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Effects of Cattle Grazing on Oil Palm Yield

C.P. Chen and L. 't Mannetje

78 Taman Sri Reko, Jalan Reko, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia


Dept of Agronomy, Wagenigen Agricultural University, The Netherlands

INTRODUCTION

The successful development and produc-

tion of oil palm industry in Malaysia as


major earning in agriculture was attributed
to the significance of the R & D in the agronomic and management advances, as
commented by Chan (1995) in a review of
palm oil industry over the past 90 years.
The attribution was categorized in 3 stages
i.e. (a) 1905-1965: 60 years in better understanding of the adaptation of oil palm and
its environment, (b) 1965-1985: 20 years in
adoption of appropriate and sustainable
cultural practices in line with fast expanding oil palm hectare and oil sector of the
industry; (c) 1985-1995: 10 years in coordination and planning to increase and support the palm oil consumption and to preserve the environment. Thus, to remain
competitive, the agronomists must produce
more on the same piece of land by looking more unsolved physical, chemical and
engineering problems from a multi-disciplinary, site specific and balance nutrients
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approach. Checking on the 16 large scale


fertilizer experiments (inclusive of organic
and inorganic fertilizers) carried out in
Chemera between 1983 and 1991, Chan et
al (1993) found that the significant improvement in yields achieved were due to multiple factor interactions and not attributable
to any one single factor. A yield improvement ranging between 5 to 30% was recorded on a base mean FFB (fresh fruit
bunch) yield of around 22 ton/ha/yr.
The competition for nitrogen between
weeds and the principal crop has been a
major concern in plantation management.
Aggressive and excessive growth of weeds
and woody bushes depressed early tree
growth and crop yield (Watson et al., 1964a,
b, Soong and Yap 1976) as compared with
leguminous cover crops. It was reported
that through the decomposition of leaf litter, leguminous cover increased tree crop
yields (Tajuddin et al., 1980, Pushparajah and
Mahmud 1977, Mainstone 1961). Alternatively,
the holistic approach in Livestock-tree crop-

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ping systems (Chen 1993) and the draught


buffaloes in FFB evaluation in field indicate the new aspects of work which can
cut down the usage of herbicide, saving on
weeding and production cost and production of meat and animal as value added
downstream processing products. There
are, currently, 13-18 rounds of herbicide
sprayed as weed control during immature
phase of oil palm (Chung 1994, Chen and
Chee 1993). However, the extent of the effect of the animal grazing on palm growth
and production is still unknown. Questions
associated with palm and livestock productions such as the stocking rate effects, the
soil compaction due to grazing, the suppressing effect of weeds to oil palm, and
the consequence of frond damage to crop
yield, have yet to be quantified. Although,
severe frond damage of up to 45% of the
total number of frond per palm and the
significant effect of animal trampling on
soil were detected in an earlier work (unpublished data).
Through a damage simulation trial, Wood
et al. (1972) reported that the yield losses
as high as 30-40% from a single 50% defoliation have been estimated for mature 8year old palm. It was confirmed further by
Liau and Ahmad (1993) that crop yield
losses of 30-40%, 12-24% and less than 4%
for 50% defoliation of the corresponding
age of 8 year, 2-year and l-year old palm.
Attribution of yield losses was the switch
towards more male and less female inflorescence. Where defoliation was inflicted
early, the immature palms took l-1 years
to recover from the stress. In response for

