Modern agricultural practices are a world away from what our ancestors used to practice. There have been many innovations and inventions that have made growing plants easier to influence and control.
As the days pass, more and more farmers are beginning to realize that production must be balanced by sustainability. The term ‘sustainability’ became widespread not long ago, when researchers and agricultural scientists began to see the threat of some unhealthy practices.
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture is a set of practices which protects your plantation or farmland for generations to come. It means adopting methods that allow you to use the earth to fulfill the needs of today, while making sure that it is still productive for the generations to come.
Essentially, sustainable practices include protecting the soil from pollutantsand ensuring that it is not stripped of its natural nutrients. Sustainability also includes the protection of wildlifeand other organisms that make up the ecosystem of you plantation, so that the balance will continue in the years to come.
Sustainability is all about understanding how nature works, and realizing the importance of not destroying natural cycles and processes. As a farmer or plantation owner, it’s up to you to know which practices are not sustainable, and which ones to change.
How Controlled Release Fertilizers Help Sustainability
CRFs are relatively new in the fertilizer market. However, they are one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable products out there. Here’s why:
- Less fertilizer residues mean less pollution
CRFs are not released into the soil immediately. They are released over a period of 9 months to a year at a relatively constant rate. This means there will be less excess nutrients in the soil which can lead to pollution of nearby rivers and streams with fertilizer rich runoff.
- Made of natural products
Daebak’s CRFs are coated in a natural layer that can be broken down by microorganisms to release the nutrients contained within. These coatings don’t contain any harmful chemicals that can endanger the natural microorganisms in the soil, or plant roots. They have no negative impact on the surrounding environment, and are safe in any quantity.
- Promotes soil stability
Normal fertilizers tend to dissolve rapidly into the soil, causing a sharp increase of nutrients. This causes the amount of soil nutrients to peak and decrease rapidly. Continuous instability of nutrients in the soil isn’t just bad for the plants, it affects the environment too. This is because extremely high amounts of nutrients can lead to fertilizer toxicity.
With CRFs, nutrients are released at a constant rate, and the soil will not experience any sudden increases of these elements. This creates a more stable soil ecology where the crops can live in harmony with microorganisms and small creatures that co-exist with it and support it.
Here at Everchem, we have designed our Daebak Controlled Release Fertilizers for you current needs, as well as for the future. You can count on our CRFs to deliver quality now, and for the years to come. Choose Daebak, choose the future.
Are your plants attacked by bugs? Do not want to attack your plants with chemicals? Need an easy and cheap way to repel bugs? Here are a few ways discussed to keep your plants safe from pests.
Garlic is well known for its smell. Garlic spray acts as a deterrent when applied on plants. The smell from the garlic sprays encourages insects to move from the plant to another plant without the smell of the spray. Unlike many chemical based insecticides, garlic spray can be applied on the leaves of plants.
To prepare garlic spray at home, all you need is a few garlic cloves and water. Drop the cloves into a blender and add two cups of water. Blend the mixture until the puree is finely grind. Set aside for a day. Then, strain the pulp and mix with another gallon of water and add the mixture into the sprayer. Spray all over the plant.
Aside from being a flavorful fruit, the tomato plant can be used as a bug repellant. Being packed with alkaloids, the tomato leaves can act as effective repellants for aphids, corn earworms and diamondback moths.
To use these leaves as insecticide, chop or mash 1 or 2 cups of tomato leaves and soak in two cups of water overnight. Before spraying the mixture onto your plants, strain the mixture through a strainer and add two more cups of water.
Eggs shells do not act only as bug repellant but also as fertilizer for your plants. As fertilizer, add some crushed eggshells to the base of the pot when planting your plants. Other than that, you can also blend the eggshells and spread them around the plants to be used as fertilizer.
To be used as pest repellant, place the crushed shells, with sharp adges, into the soil around the plant. This will keep away pests such as slugs, snails and cutworms.
Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) work very differently than regular fertilizers. For starters, they have a very release rate that isn’t affected by the amount of rain. Instead, soil temperature and microbial activity are the main determiners of nutrient release.
In Malaysia, soil temperatures are fairly constant, which means that nutrients are released all year round without sudden drops or increases.
