Fertilizers are one of the largest costs when it comes to oil palm plantations. Up to 85% of agricultural expenditures are spent on fertilizers. As such, fertilizers should not be wasted and should be used conservatively.
The best way to make sure that wastage is minimized is to ensure that fertilizers are correctly applied. Fertilizers like Ulexite (which provides Boron) should be applied at the correct time and place. This will benefit your soil and crops, as well as help, keep your expenditure in check.
Here are the best times to apply Ulexite fertilizers:
- After you have weeded your plantation
Weeds are very common in oil palm plantations and are often carried by the wind. There’s no easy way to deal with weeds as they have to be removed manually. You cannot use herbicide as this will endanger the oil palms.
Therefore, weeding has to be done by manually removing the weeds. Make sure you apply your fertilizers after a fresh round of weeding. This is because weeds can leach away the Boron in your fertilizer and use it to grow rapidly.
- Avoid overly rainy seasons
In any case, you should avoid applying fertilizers during the wettest time of the year, which usually occurs from November to January each year. This is because the excess rain is able to wash away Boron into the deeper parts of the soil, away from the roots.
- Dry seasons are not good either
Too much rain will cause the Boron fertilizers to leach away, but applying them during extremely dry and hot seasons isn’t practical either. This is because there isn’t enough rain to dissolve the Ulexite. Furthermore, the heat can cause the fertilizer pellets to dry out into dust and be blown away by the wind.
The driest months in the year for Malaysia are June and July, with less than 10 days of rain.
- Months with moderate rain are the best
The best months to apply fertilizers would definitely be the months that are not too hot or rainy. These moderate months are usually from February to March, and September to October each year.
Moderate rainfall months can optimize the effect of Ulexite fertilizers, as they avoid the environmental extremes that can reduce efficiency. Ulexite or boron fertilizers need time to be absorbed, so it’s best to start applying these fertilizers as early as possible in the optimal season.
- The best time of the day
The best time of the day to apply Ulexite is in the morning, before the sun gets too hot and there’s a lot of wind. Applying fertilizers evenly in the morning reduces the chances of it evaporating and being lost to the elements. It would be even better if you water them a little to protect them and ensure maximum absorption.
In order not to miss the optimal months of the year, you’ll have to make sure you prepare all the necessary equipment, machinery and fertilizers beforehand. Check out our new Granular Ulexite fertilizers, available at 10% and 15% concentration.
Contrary to the famous believe that weeds disrupt the growth of farms, Studies have shown that weeds actually help to make farms more productive. The study proved that having certain types of weeds around the farm help reduce crop losses.
The study shows that due to the ecological niches, the excessive growth of a more invasive species of unwanted plants is inhibited by these weeds. This proves that a certain level of biodiversity is positive for the ecosystem, both natural and man-made.
Some examples of beneficial weeds include white clover and dandelions. Some legumes can help in nitrogen fixation when paired with the correct bacteria. For example, white clover, when paired with Rhizobium bacteria, often add nitrogen to the soil through nitrogen fixation process. This can help farmers reduce the amount of fertilizer that needs to be applied to the soil.
Some weeds have strong widespread roots. These roots introduce nutrients and organic matter to the soil by turning the clay into a more dense and richer soil. Other than that, some weeds become the support for some soft rooted plants. For example, tomatoes can cling on to weeds to allow their weak roots to go deeper into the soil.
This finding and approach can result in excellently if applied on a wide scale. The need for fertilizers and pesticides can be reduced. This would benefit both the farmers and consumers. Farmers tend to save money on fertilizers, while consumers have a chance of enjoying better and healthier food without the usage of pesticides.
Fertilizers are a vital component of sustainable crop production. Fertilizers assist in increasing the production of crops and while ensuring that the crops are healthy. If nutrients provided to the plants are inadequate, the fertility is mined from the soil, and thus, the crop will not be able to attain its optimal yield. On the other hand, if too much nutrient is provided without managing the risks, there is a high possibility that the excess fertilizer will move away from the plants and in result, affect the environment.
The 4Rs guide is an approach to utilize fertilizer optimally. This practice is good for the grower, farming community, and also the environment. The 4Rs stand for:
- Right Source
- Right Rate
- Right Time
- Right Place
The 4Rs are explained in a more detailed manner as below.