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the loss of foliage, there was a significantly


higher production of frond in the more
severely defoliated treatments. Similar stress
appears when severe pruning is allowed in
practice of which the leaf area indexes
(LAI) will be affected (Corley 1973) whereby
resulting in depressed yield (Yeow et al.,
1981). It also increases male inflorescence
production (Gray 1969, Yeow et al., 1981).
For palm aged between 8-12 years old, it
appears that at least 32 frond/palm should
be retained to prevent yield production
(Table 1). After this age, the rate of frond
production and mean leaf area are approximately constant (Corley and Hew 1976).
Under normal circumstances, the average
production of oil palm (D x P) on inland
soil is between 20.5 to 26.4 ton/ha/year,
while its production at different stages are
1.1 (2-3 years), 4.5 (3-4 year) 13.1 (4-5 year),
17.7 (5-6 year) 20.0 (6.7 year) and 21.2 ton/
ha (7-8 year) (Turner and Gillbanks 1974). In
a density study involving three varieties at
two localities in Sumatra, Redshaw and Sigg
(1993) reported an average FFB yield of
23.0-26.0 ton/ha/year was obtained at a
density of 143 palm/ha. Further to that of
palm density study it was recorded at 136
palm/ha the overall mean oil palm yields
at different stages of palm growth were
ll.9 kg/ha in year l of harvest; 21.0 ton/ha
in year 2;24.8 ton/ha in year 3;25.9 ton/ha
in year 4; 20.1 ton/ha in year 5; 29.1 ton/
ha in year 6 and 28.9 ton/ha in year 7.
It was reported in Central America that the
negative effect of cattle grazing on oil palm
yield was linked to the compaction of soil
(Umana 1995). However, when under prop-

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Table 1. Effect of pruning on yield of palms (ton/ha/yr.) at different ages


Age (years of planting) 5
Experiment No.
No. Pruning
64 (leaves/palm)
56
48
40
32
24
Standard error

25.1
25.4
24.2
24.9
24.6
22.9
0.90

24.6
23.7
23.0
22.8
20.6
16.0
0.90

27.0
25.5
21.8
-

26.2
25.2
25.4
24.0
21.7
18.4
0.85

19.0
20.2
19.6
18.4
18.0
15.3
0.65

19.4}
-}
21.0
19.7
19.5
18.4
15.5
-

Mean
(experiment
3 excluded)
22.9
23.1
22.4
21.9
20.7
17.6
-

Source: Corley and Hew (1976)

erly controlled mob grazing system in Malaysia no specific adverse effects on soil and
on crop yield were recorded (Chen and
Harun 1994). Therefore, it was the utmost
intention in this paper to assess the effects
of cattle grazing on oil palm FFB production. With the assistance of regression analyses of different variables of oil palm yield,
it could quantify all the effects associated
with the parameters involved.
Harvesting of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) was
carried out 3 times a month during the first
year but changed to twice monthly in the
subsequent years. All ripen fruit bunches of
individually numbered palms within each
paddock were collected, weighed and recorded instantly for yearly information on:
(a) FFB yield (kg/ha), (b) FFB yield (kg/
palm), (c) number of bunch/palm, (d)
number of bunch/ton, and (e) bunch
weight (kg/bunch).

Relationship Between
Various Agronomic Variables
Efforts were made through correlation
study in order to understand each indepenF EED R ESOURCES

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dent agronomic parameter in their interactive manner recorded in this experiment.


(a) The frond damage and its severity per
palm caused by grazing cattle (unpublished data) recorded at 3, 12, 20 and
46 months of grazing were related to
various crop yield parameters as mentioned above, over the years of production.
(b) Soil compaction information (unpublished data) at different distances from
the palm base (0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 m) and
soil profiles (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 cm
soil depth) recorded at 20, 39, and 54
months of grazing were correlated with
the oil palm root density developed at
0-20 cm and 20=40 cm soil profiles in
5 samplings at 20, 36, 48, 60 and 72
months of age
(c) The annual forage availability (unpublished data) of all the treatments were
corresponding to its yearly oil palm
yields which included FFB yield per
hectare and per palm, bunch number
per palm and per ton, and bunch weight.
Similarly, both of their cumulative effects were analyzed.

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(d) The associations of stocking rate (C1,


C2, SR1.0, SR2,0 and SR3,0) with oil
palm yield (FFB per hectare and per
palm, bunch per palm and per ton, and
bunch) were compiled over the years
for the regression analyses.