Our Daebak Controlled Release Fertilizers last much longer and can be effective in a plantation up to one year after application. However, in order for this to happen, you should use it in the correct manner. Here are some practical tips:
Incorporate CRFs Into The Soil
Many plantation owners take the easy way out and apply fertilizers on the surface of the soil. This method is acceptable, but not the best way. Although sprinkling fertilizers on the top of the soil is easy, there’s a higher chance that the fertilizers will move away from their original position.
Unlike normal fertilizers, CRF doesn’t dissolve immediately upon coming into contact with water or rain. Instead, it can be around for months and months. This means they can be blown away by the wind, storm or rain and moved by workers, animals walking and the like.
Therefore the best method is to mix the fertilizer with the soil, or bury it underground surrounding the oil palm or whatever crop you have.
Stick to the Recommended Application Rate
You don’t want to over-fertilize your plants and neither do you want to under-fertilize it. Since CRFs have a release rate that’s different from regular fertilizers, you actually need less. Studies have found that you can apply about 30% less CRFs compared to other fertilizers.
A healthy range would be between 0.35 to 2.5 kilograms per cubic meter. Some studies have found that the optimal application rate is about 1.25 kilograms per cubic meter. Try not to apply more than 3 kilograms per cubic meter at one time as this can lead to fertilizer burns or over fertilization which can be toxic to your palms.
Apply Freshly Bought CRFs
Dry CRFs can be stored for a long time. However, in Malaysia’s hot and humid weather, moisture tends to accumulate in the air and encourage microbial growth. Although moisture cannot directly affect the integrity of the CRF’s coating, growing fungi and bacteria can break it down. Therefore, it’s advisable not to keep your CRFs too long. It’s best to use them within a month or two after purchase. This will ensure that the CRF coating breaks down in the soil instead of in storage. This way, they can have a long efficacy period of up to a year in the ground.
Plan Your Application Once a Year
One of the reasons why CRFs are becoming popular is the fact that it only needs to be applied once every 9 -12 months. Monitor the performance of your oil palms to see if you need to delay or bring forward application time.
The great thing about Daebak Controlled Release Fertilizersis that it can be applied at any time of the year. Since the main factors affecting release are microbial activity and temperature, rain doesn’t play a role and you can apply this fertilizer in dry or rainy seasons.
Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) are a modern marvel. They have been developed by scientists in order to deliver nutrients to plants in a more efficient manner. The usage of science and research has therefore produced an amazing fertilizer product.
Daebak’s very own controlled release fertilizer is remarkably different from other regular fertilizers. For starters, they’re coated in a polymer which is environmentally friendly. This polymer is the main thing that sets CRF from regular fertilizers.
Here are other ways our Daebak CRF differs from regular NPK fertilizers:
CRF is able to deliver nutrient over a very long period. Regular fertilizers do not have polymer coats and dissolve easily when exposed to water and moisture. They result in a sudden surge of nutrients in the ground which dissipates very fast and only lasts a few months. After that, the fertilizers would need to be replenished.
However, with CRF, you’ll be able to get nutrients for as long as 12 months. This means you only need to apply the fertilizer once a year. This will automatically reduce costs and make maintenance much easier for your plantation.
Constant Supply of Nutrients
CRF supplies nutrient is a constant rate over a long period. This is really important for the plants as a sudden surge is certain minerals can actually cause a fertilizer burn. A fertilizer burn happens when too much fertilizer is applied near the plant roots and releases too much fertilizer at once, which damages the plant root cells.
CRF is encased by a temperature sensitive polymer which will not be dissolved into the ground immediately by rain or water runoff. This avoids fertilizer burns and ensures that your oil palms get nutrients at a steady rate.
Not Dependent On Irrigation
The release rate of regular fertilizers is affected by many factors, but mainly by water. This means that you need water on the soil in order for regular fertilizers to dissolve into the soil.
CRF fertilizers are much more stable and are only controlled by soil temperature. Soil temperature is usually very constant, especially in the tropical weather where oil palms grow. This means that CRF releases the elements N, P and K at the same rate all the time, whether it’s the rainy season or not. CRF continues to release nutrients come rain or shine.
Plantations that have switched to using CRF fertilizers have reported an increase of productivity of at least 10%. Some have even seen an increase of up to 25% in productivity. Scientific studies done on the effects of CRF have found that it causes oil palms to produce bigger and more fruits. Additionally, the size of leaves, trunks and roots of the trees are much better too.
