  • Continuous and increased production of fresh fruit bunches
  • The rights of plantation owners will be ensured
  • Better access to bank loans and capitals
  • Cleaner environment for future generations
  • A thorough record of your plantation management
  • Minimizes the misuse of MPOB certificates and FFB theft
  • Gaining the confidence and satisfaction of stakeholders

If you’re interested in more information on the MSPO, please visit the official MPOB website here.

Ways to Curb Nitrogen Pollution

Nitrogen is one of the most vital ingredients in fertilizer. Nitrogen helps promote plants growth. The main source for nitrogen comes both from natural resources and also from human activities. Among these two, human sources have a larger impact on the environment.

Too much nitrogen in the environment contributes to climate change and dead zones in water sources such as lakes, rivers and coastal areas. Dead zones are the zones in water sources that are low of oxygen content.

One of the few ways to help reduce nitrogen pollution is by enforcing policies on farmers that utilize nitrogen fertilizers. These farmers should be advised to follow a policy enforced by the government where they are told to use lesser nitrogen fertilizer and opt to other alternatives which are healthier for the environment.

Next, the local fertilizer suppliers and markets surrounding an agricultural area should be given incentives to sell fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen content. For example, if the suppliers can be rewarded for selling lesser nitrogen fertilizer, the impact on the environment can be lowered as farmers might use lesser nitrogen fertilizer, as recommended by their supplier.

The above-mentioned ways to reduce the usage of nitrogen fertilizer may be difficult to be applied as farmers would tend to stick to their routines of fertilizing their crops using nitrogen fertilizer. Therefore, more research should be done to create a fertilizer that is not only cheap and beneficial to the plants but is also less or totally not harmful to the environment.

Here’s How to Target Your Borate Fertilizer Application

Borate is an important micronutrient or secondary nutrient for all plants. Many articles on the internet have described the reasons why you need the element. In short, Boron and other micronutrients are essential for:

  • The formation of plant cell walls and other structures by transporting Calcium
  • Balancing sugars and starches and facilitating their transport to all parts of the plant
  • Transporting water through the plants system
  • Forming proteins essential for the plant’s metabolism by breaking down nitrogen in the ground.

As such, plantation owners should always take care to ensure their plants get the correct amount of Boron at any given time.

Why should we target Borate fertilizer application?

Ensuring the correct level of Boron

Targeting your borate fertilizer means applying it where it is needed the most. The ideal average rate of Boron at any given time should be between 0.5 to 2.0ppm.

The plant does not regulate the uptake of Boron and it’s something that happens passively. This is why it’s up to the farmers and planters to keep the level of Boron in the soil at its optimal level. Too much of Boron in the soil is toxic to the plant, but too little and the plants will suffer from malnutrition and start showing unhealthy symptoms. Oil palms are particularly sensitive to B deficiency and it will affect their productivity in a significant manner. Targeting Borate fertilizer application eliminates the problems of you applying too much or too little at one time.

Saving resources

Targeting Boron application also saves a lot of resources. Borate fertilizers tend to leach out a lot and when they travel beyond the reach of the palm’s roots, they become useless to the plant.

Knowing where to place your Borate fertilizer at any given time will mean that less of it leaches out into the soil.

How to Target Your Borate Fertilizer Application

Know Your Soil

Certain types of soil leach Boron faster than others. These include soil that is alkaline and soil that is sandy. Sandy, non-irrigated soil with very low organic matter, especially those near coastal areas or near the sea, tend to leach out nutrients faster as they allow more water to flow through. Soil that can’t hold water well also can’t hold on to nutrients well. If your plantation has either one of these, you have to be extra vigilant to know when to apply more.

Perform regular soil assessments

Test your soil at least once every month for Boron levels. That way you’ll know for sure which area is low in this micronutrient. This strategy works better than applying it blindly everywhere at the same time, with the same volume.

Look out for deficiency symptoms

Symptoms like orange or brown spots, dying leaves and others are clear signs that something is wrong with the soil. Follow these foliar symptoms up with a soil strip test to know whether the level of Boron is adequate or not.

 

Targeting your Daebak Borate Fertilizer needs a bit of effort, where you’ll have to know your whole plantation status at every moment. However, it’s definitely possible if you combine various testing and assessment methods and do these tests at regular intervals.

 

 

Ways to Protect your Plants during Extreme Weathers

Every region around the globe faces extreme weathers once a while. Some days will be too hot while someday will face violent rain and storms. In these extreme weather, it is very easy for young plants to be uprooted or damaged in the heavy rain and wind, and to dry up and die off in the extreme heat.

In these weathers, it is important to take good measures to look after your plants. Shared below are some tips to ensure your plants’ good health in extreme weathers.

Heavy Rains

Protect the roots

To protect the roots of a young plant, spread mulch around the roots of the plant. A three-inch layer of mulch can protect the plant for after rain cold damage. Some examples of mulch include grass clippings or wood chippings.

Coverage

To protect the plant from getting damaged due to strong winds, you can simply cover the plant using a pail or bucket. This will prevent the strong wind from ripping off the tree leaves and fragile branches of young plants.