Before applying fertilizer, ensure first that the type of fertilizer applied is of the correct source (i.e. Potassium fertilizer, Nitrogen fertilizer, etc.) you would want to apply the correct type of fertilizer for optimal growth of your plant. Ensure that there is a balanced source of nutrients in the fertilizer, based on the plants.
Assess the soil nutrient content in which your plants are planted in before applying any fertilizer. Some soil has a higher nutrient content than others, while some have a significantly low amount of nutrients. Therefore, the soil nutrient level needs to be checked to avoid over-fertilizing or under-fertilizing.
Assess your crop intake dynamics, soil supply, nutrient loss, and logistics before applying fertilizer. You should know how long it takes for your crops to take up the fertilizer. Recognize also the weather factors before fertilizing. Too much rain will result in fertilizer runoff while no rainfall will retard the absorption of fertilizer by the crop roots.
Before applying fertilizer, you should know the dynamics of the roots. You should know where the roots are located and if it is easy for the roots to intake the fertilizer from where you have applied it. Applying fertilizer too far from the roots will only result in wastage as the fertilizer will run off with rain before it can be absorbed by the roots.
E-commerce in this day and age isn’t just limited to buying clothes or groceries online. You can basically find everything you need online, and have it delivered to your doorstep.
It’s no different for things like agricultural equipment and fertilizers. There are stores offer these things online nowadays so you don’t have to travel yourself and pick them up.
The purchasing process on these online supplier sites is also very quick and efficient. You don’t have to go through the time-consuming steps of getting quotations, issuing P.O.s or dealing with invoices anymore.
Just go online, state how many units you want and just pay through online bank transfers or credit cards. It’s so fast and easy. Here are some of the sites where you can find fertilizers for sale, especially ground Borate Fertilizers or Ulexite:
AliBaba mostly carries Ulexite Borate and Boron fertilizers from China. However, the availability largely depends on the manufacturers on the site. However, you will be able to see all the Borate fertilizers or pure Ulexite powder suppliers by typing in these search terms into the search bar above.
Most suppliers require you to buy a minimum amount in order for them to justify the shipping fees. So usually you won’t be able to buy one or two packs at one time and this is the only downside.
Lazada does carry some forms of Boron, such as Borax and not specifically Ulexite. However, the amount of Borax or Borate fertilizers you can buy on Lazada is pretty small. They are sold in packs or bottles of 1kg or less and are meant for gardeners and domestic use, rather than plantation owners.
Additionally, they are also sold as part of a mixed fertilizer formula rather than straight fertilizer.
3. Ubuy Malaysia
Ubuy has many lifestyle products, and here you can find sometimes find Borate and Boron as part of complex fertilizers designed for farming and cash crops. Most of the products at Ubuy are imported from the US and other foreign countries so you can be assured of the best quality products for your plants in the long run. If you’re here, you’ll want to use the keyword ‘fertilizer’ to begin your search.
Amazon carries Boron and Borate fertilizers from all over the world, and you can definitely find one in stock. Otherwise, there are plenty of micronutrient fertilizer mixtures you can also try. The only thing is that buying online from Amazon might be a tad bit more costly since all the prices are in USD.
For the time being Everchem does not do any direct retail trading towards the customers as most of our business is mainly on wholesale. However, should you require further information on the type of products that we carry feel free to drop an email to us at email@example.com.
Ulexite is a source of Boron that’s commonly used in the chemical industry. Apart from being the main component of Boron fertilizers, Ulexite is also used in glazing, bleaching agents, glass production, flares and much more.
Ulexite is usually not a mineral that is found alone. Instead, it is usually found in combination with other forms of Boron, such as Colemanite, Tincal, and Kernite. The appearance of Ulexite is usually different from these other forms of Boron.
The mineral form of Ulexite usually takes on the appearance of a crystal mass that’s either clear or slightly cloudy. It can also appear as parallel fibers in certain instances.
Where is Ulexite mined in the world?
The mining of Ulexite, together with other Boron deposits, are regulated by the laws of each country. Thus far, Ulexite has been found mainly in Arid regions of countries like the U.S.A., Argentina, Chile, Russia, Peru, Serbia, Bolivia, and China.