Increased productivity with CRF can be attributed to the fact that the oil palms are supplied with nutrients on a consistent basis, with no gaps of low nutrition in the middle.
Increased Fertilizer Uptake and Utilization
Oil palms provided with CRF have been found to have a better uptake and usage of fertilizers. This is because oil palms are not bombarded with a high dosage of nutrients all at once. Instead, they’re able to take up these essential elements at a steady rate and carry out all the important metabolic functions without disruption.
With regular fertilizers, a lot of the macro-nutrients are lost, especially during rainy seasons when the fertilizers are dissolved into the soil but the plants don’t need them. A lot of it is then left in the soil as unwanted residue.
CRFs on the other hand, release nutrients at a lower rate, even if there’s a lot of rain. This means a lot of the fertilizer is reserved and taken up exclusively by the oil palm.
Our Daebak Controlled Release Fertilizer is meant to keep your oil palms happy and healthy, while easing your plantation management process. Choose Daebak to save time, resources and bring down operation costs in the long term.
In the development and maintainance of the fertilizer industry, there are several problems and challenges that need to be solved.
- Need for more fertilizer
As the population of the world increases on a daily basis, more and more food production is needed in both developed and developing countries. Therefore, to sustain this situation, more fertilizer is needed to be produced. As an increased population is expected over the years, the world fertilizer consumption is expected to double up within the few coming years.
- Infrastructure difficulties
In producing more fertilizer, another obstacle is the infrastructure difficulties. This term refers to mainly the infrastructure such as fertilizer plants especially in developing countries. In these countries, there is less effort to develop fertilizer industry but instead production is more focused on other industries that are more beneficial in terms of cash.
Other than that, utilities inadequacy also causes problems in the industry. Utilities such as power supply, and water are limited in developing countries where the fertilizer plants are mainly built away from cities and thus limits power and water supply. Raw materials and final product transportation also is a challenge as the cost for transporting these materials is high.
- Delays in construsting fertilizer projects and bringing them into production
The delays refer to the time lag from the date expenses are obtained and orders placed to the date when production actually takes place. In developed countries, this process takes up to 2 years while in developing countries, 4 years. This delay is caused by several other delays in form of local equipment supllies, man power and raw materials.
What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology basically refers to the technology of utilizing particles with very small size, nano. Nano is a unit of measurement which means one-billionth of a meter, which is extremely small. One example of naturally occuring nanoparticle is zeolite. Zeolite is used as fertilizer by some industries. Viewing the benefits of nanofertilizer, materials are now engineered for this use.
There are three main classes of nanofertilizer:
- Nanoscale fertilizer: these are nanoparticles that contain nutrients.
- Nanoscale additives: traditional fertilizer added with nanoscale additives.
- Nanoscale coating: traditional fertilizer coated or loaded with nanoparticles.
Benefits of using nanofertilizer
Using nanofertilizer to supply nutrients to the plants not only is efficient, but is also not harmful to the environment. This is so, using nanofertilizer reduces leaching as it is easily and quickly absorbed into the roots. Next, the slow and controlled release of nutrients do not stress up the plants. There is also an improvement in nutrient uptake and water holding capacity. With all the proper nutrients provided, the plant productivity and health will also be improved.
Since the nanofertilizer industry is still small scaled and just beginning, there are a few possible designs of fertilizer which may be implemented:
- Slow release: nutrients are slowly released over a period of time.
- Quick release: nanoparticles break up upon contact with surface of plants.
- Moisture release: released with presence of moisture.
- Specific release: nutrients released based on certain conditions such as chemicals or enzymes.
- Heat release: nutrients released when the surrounding temperature exceeds a set maximum temperature.
The nanofertilizer industry seems promising but more research is needed in order to produce in large capacities.
Oil palms need all sorts of nutrients in their daily lives in order to grow and produce fruit. One of these nutrients that are extremely important is Boron. In order to maintain the levels of Boron in soil, Borate fertilizers are often used.
Borate fertilizers are also known as Calcined Ulexite and we at Everchem have our very own brand, the Daebak Borate fertilizer. This fertilizer is designed with you in mind. We have invested years of research and development to bring you a fertilizer that suits your needs completely.
Daebak Borate fertilizer stands out as a source of Boron for your crops. Here’s why:
Available in two forms
The Daebak Borate fertilizer comes in two forms, powder and granules. Both are light grey in color and have a high level of bio-availability for roots. Both these forms are easy to handle and disperse, both manually and by machine. They are also designed to have minimal runoff and stay within the soil in order to enrich the palms.
