Oil palm is one of the Malaysia important agriculture products. The oil palm will be processed becomes crude palm oil. Meanwhile the by-product such as waste water sludge, EFB fibre, mesocarp fibre are the raw material for many commodities, you could find out the details from our oil palm products article.
Recently I got the opportunity following a friend going to his oil palm estate. His oil palm estate is a standard partition with about 4 ekar in area. The time we visited his palm oil estate also the moment the Indonesia workers were harvesting, so I got the opportunity seeing more activities during my visit.
Location of Oil Palm Estate
Many lands in peninsular Malaysia have converted to oil palm estate. Perak is not the state with the biggest oil palm estate however the people over here have many experiences about this agriculture product.
The oil palm estate I am visiting is located at Hilir Perak, about 10km before Bagan Datoh. We drive Hulux 4WD going to the estate, lucky we have this car because the estate road is quite bumpy which not favour for ordinary car.
During our journey, we pass by several junctions heading to Bagan Pasir, Sungai Belukang, famous fishing village in Hilir Perak. I wish I could plan a trip to these fishing villages some day after my trip to Sungai Besar fishing village at Selangor.
That day was a sunny day and takes us about 50min from Teluk Intan before arriving to the oil palm estate. What a hot day!
Oil Palm Estate
We can learn several criteria while walking in the oil palm estate, here are a few criteria:
Oil Palm Tree. Every ekar of oil palm estate could plant around 55-60 trees of oil palm tree. The tree is planted proper distance and order. This is to ensure every oil palm tree is having sufficient space for growing.
Water way. A high harvest oil palm estate is always comes with a proper water way layout. The waterway will regulate the excessive water and ensure the water be delivered to every tree evenly.
Fresh fruit bunch. Oil palm fresh fruit bunch grows around the oil palm tree. A young fresh fruit is small and dark in colour. While the oil palm fresh fruit turn yellowish to orange colour, indicates the fresh fruit is mature and ready to harvest.
Factors Affecting Oil Palm Yield
An ekar of oil palm estate could harvest every 15-20 days. This implies there will be 3 harvesting on every 2 months. In general, an ekar land of oil palm estate will deliver 1MT of oil palm fresh fruit bunch. There are several factors affecting the harvesting yield:
Fertilizer. Oil palm is the crop requires sufficient fertilizer. An experience planter will introduce difference kind of fertilizer at respective seasons, such as NPK fertilizer or organic compost fertilizer. An experience planter will have his own management plan on putting appropriate fertilizer on the soil.
Raining Season. Oil palm tree have to take tremendous amount of water to ensure the profound harvesting. Draught season will definitely hit the oil palm output but not necessary immediately. Year 2014, Malaysia is encountering a serious draught season from March till September, the oil palm harvesting yield was not affected during the period. However since September, planter encounters a severe drop (50-70% drop in volume) on oil palm harvesting. The low harvesting scenarios has last for almost 6 months.
Grass Removal. A neat oil palm plantation is a plantation with minimum raw grass. The grass will makes the harvesting more harder.
Oil Palm Leaf Removal. During the trip, I saw a plantation with long leaf which looks ugly. The leaf should have been removed after the rim of oil palm fresh fruit being removed.
The trip to oil palm estate is really interesting. I only spend 1-2 hours in the estate, but I learn a lot of knowledge about oil palm and it fresh fruit. I am looking forward for next trip.