Hot weather

Provide sufficient hydration

On hot days, your plants can easily dry up. One easily noticed the sign of dehydration in plants includes softened leaves. In order to help your plant stay hydrated, place some mulch about three inches around your plant. The mulch will store water once you water your plant and will allow the plant to obtain water from it.

Next, place some shade cloth over your garden. This will help block out extra sunlight but enough to enable your plants to carry out their vital processes for a living. Be careful not to place the shade too close to your plants. They need space to breathe too.

The Effects of Fertilizer on the Environment if used Irresponsibly

Fertilizer plays a very important role in today’s world. For instance, fertilizer helps to ensure that the food source is adequate for the world. Other than that, we are also able to enjoy larger, and more delicious produce that results from fertilizer usage. Economically viewing the issue, fertilizer usage has also created a vast variety of jobs and also sustained the global economy.

With the correct handling, fertilizer undoubtedly brings lots of positive effects. However, what happens if the fertilizer industry is handled irresponsibly? What if farmers started to misuse fertilizer?

For one obvious effect, if fertilizer usage was abused, the less developed countries could face starvation. If the more developed countries decided to manipulate the fertilizer business, less developed countries will not have enough food to sustain their population, and thus, causing starvation.

On the environmental view, it can be very dangerous if fertilizer was used irresponsibly. One of the main effects of over usage of fertilizer is the depletion of the soil quality. Though we may think that using more fertilizer makes the soil more fertile, it is actually the opposite. When too much fertilizer is used over the long run, the acidity of the soil increases, making it infertile for growth of plants. Over the years, the soil would not be able to grow any plants and would become barren.

Other than that, when fertilizer is used at a higher dosage than it should be, there is more runoff of fertilizer into the neighbouring lakes and ponds. This phenomenon is known as eutrophication. The runoff contains nitrates and phosphorus which promotes the growth of algae on the surface of the water. With the algae covering the water surfaces, oxygen either reaches the aquatic life at a very low rate or none at all, slowly killing the fauna. Other than that, sunlight also has trouble reaching the base of the water bodies, thus killing the flora which is the source of food for many living organisms under the water surface.

Where Does Zeolite Come From? Know the History and Uses of Zeolite

Zeolite is one of the lesser known elements in fertilizers that we don’t talk about much. Most of the time, we tend to focus on the main components of fertilizers, namely N, P and K. However, Zeolite is equally important in agriculture.

In general, Zeolite has uses in many industries. These days, it’s widely used as a catalyst in the petrochemical industry, as part of processes known as catalytic cracking and hydrocracking. Additionally, it also has uses in solar energy, refrigeration and in the production of medical oxygen.

Zeolite’s mining activity in Indonesia

The First Documented Uses

In history, the first time Zeolite actually makes an appearance is during the Roman Empire (27BC – 395 AD). They were used as part of the pebbles and stones to filter water brought by the aqueducts. This early system of waterways brought water from the rivers and streams surrounding a city, straight into the city so that it flowed from springs along the streets.

In ancient China, Zeolite has been crushed and added to medicines, since it has been documented to absorb certain toxins.

The first modern scientist to coin the term ‘Zeolite’ was Axel Fredrik Cronstedt in 1756. He was a Swedish mineralogist who classified it as a group of minerals that contained water. However, Zeolite did not gain prominence until the 1960s and 1970s, where it was used in the United States to remove ammonia and radioactive materials from wastewater.

Since then, Zeolite has gained a lot of other uses. The largest impact is of course the removal of Radiocative waste from Chernobyl and Fukushima, the biggest nuclear disasters of the century.

Why Do Your Plants Need Zeolite?

When you apply NPK fertilizers to the soil around your plantation, not all of it reaches your plants. Some of it will be lost through volatilization, which is when Nitrogen becomes ammonium gas after coming into contact with air.

Another portion will be lost to leaching. This happens when water from rain or from sprinklers wash the nutrients deeper into the soil and away from the reach of the plant roots. Leaching is actually very wasteful and reduces the effectiveness of your fertilizers.

Adding Zeolite reduces the wastage of N,P and K in your fertilizers significantly. Zeolite binds the nutrients and only releases it when after some time due to temperatures in the soil. This prevents leaching and volatilization as Zeolite ‘holds’ the nutrients for your plant roots much longer.

Zeolite for Your Plantation by Everchem

At Everchem, we have personally ensured that our Daebak Zeolite is of the best quality. Our Zeolite comes to you from Indonesia, where it is mined, processed and packaged on the spot in the most hygienic and modern methods.

Zeolite is part of our Daebak Slow Release Fertilizer, which is a type of fertilizer that makes N,P and K available to your roots for longer and in abundance.

The next time you see Zeolite in your fertilizer mix, you’ll know what it’s for. If you’re currently using regular fertilizers without Zeolite, why not try our Daebak Slow Released Fertilizers for increased plant nutrition.

 

Crude palm oil prices forecast to be higher this year

THE oil palm industry has played an important role in the economy.