Rapid correction of Boron deficiency
Boron deficiency is more prominent in coastal plantations where there is lower organic matter and the soil is sandy with a high humidity. Additionally, soils that are slightly alkaline will have a lower availability of Boron too. In cases like this, you’ll need a fertilizer that can be soluble enough to reach the oil palm roots and Daebak Borate fertilizer can do just that.
More leaves and fruits
Boron is necessary for the movement of Calcium in making strong plant cell walls. It is therefore needed in the division of cells as the root tips, leaf pinnacles and bud development. Without Boron, there is a high possibility that your trees may be stunted in growth. Daebak Borate fertilizer provides the Boron needed by your oil palms to grow big, strong and steady.
Boron is a key element in the balance of sugar and carbohydrates in oil palms and is necessary for the plant to form fruits rich in oil. If you want your palms to produce better fruits, make sure that they’re not short on Boron.
Multiple modes of application
Since Daebak Borate fertilizer is also available in powder form, this makes them suitable to be turned into a liquid suspension. In this liquid form they can be applied to the leaves in addition to the soil. Certain studies have found that Boron is absorbed more efficiently by the leaves. This means that you have more options when applying our Borate fertilizer.
Daebak Borate fertilizer is made from the best Calcite Ulexite minerals that are found naturally in as salts in the earth. They are processed with no harmful additives, so what you get is a naturally occurring mineral that is completely safe for you and your oil palms. They’re also completely safe for the soil when applied at the correct rates and amounts.
Give Daebak Borate fertilizers a try today and see it completely transform your plantation into a thriving one that’s healthy and sustainable for the long term.
What is sea salt?
Sea salt is made up of crystallized minerals that are left over once sea water evaporates. Sea salt and table salt are very distinct from one another. While sea salt contains several types of minerals, table salt contains only sodium chloride.
Some of the minerals contained in sea salt include sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and traces of other minerals that will be passed on to the plants once absorbed by the roots.
Self made sea salt fertilizer
Sea salt can be obtained from stores selling fertilizers and fungicides for various plants. However, if there is access to a clean and unpolluted source of sea water, it can also be prepared at home with several simple steps.
- Collect sea water from clean a source into a milk jug or soda bottle.
- Filter the sea water through a cheesecloth into a pot to remove any impurities and unwanted dirt.
- Boil the sea water until 90% of the sea water evaporates.
- Pour the mixture, which should now look like wet sand, into a shallow pan and leave uncovered for 3 to 5 days until it dries up. While drying, stir occasionally.
- Once dried, store the salt in a container for further usage.
How to apply?
Sea salt can be applied to plants either on its own or mixed with water. For more efficiency however, it is better to be applied by dissolving in water. This makes it easier for the plants to absorb the nutrients from the sea salt. In order to minimize the number of spraying time, this sea salt as fertilizer can be mixed and applied along with other fertilizers or fungicides that dissolve in water.
When applying sea salt as fertilizer, the following steps can be followed:
- Dissolve salt in a small amount of water and filter before putting it into sprayer. Only one teaspoon shall be used for one gallon of water.
- If any fungicides or fertilizers are to be applied, combine with sea salt water in the sprayer.
- Spray the mixture onto the plants until water begins to run off.
For the best results, repeat the procedure every one or two weeks during growth season of the plants. For increased results, combine and use the sea salt fertilizer with nitrogen fertilizer during plant growth season.
Malaysia’s annual budget for the following is usually presented somewhere in October each year. For 2019, the budget was announced to the public on November 2nd2018. This budget was a historic one, since it was the first budget to be presented by the new government formed by Pakatan Harapan. This meant that it was the first time in a history that government that wasn’t Barisan Nasional presented a budget, and many had high hopes.
At the end of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s speech, there were mixed responses. It was clear that some thought it was a fairly good budget, while others were critical of the fact that it was too expansionary in a time when debts were high.
Caption: Finance minister Lim Guan Eng presents the 2019 budget in parliament ( Credit: Lim Guan Eng official FB]
The agricultural sector was also highlighted in 2019 budget speech. Most of the announcements affect oil palm plantation owners directly. In general, the Ministry of Primary Industries was RM507 million.Here are some highlights that are relevant to the oil palm industry:
Reduction in Foreign Worker Extension Levy
The oil palm industry depends heavily on the laborious work of foreign workers, especially those from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The work is often very physically demanding and not many locals are interested in these types of jobs.