RESULTS
Annual Fresh Fruit Bunch Production
(FFB kg/ha/year)
The annual production of fresh fruit bunch
(FFB) increased sharply from initial year of

approximately 1.8 times per year to 2.4 %


per year (Table 2).

Annual Fresh Fruit Per Palm (FFB kg/


palm/year)
The increase in FFB yield of individual
young palm reached a stable stage at around
the 6th year, giving a mean value of 167
kg/palm/year (Table 3).
Although there were no significant differences between treatments over the experimental period of FFB per palm except in
year III and V, there was a clear trend show-

Table 2. Effect of cattle grazing on fresh fruit bunch production per hectare (FFB Kg/ha)
Treatment

C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Mean
Significant level

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Yr. I

Yr. II

Yr. III

Yr. IV

Yr. V

Yr. VI

Yr. VII

Yr. VIII

2370
1694
2022
2409
3968
2486
Ns

7554
6042
6316
7247
7264
6884
ns

12592a
*10660c
13918bc
16338ab
18790 a
14459
p<0.05

19893
17879
22005
23321
(19003)
21420
ns

1833b
26520 a
23359 a
24803 a
23714 a
23346
p<0.01

24643
25908
25430
(24654)
23533
24833
ns

24376
22737
(26389)
28560
52120
25436
ns

22900
24863
26340
24468
24367
24387
ns

* Herbicide sprayed on Oct. 16, 1984; ns=not significant;


a,b,c means within column indicate significant differences at given probability levels
( )= stocking rates adjusted on July 21, 1985; September 13, 1987; August 17, 1986, respectively.

Table 3. Effect of cattle grazing on fresh fruit bunch production per palm (Kg FFB /palm)
Treatment

C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Mean
Significant level

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Yr. I

Yr. II

Yr. III

Yr. IV

Yr. V

Yr. VI

Yr. VII

Yr. VIII

16.2
11.5
13.4
16.1
26.8
16.8
Ns

51.5
41.3
41.9
48.5
49.3
46.5
ns

85.9 bc
*72.8 c
92.2 bc
109.1 ab
127.0 a
97.4
p<0.05

134.8
122.3
145.6
154.6
(128.1)
137.1
ns

124.0c
181.8 a
154.5b
165.5 ab
159.8 ab
157.0
p<0.01

166.5
177.5
168.2
(164.0
158.8
167.0
ns

163.7
155.6
(174.5)
189.7
169.2
170.5
ns

154.4
70.4
174.0
162.7
163.6
165.0
ns

* Herbicide sprayed on Oct. 16, 1984; ns=not significant;


a,b,c means within column indicate significant differences at given probability levels
( ) = stocking rates adjusted on July 21, 1985; September 13, 1987; August 17, 1986, respectively.

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ing non-grazing treatments having lowest


individual palm yields (13.8-166.5 kg/
palm/year) than those under various stocking pressures (18.8-177.8 kg/palm/year).
High stocking treatment SR3.0 produces
highest yield of FFB/palm in the first 3
years (26.8, 49.2 and 127.0 kg/palm, respectively) of harvest. But in year IV, its
yield dropped sharply becoming one of the
lowest yielder per palm among all treatments coinciding with the adjustment of
SR3.0 to SR1.0. It was followed by SR2.0
which took the lead from SR3.0 from year
IV onward till year VII harvest (156.6,
164.9, 163.9 and 189.7 kg/palm, respectively), and then by SR1.0 in the year VIII
(173.9 kg/palm). It was an interesting shift
in performance of stocking rate on FFB/
palm production which again showed the
same phenomenal effect in the sequence of
timing as observed in the FFB yield/ha/
year.
The yield/palm of treatment C2 was the
lowest producing 11.5, 41.3 and 72.8 kg/
palm for the respective harvesting year I,

II, and III. However, when it was sprayed


with herbicide, it recovered and become
the highest yielder for 2 consecutive years
in production with a range 181.8-177.5 kg/
palm. The differences become most prominent (p<0.01) when taking the cumulative
effect of FFB yield/palm into consideration.
By adjusting the stocking rate from SR3.0
to SR1.0 in year IV and from SR2.0 to 0.67
in year VI, an overall increase in individual
palm yield by 24.8% and 15.7% respectively,
was registered. However, later in year VII
the change in stocking rate from SR1.0 to
R0.33 was not showed no effect.

