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Long-term crop residue application maintains oil palm yield and temporal stability of production

Long-term crop residue application maintains oil palm yield and temporal stability of production
Long-term crop residue application maintains oil palm yield and temporal stability of production
Crop residue management is an important agricultural practice that has a high potential to improve soil health and optimize crop production. Compared to annual crops, relatively little is known about crop residue management effects on the yield and temporal stability of perennial crop production. Oil palm is an economically important tropical crop, which development has been reported to contribute to severe soil degradation. The use of crop residue application has been shown to enhance soil quality and soil ecosystem functions of oil palm cultivation. However, this management technique is not widely implemented mainly due to the uncertainty of the yield responses, compared to the conventional practice of using solely chemical fertilizers as nutrient inputs. This study aims to understand the effects of crop residue application on oil palm yield and temporal stability of production. We examined a major oil palm residue, the empty fruit bunch (EFB), which has been shown to mitigate soil degradation by increasing soil fertility and soil biological activities; however, its effects on crop yield remain unclear. We compared 15 years of crop yield performance from a field trial of continuous EFB application of three application rates, and a reference treatment of conventional chemical fertilizers with no addition of EFB, from an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia. Results show that EFB application either maintained or increased crop yield, compared to the reference treatment. Specifically, the medium application rate of EFB treatment (60 t ha-1 yr-1) resulted in higher cumulative and annual crop yield than the reference treatment, and the increase was positively associated with soil organic carbon. Yield stability over 15 years was similar under EFB of three application rates and the reference treatment, while increases in relative humidity positively influenced crop yield with a lag effect of two years. These findings will inform the design of optimal EFB application schemes that enhance sustainable intensification of oil palm cultivation.
1773-0155
Tao, Hsiao-Hang
8465d23d-f71d-41c4-b49e-f0a0ff09035b
Snaddon, Jake
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Slade, Eleanor M.
12ef36e4-a609-4fa9-89af-b2ad4479d015
Caliman, Jean Pierre
0cbbd452-822a-4ef2-a092-508b75e3f27f
Widodo, Rudi
af78583d-5600-4c36-8b9f-61b89b9ad705
Suhardi,
660f983a-5399-4719-b157-da5d3cb5a957
Willis, Katherine J.
7ab089d1-4fd6-40aa-90d8-b55bf5ab0edb
Tao, Hsiao-Hang
8465d23d-f71d-41c4-b49e-f0a0ff09035b
Snaddon, Jake
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Slade, Eleanor M.
12ef36e4-a609-4fa9-89af-b2ad4479d015
Caliman, Jean Pierre
0cbbd452-822a-4ef2-a092-508b75e3f27f
Widodo, Rudi
af78583d-5600-4c36-8b9f-61b89b9ad705
Suhardi,
660f983a-5399-4719-b157-da5d3cb5a957
Willis, Katherine J.
7ab089d1-4fd6-40aa-90d8-b55bf5ab0edb

Tao, Hsiao-Hang, Snaddon, Jake, Slade, Eleanor M., Caliman, Jean Pierre, Widodo, Rudi, Suhardi, and Willis, Katherine J. (2017) Long-term crop residue application maintains oil palm yield and temporal stability of production. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 37 (4), [33]. (doi:10.1007/s13593-017-0439-5).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Crop residue management is an important agricultural practice that has a high potential to improve soil health and optimize crop production. Compared to annual crops, relatively little is known about crop residue management effects on the yield and temporal stability of perennial crop production. Oil palm is an economically important tropical crop, which development has been reported to contribute to severe soil degradation. The use of crop residue application has been shown to enhance soil quality and soil ecosystem functions of oil palm cultivation. However, this management technique is not widely implemented mainly due to the uncertainty of the yield responses, compared to the conventional practice of using solely chemical fertilizers as nutrient inputs. This study aims to understand the effects of crop residue application on oil palm yield and temporal stability of production. We examined a major oil palm residue, the empty fruit bunch (EFB), which has been shown to mitigate soil degradation by increasing soil fertility and soil biological activities; however, its effects on crop yield remain unclear. We compared 15 years of crop yield performance from a field trial of continuous EFB application of three application rates, and a reference treatment of conventional chemical fertilizers with no addition of EFB, from an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia. Results show that EFB application either maintained or increased crop yield, compared to the reference treatment. Specifically, the medium application rate of EFB treatment (60 t ha-1 yr-1) resulted in higher cumulative and annual crop yield than the reference treatment, and the increase was positively associated with soil organic carbon. Yield stability over 15 years was similar under EFB of three application rates and the reference treatment, while increases in relative humidity positively influenced crop yield with a lag effect of two years. These findings will inform the design of optimal EFB application schemes that enhance sustainable intensification of oil palm cultivation.

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Tao_et al_ Agronomy for Sustainable Development_Manuscript 2016.12.16 - Author's Original
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Accepted/In Press date: 23 June 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 28 July 2017
Published date: August 2017
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 411914
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411914
ISSN: 1773-0155
PURE UUID: 5f20e39b-778f-4919-b41f-595739930a0a
ORCID for Jake Snaddon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3549-5472

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Date deposited: 29 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:07

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