In order to reduce the burden of agriculture landowners, the government has decided to increase the discount given for visa extensions on workers who have worked for 10 years or more. In the past it used to be RM3,500 but now it’s RM10,000. This initiative was introduced to help improve the shortage of workers in the agricultural industry.
The Setting Up of Biodiesel Programs
In order to increase the demand for palm oil, the ministry will be carrying out two biodiesel programs namely the Biodiesel B10 program for the transportation industry and the B7 program for the industrial sector. B10 biodiesels are a mix of 10% ester methyls from palm oils whereas the rest of the 90% will be diesel from conventional petroleum.
Assistance to Obtain MPSO Certification
A sum of RM30 million has been set aside to help oil palm smallholders to become more competitive in the global market. This can be achieved by helping them obtain the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification. Palm oil from sustainable plantations are able to fetch a higher price in the international market as the world becomes more environmentally conscious.
Other Allocations for the Agricultural Sector
In general , the government has also set aside RM47 million for the research and development. These initiatives will focus on improving, seed, fruit yield and the like. Additionally, there is also RM52 million set aside for the training of youth entrepreneurs who are interested starting their own agricultural businesses.
The outlook for 2019 in the oil palm industry in Malaysia seems positive, especially with certain parties predicting the increase in palm oil prices. With this said however, it is the responsibility of smallholders and bigger companies to protect themselves against uncertain market forces and plan their budgets accordingly.
Not many planters know this, but over-fertilizing your plants is actually more dangerous than under-fertilizing them. This means that if you put too much fertilizer, your plants will start to get sick from poisoning. The symptoms of fertilizer toxicity in oil palms can look very much like nutrient deficiency.
How does over-fertilization happen?
This is why effective fertilizer management is important. The main cause of fertilizer toxicity is poor fertilizer management. This is how it can happen:
- Pollution from nearby industrial sources, causing the soil to be flooded with heavy metal run-off
- Poorly trained workers or high turnover rate leading to erroneous methods of fertilizer application due to inexperience.
- Over-generalization of large plantations i.e. assuming that the whole plantation has the same fertilizer needs.
- Failing to do soil content evaluations regularly, leading to over-application of fertilizers the oil palms don’t need.
- Over-enthusiasm to push oil palms to increase production using fertilizers.
As such, there should be important steps taken so that over-fertilization does not occur and proper management is put in place.
Strategies for Fertilizer Management
You as a planter or plantation owner will have to adopt good production strategies to avoid fertilizer poisoning in your palms. For starters, conduct thorough soil assessments regularly.
Secondly, determine your output and growth targets. Once you determine your goals, you can then determine if there are areas in your plantation that are not meeting production targets. Fertilizers should be targeted at those locations, rather than applied at a standard level all throughout the plantation.
Finally, you should monitor those targeted areas to see if the fertilizers you applied are effective in raising production levels. If your strategy is not working, then you’ll have to re-examine it to see what went wrong or how it can be improved.
How does Fertilizer Toxicity Look Like?
Usually, the three main plant nutrients, N (Nitrogen),P (Phosphorus) and K (Potassium) will not cause toxicity. The ones causing toxicity would be the micronutrients which the oil palm needs in very small amounts. When they are present in higher amounts, this causes certain unhealthy symptoms to appear on the palms. Here are some of these signs to look out for:
Smaller roots which will impair root functions. When roots shrink, the oil palm will have difficulty absorbing Magnesium (Mg) and K from the ground, resulting in Mg and K deficiency.
Nickel toxicity produces narrow, fishnet looking pattern of chlorosis along younger leaves.
Copper toxicity can be easily seen on leaves with the presence of small, uneven brown spots. These spots have depressed areas in the middle and will fuse together to form one large spot with yellow borders.
Boron toxicity can be seen at the tops of leaves, especially at the distal end and moving downwards in the form of chlorotic lines. These lines soon become necrotic and spread through the entire leaves.
A fine line between fertilizer deficiency and toxicity
Fertilizer deficiency can be corrected, but if you go beyond the recommended application rate, this can cause the oil palms to experience toxicity instead. Therefore, it’s crucial not to use fertilizers in an excessive manner.