Each year, the Boron mines around the world produce about 250,000 tons of Boron, which is equivalent to about 800,000 tons of Boron Oxide.
Ulexite is primarily found in Nevada and California in the U.S., as well as in the Tarapaca region of Chile and in Kazakhstan. Additionally, it is also mined in the Emet, Bigadiç and Kırka regions of Turkey where there’s a huge deposit of Boron.
The companies mining Ulexite usually mine other Boron minerals together with Ulexit and turn them into commercially viable products. Therefore companies usually do not mine Ulexite alone as Ulexite is found with other Boron minerals. As many as 230 different Boron minerals exist in nature, but only less than 10 are commonly found in Boron deposits and are mined commercially.
Ulexite is a Natural Borate Product
The minerals that come from Boron mines can be processed into many different products. However, Ulexite does not need to undergo any more processing. It is usually taken straight from the mines and the rock deposits are cleaned off using a machine.
Larger deposits of Ulexite are cut into more manageable sizes before they are put through a grinder to be ground into a powder. Different companies provide ground Ulexite powder of different sizes.
For a standard agricultural application, Ulexite is usually ground to 2-4mm in size. This is considered the standard size.
Ulexite can also be ground into a finer powder less than 50 μm in diameter. When ground, Ulexite resembles a grayish white powder that is about 35% Boron Oxide (B2O3) and about 20% Calcium Oxide ( CaO).
The Future of Ulexite
Ulexite is, unfortunately, a mineral that is not renewable. This means that once all the Ulexite in the world has been mined, we cannot produce more. The countries with the highest Boron reserves right now are Turkey and Russia.
It is therefore important for Ulexite and Boron mineral producing countries to consider recycling Boron from various wastes in order to produce a viable Boron source for the industries that need it, including the agricultural industry.
Fertile soil means a plot of soil which is able to grow crops. Soil fertility can be classified as high, moderate and low fertility. Highly fertile lands are the best to grow crops, especially food sources to feed the nation, while less fertile of barren lands appear desert-like or with fewer plants.
There are a few countries in the world that are considered the most arable. Being arable means that these countries have some of the most fertile lands in the world. Ten of the most fertile countries include Bangladesh, Denmark, the Ukraine, Moldova, India, Hungary, Rwanda, Comoros, Togo and Gambia.
There are a few types of soil that are considered highly fertile. Each type of soil consists of different types of nutrients that contribute to the growth and health of crops. Some types of soil are as follows:
Alfisols – Nearly 10% of the world’s ice-free land.
This type of soil is found in Western Europe and parts of North and South America, Africa, India, and Australia. It is a clay-based and relatively fertile with high aluminum and iron content soil.
Andisols – 1% of the world’s ice-free soil.
Andisols are found mostly in New Zealand, Northwest USA, Chile, Kenya, Indonesia, and Japan. This type of soil is formed from volcanic ash and highly fertile and ideal for crops.
Mollisols – 7% of the world’s ice-free land.
Found in Ukraine, parts of Russia and the USA, mollisols are some of the world’s most fertile soil. This type of soil includes black soils with high organic content.
Vertisols – 2.5% of the world’s ice-free land.
This type of soil is found in India, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America. With irrigation they support cereal, cotton, sorghum, and rice growing.
Being a palm oil plantation owner is not all smooth-sailing. There are many challenges that require careful consideration and planning to solve. There are certain circumstances where you might need a helping hand.
The Malaysian authorities have been offering various programs to assist plantation owners. Most of these programs are for limited periods only. However, they are continuously offered in order to help palm oil growers to expand and maintain their business. These are some of the current programs that can help you:
- The incentive for MSPO Certification
Since the decision by the European Union to gradually phase out palm oil-derived biodiesel, efforts have been made to get Malaysian planters to certify their plantations with MSPO certification.
The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil or MSPO certification will help make your palm oil more trusted and more easily marketed worldwide. The Malaysian government has allocated RM100million to help plantation smallholders obtain the MSPO certification.
Each oil palm smallholder can claim RM135 per hectare for certification cost, making the MSPO certification free of charge. However, this incentive program will only run until December 2019. After that, any cost in obtaining the MSPO will be borne by the planters themselves. Contact MPOCC for information on how to obtain the MSPO and claim the cost incentive.