Number of Bunch per Palm (bunch/


palm/year)
The influence of stocking rate on changes
in number of oil palm bunch per palm is
shown in Table 4.
In general, the number of bunches per
palm increased with the increase in age of
plantation; and it reached a stable stage with

Table 4. The influence of stocking rate on changes in oil palm bunch production (bunch/
palm/year)
Treatment

C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Mean
Significant level

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Yr. I

Yr. II

Yr. III

Yr. IV

Yr. V

Yr. VI

Yr. VII

Yr. VIII

6.4
3.6
4.3
5.4
7.4
5.4
Ns

9.7
9.3
9.5
11.0
9.5
7.9
ns

9.5 b
*10.5 b
12.2 ab
14.3 a
13.7 a
12.0
p<0.05

10.6 b
10.6 b
12.9 ab
13.5 a
(10.1) b
11.5
p<0.05

8.7c
13.4 a
11.9 a b
12.7 ab
10.7 bc
11.5
p<0.01

9.1
11.1
9.9
(9.9)
8.6
9.7
ns

7.6 b
7.9 b
(8.8) b
9.8 a
7.9 b
8.4
p<0.05

7.5
8.5
8.6
8.4
7.6
8.1
ns

* Herbicide sprayed on Oct. 16, 1984; ns=not significant;


a,b,c means within column indicate significant differences at given probability levels
( ) = stocking rates adjusted on July 21, 1985; September 13, 1987; August 17, 1986, respectively.

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mean values around 8.1-8.4 bunch/palm at


the year VII and VIII of crop production.
Among all the parameters of crop yield,
this was the only variable that responded
consistently over the years to cattle grazing.
Starting from year III onwards, higher
stocking rate (SR2.0 and SR3.0) treatments
enabled better production of oil palm
bunches when compared with those nongrazing treatments. The production of nongrazing treatments (C1 and C2) were all the
time low, ranging from 3.6 bunches/palm
(year I) to 7.5 bunch/palm in year VIII.
There were changes in bunch number when
adjustments of stocking rate were enforced
at various stages. However, it was noted
that the use of herbicide (C2) in clean weeding (in year III) encouraged higher production of bunches. The significant increases
were from year III (p<0.05) of 10.5
bunch/palm to year IV (p<0.05) of 10.6
bunch/palm, to year IV (p<0.01) of 13.4
bunch/palm.

Number of Bunches per Ton


(bunch/ton/year)
The number of bunch per ton dropped
dramatically (Table 5) during the process
of growing to maturity. It dropped from
as high as 358.1 bunch/ton/year initially to
58.1 bunch/ton/year in the year VI, and
stabilized at year VII and VIII with mean
reading of 49.0 bunch/ton/year. Despite
the non-statistical significance in grazing
treatments, there was a clear trend also indicating the non-grazing paddocks were
lower in bunch number per ton production as compared with those of grazing
(Table 5). However, neither the use of herbicide nor the reduction of stocking rate
had any significant effect to bunch number
per ton of crop production.

