Utilizing Empty Leaves in Oil Palm Gardens as Fertilizer
The use of empty bunches for organic fertilization in the cultivation of oil palm plantations is very possible, although the benefits will be felt in the second year of application. The use of empty fruit bunches as fertilizer also proves that oil palm plantations can be managed in an environmentally friendly manner.
Palm oil is one of the highest vegetable oil-producing plants among all vegetable oil-producing plants, this plant has the potential for oil production to reach 7 tons of crude palm oil (CPO) per hectare.
To achieve a high yield (oil yield) of CPO, it is necessary to prepare superior seeds, best cultivation techniques (Best Practice Management), proper fertilization and best harvesting techniques, as well as processing CPO with high standards.
Proper fertilization is one of the important jobs in plantations that can affect the level of FFB and CPO production, which are the main sources of income for oil palm plantation companies.
In general, oil palm fertilization is divided into two types of fertilization, namely inorganic fertilization and organic fertilization.
Inorganic fertilization is fertilization using chemical fertilizers that are needed by oil palm plants to grow well and produce high yields. Inorganic fertilizers are: Urea (Nitrogen), MOP (Potassium), TSP, RP (Phosphate), Kieserite (Magnesium), Dolomite (Magnesium), Borate (HGFB), special peat such as Cu (CUSO4), Zinc (ZnSO4), Ferrous sulfate (FeSO4).
Meanwhile, organic fertilization is fertilization using organic materials either naturally or assisted with a touch of biotechnology. One of the uses of organic fertilizers, among others, is the application of empty fruit bunches and liquid waste from the Palm Oil Mill.
Fertilization that must be carried out by oil palm plantations is fertilizing empty fruit bunches, because the empty fruit bunches produced are very large, namely 20% of the processed fresh fruit bunches (FFB). Palm oil mills with a processing capacity of 45 tons/hour or can process an average of 900 tons of FFB per day will be able to produce 180 tons of empty fruit per day.
If the factory has an incinerator that has received permission from the Environmental Service, the empty stump will be burned and can produce 10% of janjang ash or 18 tons per day which can be used as fertilizer for oil palm plantations.
The empty stumps produced by 180 tons/day will be used as fertilizer in oil palm plantations with a dose of 35 tons/ha for oil palm plantations, so the area that can be fertilized is 5 ha/day or 1,500 ha/year if the utilization is 100%. Usually the utilization is 85% or the same as fertilizing empty studs which can be carried out in an area of 1.275 Ha / year.
This potential is very large and must be utilized by oil palm plantations because if it is not utilized it will become a waste problem for factories and plantations, namely: prone to fires, sources of pests and diseases and reducing the neatness of the garden and violating environmental laws.
It happened once in a large company that did not use empty vacancies in the field or burned them in an incinerator, then after so many years the piles of empty bald bales mount up to a height that exceeds the factory building.
Such conditions encourage increased attacks of dangerous pests for oil palm plantations, namely the horn beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros). Finally, because the conditions were very urgent and dangerous for the oil palm plantations, an incinerator permit was taken care of and the empty stumps were then burned and sown in the field and within 2 years the empty stumps were under control.