Credit: MPOCC Website
- Replanting soft loan
In early 2019, the government announced that they were allocating RM550 million as a loan to help independent oil palm smallholders offset the cost of replanting. This loan is given via two programs, known as the Soft Loan Replanting Scheme (TSKPS) and Soft Loan Input Scheme for Smallholders (IPPKS).
Both loans have very low-interest rates of only 2% per annum. The repayment period is about 12 years or less.
The TSKPS scheme is specifically for replanting costs and offers up to RM10,000 per hectare of land. TSKPS is for smallholders with 6.5 hectares of land or less.
IPPKS offers a maximum loan of RM2500 per hectare and is meant to help planters buy seedlings, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.
Details about both loans can be found on the MPOB website.
- Tax incentives for investing in oil palm biomass
When all the fruits have been harvested from an oil palm fruit bunch, the empty bunch is left over. In the past, it was just left to rot. However, this posed a serious wastage problem.
Therefore, the government has offered tax relief on companies investing in industries that use oil palm biomass ( including empty fruit bunches, logs from old palm trees, etc) to produce value-added products. The tax relief takes on several forms depending on the size and status of the company and can go up to 100% of the statutory income. For more information, visit this corporate tax incentives page.
Remember that you are not alone in your efforts to keep up the production rates of your plantation. Consultation and communication are key when facing a problem, and bodies like the Malaysian Palm Oil Board are always there to help you in various aspects.
Phosphorus is a crucial ingredient in many types of fertilizers. It is important to use phosphorus fertilizer. However, the use of phosphorus is extensive and the resources are very limited. There are only a few phosphorus mines in the world. Being a non-renewable resource, the amount of phosphorus is depleting due to the usage in the fertilizer industry.
There is no international institution to govern the usage of phosphorus in various industries. Therefore, a team of 40 phosphorus experts has decided to raise a concern and take action on the extensive use of the natural element in the various industries. According to the expert group, there are no international bodies designed to govern global phosphorus resources. Resources are managed by local or national authorities and often, regulations and technologies are not up-to-date.
This results in the over usage of this mineral affects both the existing phosphorus resource and also the environment. Although the use of phosphorus is very essential to crops, a large amount of it is still wasted into the environment. Phosphate runs off into lakes and ponds create an adverse effect on the environment. If not governed properly, the experts warn that the environment can highly be polluted.
The over usage of this naturally occurring mineral can also cause its depletion. If phosphate is depleted and inadequate to serve as the source in fertilizer, farmers will have a tough time growing food for the fast-growing population of the world. The usage of this mineral has to be closely monitored for two reasons: avoid depletion and to minimize its effects onto the environment.
Boron is an essential micronutrient that every plant needs. It has a diverse application in the plant’s daily metabolic system. As such, it is essential to ensure that your crops get enough Boron on a regular basis.
Boron deficiency can cause plants to develop severe symptoms such as weak and inadequate roots, empty seeds and fewer flowers during the pollination stage.
Nature offers us many sources of Boron which can be turned into fertilizers. Most of these sources are mineral and are mined naturally, rather than synthesized in laboratories. Some natural sources of Boron used as fertilizers include Granubor, Hydroboracite, Colemanite, and Ulexite.
What is Ulexite?
Ulexite is a white, grey or colorless mineral consisting of sodium-calcium and borate. It is named after a chemist called George Ludwig Ulex who first identified and analyzed this mineral in the 1800s.
Ulexite is most commonly found on lake beds, where they are purified from the surface. Ulexite is actually very popular among mineral collectors due to their fine, hair-like appearance and clear crystallized form.
In the fertilizer industry, it is processed into a powder or granules and usually applied alone to plants. Its proper chemical name would be Sodium Calcium Penta-borate Octahydrate. It is easily soluble in water and therefore very suitable to be used as a Boron source for plants.
How can Ulexite benefit your crops?
Ulexite is a very unique source of Boron for plants. Unlike other sources of Boron, it actually releases Boron very gradually upon uptake by plant roots. This allows Ulexite to function as a Boron source for a prolonged period of time.