Weight of Fresh Fruit Bunch (kg/


bunch/year)
As what were shown in bunch/ton above,
the weight per bunch in crop yield was not
affected by grazing treatments. The mean

Table 5. Stocking rate of cattle on oil palm bunch production (bunch/ton)


Treatment

C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Mean
Significant level

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Yr. I

Yr. II

Yr. III

Yr. IV

Yr. V

Yr. VI

Yr. VII

Yr. VIII

532.2
313.3
322.9
334.8
278.1
358.1
ns

207.9
228.3
230.9
229.9
200.3
219.5
ns

123.6
*150.3
132.73
131.2
110.4
130.2
ns

80.9
87.6
88.6
86.9
(79.6)
84.7
ns

70.4
73.4
77.2
77.2
67.1
73.1
ns

54.4
62.4
58.9
(60.5)
54.6
58.1
ns

46.6
50.6
(50.6)
51.4
46.7
49.1
ns

48.0
49.9
49.2
51.8
46.1
49.0
ns

* Herbicide sprayed on Oct. 16, 1984; ns=not significant;


a,b,c means within column indicate significant differences at given probability levels
( ) = stocking rates adjusted on July 21, 1985; September 13, 1987; August 17, 1986, respectively.

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Table 6. The changes in bunch weight (kg/bunch/year) as affected by cattle grazing.


Treatment

C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Mean
Significant level

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Yr. I

Yr. II

Yr. III

Yr. IV

Yr. V

Yr. VI

Yr. VII

Yr. VIII

2.4
3.2
3.1
3.0
3.5
3.0
ns

5.1
4.4
4.3
4.4
5.1
4.7
ns

8.7
*6.8
7.5
7.6
9.2
8.0
ns

14.3
13.6
12.9
(16.5)
18.4
17.3
ns

18.7
16.1
16.9
(16.5)
18.4
17.3
ns

21.9
19.8
(19.7)
19.4
21.5
20.5
ns

21.0
20.1
20.3
19.3
21.8
20.5
ns

12.6
11.5
11.3
11.5
(12.6)
11.9
ns

* Herbicide sprayed on Oct. 16, 1984; ns=not significant;


a,b,c means within column indicate significant differences at given probability levels
( ) = stocking rates adjusted on July 21, 1985; September 13, 1987; August 17, 1986, respectively.

bunch weight from year I to year VIII


were sequentially ranged as 3.0,4.7, 8.0,
11.9, 13.7, 17.3, 20.5 and 20.5 kg/bunch
(Table 6). However, the SR3.0 was able to
produce superior weight continuously for
the initial 6 years, despite sustaining highest
frond damage.
Again, the bunch weight stabilized at the
7th and 8th year of harvest, but no significant effect of herbicide and stocking rate
adjustments towards the bunch weight. Attempts were made to examine the cumulative effects of the above variables; results
indicated that there were specific indications
of significant differences between treatments in the same parameters examined.

The Relationship Between Forage,


Grazing and Oil Palm Production
a) Relationship of frond damage to oil
palm yield
The immediate destruction of the palms
caused by cattle grazing was the damage to
the frond, which were subsequently affectF EED R ESOURCES

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ing the performance of crop production.


The parameters recorded as number of
fronds damaged per palm and its severity
of damage i.e. in 25%, 50%, 75% and
100% (unpublished data), were related to
the variables in crop yield under grazing.
This allowed further scrutiny of these interacting factors involved in this trial. Table
7 shows the significant responses of oil
palm production to the effect of grazing
in different periods viz. 12 months, 20
months and 46 months. The variables of
oil palm showing positives responses
(P<0.05) were FFB/ha, FFB kg/palm and
number of harvestable bunch/palm while
bunch number/ton and the weight/bunch
responded negatively. The significant differences (P<0.05) in relationship between
the length in period of cattle grazing at l2
and 20 months in frond damage and the
FFB production in year II harvest, carried
cumulative effect towards the number of
bunch/ palm in year IV. Details of the regression analysis of each of the related parameter are shown in Table 7, giving linear
regression equation : Y (FFB production)
= a + b X (frond damage).

