Agronomy Research Expertise in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon (South of France)

Agronomy : crops and cropping systems

Keywords :

Diagnostic methods to improve tropical tree crop productivity

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

Tall mature palm trees (12 m and taller): skilled labour required for pole use (Ecuador).- © B. Dubos In humid tropical areas, the expansion of oil palm, natural rubber, coffee and cocoa cropping to meet growing world demand raises environmental issues. It is thus essential to enhance the productivity of established plantations by targeting higher sustainable crop yields using environment-friendly cropping practices.

Researchers of the UPR Performance of Tree Crop-Based Systems are developing decision support tools to analyse crop plots and enhance their technical management. ‘Diagnostic foliaire’ is a tool for close management of fertilization in palm orchards on the basis of leaf analyses. ‘Diagnostic sol’ is used to calculate manure requirements in coffee and cocoa plantations on the basis of soil analyses. ‘Diagnostic latex’ is used to manage latex tapping in natural rubber trees on the basis of latex analyses.

Once developed, these tools are tested, tailored to local situations and gradually improved. ‘Diagnostic foliaire’ has thus been used for a few decades on hundreds of thousands of hectares of commercial palm plantations worldwide to determine optimal fertilizer quantities to apply. It will now be combined with a second tool, i.e. ‘Diagnostic rachis’. It has also been adapted for the purposes of enhancing technical advice for oil-palm smallholders in Cameroon. ‘Diagnostic sol’ has just been used to draw up a cocoa fertilization advice map for Ghana on the basis of a soil map. ‘Diagnostic latex’ which can improve the sustainable management of natural rubber plantations, is being applied in Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, India), Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon) and Latin America (Brazil, Guatemala). This tool is currently being developed to facilitate the selection of clones best suited for growing in marginal ecoclimatic conditions.

Eric Gohet; Didier Snoeck; Sylvain Rafflegeau

Publication date: 30/05/2010




Update on 19/04/12


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