- Low risk of toxicity
In most crops, the difference between plant Boron deficiency and toxicity is very narrow. Hence, it is challenging to know when you’ve over-supplied Boron to your crops.
The natural slow-release feature is also important in preventing Boron toxicity. This happens when there is too much Boron released at once from fertilizers and poisons the crops. The slow-release process ensures that a regular amount of Boron is supplied to plants at a healthy level rather than over-dosing them.
- No run-off issues
Ulexite is also considered to have a controlled solubility. This is very important in areas with a high amount of rainfall. In other sources of Boron with high solubility, Boron tends to leach into the soil and be washed away before it can be absorbed by the roots.
This tends to cause wastage and can pollute the environment. Ulexite does not pose any threat to the environment as it has very limited solubility in rainwater. It is, therefore, a very sustainable and environmentally friendly Boron fertilizer.
Ulexite has one of the highest Boron content and is very affordable per unit compared to many other types of Boron fertilizers. Everchem’s own Daebak Borate Fertilizer, which is Calcite Ulexite, has more than 45% Boron content which is considered premium grade Boron.
Make a difference in your plantation today by using Ulexite as your Boron fertilizer.
In recent years, the price of palm oil has been rather volatile and unstable. This is due mainly to the sharp drop in demand, caused by efforts from the European Union to ban palm oil-derived biofuels.
The Malaysian authorities have therefore been encouraging oil palm planters, especially smallholders, to diversify their crops.
Crop diversification is beneficial in many ways. For starters, they help offset and compensate any losses you may experience due to the instability of palm oil. They’re also good for the environment as different crops help maintain a better balance in soil nutrition and ecology.
Here are some crops and other enterprises you can consider incorporating into your plantation:
Malaysian Durians have garnered quite a good reputation overseas, and it is known for its good quality and taste. Malaysian durian species such as Musang King, D24 and Black Thorn are in high demand, especially in China.
China imports about 300,000 tons of durian each year. However, as of 2019, Malaysia only exports about 17,000 tons of durian there. There is definitely room for Malaysian growers to fulfill the high demand in China. Durians here can fetch a high price, whereby 300g of the fruit can sell for as high as RM180.
Pineapples may seem like a pretty unremarkable fruit. However, they’re being dubbed the new source of wealth for Malaysia because of increased demand for this fruit. Again, the main importer of Malaysian pineapples is China.
The Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board ( MPIB) expects that demand for these fruits will increase from RM155 million a year in 2017 to RM320 a year in 2020. Malaysian growers have been told to step up their game and meet the high demand.
Many people do not know that bamboo actually fetches a high price in the market. There are more than a thousand bamboo species in Southeast Asia, and they are mostly used in construction and in the fabrication of bamboo furniture. One very tough and hardy bamboo species is the Betong bamboo, whereby one stalk can sell for up to RM200.
Vanilla has a very high demand, and dried vanilla pods in Malaysia can sell for up to RM2000 per kg. However, cultivating the vanilla plant is challenging and requires a lot of dedication and commitment. Vanilla does not produce its pods until about 4-5 years after planting. However, when done right, the returns are enormous.
If you do decide to venture into vanilla planting, it is advisable to consult and work closely with vanilla farmers who already have a successful plantation.
- Stingless Bee Honey or Kelulut Honey
Although Kelulut bees are not really a crop or plant, they are truly worth considering. The demand for Kelulut Honey is on the rise in recent years. This is due to the medicinal values of the honey and the fact that it can be cultivated easily.
As long as there are flowering plants somewhere on your plantation, you can easily erect wooden honeycomb boxes. There are more than 30 species of stingless bees in Malaysia, and they all produce honey. The bees don’t need to be fed. All you have to do is provide them with water, flowering plants and a bit of damar resin from trees ( such as rubber, jackfruit, “cempedak”, etc) within a 2km radius.
After that, each honeycomb can sell for between RM300-RM500 each. This enterprise uses your plantation’s natural resources that are already there.
Image credit: Marufish@Flickr
Diversifying your oil palm plantation doesn’t mean neglecting your palm trees. Instead, you can ensure that your plantation enjoys a more sustainable future. Your income will be able to stabilize more too when you don’t depend solely on one crop.