The planted area expanded from 55,000ha in 1960 to 5.849 million hectares last year.

In tandem with the area expansion, the production of palm oil also grew from less than 100,000 tonnes in 1960 to 19.516 million tonnes last year.

This expansion, especially in the 1960’s, was encouraged by the diversification strategy of the government, which recognised palm oil as a complementary crop to rubber.

The oil palm industry contributes 4.67 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and 46.6 per cent  to the agricultural GDP.

Total exports of palm oil products were 23.97 million tonnes in 2017 with an export revenue of RM77.85 billion.

Palm oil export earnings stood at RM46.12 billion.

The global market is expected to grow with the world’s population and income, increasing biofuels production, accelerating economic growth, especially in developing economies, and growing applications.

Despite these achievements, palm oil continues to receive criticism for alleged links to deforestation, climate change, health effects and market restrictions in terms of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

This has led to lower demand for palm oil-based products and export market access.

Added to these challenges  is agricultural commodity price volatility and instability.

Price volatility is almost an inherent feature of commodity production due partly to inelastic supply and demand.

Crude palm oil (CPO) prices dropped to three-year lows in November and December last year amid high stock levels in Southeast Asia and weak demand.

Stocks were reported at a record high of three million tonnes. Exports dropped by 12.9 per cent  month on month to 1.38 million tonnes as buyers — such as China, the European Union, Pakistan and the Philippines — bought fewer Malaysian palm oil products.

Last year, the average CPO price was RM2,267 per tonne against RM2,817 a tonne in 2017.

Other than fundamental factors of supply, demand, and stocks, palm oil prices are also affected by the price movements of soya bean oil, which competes for a share of the global vegetable oil market, and influenced by crude oil because the edible oil is also used as feedstock to make biodiesel.

The prices rebounded in January and last month to RM2,037 and RM2,100.50, respectively, compared with November and December prices of RM1,830 and RM1,794.50, respectively.

The general opinion is that the prices of crude palm oil and other oils depend on the outlook for palm stocks.

It is predicted that stocks will fall till mid-year, in line with seasonal production trends, which will lift the crude palm oil prices, especially if Indonesia maintains its heightened pace of biodiesel use.

Crude palm oil prices are expected to rise to between RM2,200 and RM2,300 per tonne by June on a seasonal decline in stocks.

Prices will also increase as India, one of the largest importers of Malaysian palm oil at 2.514 million tonnes last year, reduced import duties on crude palm oil from some countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia, to 40 per cent  from 44 per cent and on other palm oil to 45 per cent  from 54 per cent.

For this year, though supply of CPO will remain ample due to steady production growth in Indonesia, consumption will grow by a strong five per cent  year on year, at the fastest rate recorded since 2013.

With low stock levels and firmer soya bean oil and crude oil prices, CPO prices are forecast to be higher this year than last year with at an average price of RM2,300 per tonne.

Reference:

By Prof Datuk Dr Mad Nasir Shamsudin – 

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/03/470217/crude-palm-oil-prices-forecast-be-higher-year

 

What if fertilizer was never invented?

Fertilizer is well known for its purpose in increasing food production. It is also known to produce more beautiful landscapes with fresher flowers and trees. But what would have happened if fertilizer was never invented in the very first place?

For one obvious effect, if fertilizer was never invented, the would have been a  lack of food for consumption in most of the developing countries. Fertilizer acts as an aid in growing more food resources. The most common food sources that depend on fertilizer to increase their yield include rice and wheat which are the most consumed food sources around the globe.

 

 

If fertilizer was never invented, these food sources would have gone scarce and caused starvation, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that one-third of the population would have starved to death without fertilizer.

Other than that, the non-existence of fertilizer would have highly impacted the agricultural industry. For instance, if crops like oil palm and other fruiting trees were not fed with enough fertilizer, we might not have been able to enjoy large juicy fruits nor would we have been able to produce palm oil from oil palm seed at a high scale. Landscapes would also look less attractive or colourful without fertilizer.

On the other hand, if fertilizer did not exist, our water sources pollution could have been lower. This is so, phosphorus runoff from fertilizer to neighbouring lakes would have been lesser or none at all. Phosphorus runoff causes eutrophication which in return kills aquatic animals.

A Special Palm Oil Message from YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opeZBSeyTns

Credit to:

Published on Feb 10, 2019

The palm oil industry is a major pillar of the Malaysian economy and it contributes towards economic prosperity and development through its substantial export earnings and employment. Love MY Palm Oil campaign is an initiative by the Ministry of Primary Industries, undertaken by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to instil pride and greater appreciation of the benefits of Malaysian palm oil. The campaign focuses on socio-economic, health, nutrition, food, environment and non-food aspects of palm oil. This year-long campaign encompasses promotional and physical activities at the national level through educational elements combining visual appeal, aesthetic value and social media platforms. It also engages Malaysians from all walks of life through various community-based events. This campaign is supported by our Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, in a special video message to drive home the importance of Malaysian palm oil to all of us.