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Table 7. The oil palm yield response to the effect of frond damage by cattle at different
periods of time.
Relationship between parameter

Coefficient of
regression

(I) 12 months grazing


(a) Frond damage/palm

Intercept

Slope

Year 3 oil palm yield

(b) Severity of frond damage - 25%


(c) Severity of frond damage - 100%

(II) 20 months grazing


(a) Frond damage/palm
(b) Severity of frond damage - 100%
(c) 20 months grazing
(III) 46 months grazing
Frond damage palm

FFB/ha
FFB/palm

0.6889*
0.6508*

10,8555.5
70.4

495.8
3.5

FFB/ha
FFB/palm

0.7605*
0.7206*

19,904.5
134.8

-177.1
-13

FFB/ha
FFB/palm

0.8096*
0.7682*

7,922.3
49.3

149.9
1.1

Year 3 oil palm yield


FFB/ha
0.7277*
FFB/palm
0.6976*

11,571.6
75.0

344.2
2.5

0.6848*
0.6563*

10,472.1
67.1

99.9
0.7

0.6691*

14.8

-0.2

0.6759*
0.7039*

29,551.4
17.7

-612.2
-0.4

FFB/ha
FFB/palm
Year 4 oil palm yield
Bunch/palm

Year 4 oil palm yield


FFB/ha
FFB/palm

Y (FFB yield) = a + bc (frond damage


*Significant difference at 5% level

b) The association of soil compaction


with root density
Through regression analysis on the association of soil compaction by grazing cattle
with oil palm root density in soil, there were
strong indications showing the close relationship between them even at various soil
profiles of 0-20 cm and 20-40 cm. The linear relationship are summarized in Table 8
with common equation: Y (soil compaction) = a + bc (root density). The amount
of oil palm root established at l2, 48, 60
and 72 months (unpublished data) were significantly linked and caused compaction to
soil where trampling by cattle occurred.

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c) The influence of forage availability


on oil palm yield
The influence of forage availability on oil
palm yield was not consistent except in year
V harvest. A significant correlation coefficient (P<0.05) between annual forage yield
and year V FFB production was detected.
Both the FFB/ha and FFB/palm were recorded significant (Table 9) in relationship.
It was noticeable that the non-grazing treatments had double amount of forage (mean
958 kg/ ha DM), compared with that grazing paddocks (mean 487 kg/ha DM), gave
the lowest yield in FFB/ha (l8,334 kg/ha)
and FFB/palm (123.9 kg/palm). The

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Table 8. Regression analyses on soil compaction by cattle trampling in relation to oil palm
root density at different soil profile.
Soil profile and animal
grazing
(a)

(b)

Root density of palm


(month of age)

Significant
level

Intercept

Slope

12-months old
48-months old
60-months old
72-months old

0.67*
0.32*
0.46*
0.25*

0.0163
0.0180
0.0001
0.0322

20.52
24.70
22.92
23.22

0.63
0.26
0.60
0.44

12-months old
48-months old
60-months old
72-months old

0.58*
0.49**
0.35**
0.40**

0.0473
0.0002
0.0028
0.0005

20.15
24.33
23.84
23.77

1.41
1.14
0.87
0.91

0-20 cm depth
20-month grazing
54-month grazing
54-month grazing
54-month grazing
20-40 cm depth
20-month grazing
54-month grazing
54-month grazing
54-month grazing

Linear equation: Y (soil compaction) = a + bc (root density)


Significant level at *5% and **1%

Table 9. The relationship of forage dry matter and production of oil palm.
Forage DM

Oil palm yield

Variable

Year 7 (1986)

Year 5 (1986)

FFB/ha
FFB/palm

Year 5 (1984)
Cumulative Forage DM

Year 3 (1984)

FFB/ha
FFB/palm

Coefficient of
regression (r)

Intercept

Slope

0.73*
0.83*

27,027.7
184.2

-1.77
-0.013

0.53*
0.52*

29,150.3
197.6

-0.23
-0.001

Linear equation: Y (soil compaction) = a + bc (forage DM)


Significant level at 5%

grazed treatment FFB means were 23,958


kg/ha and 159.7 kg/palm, this indicated
the suppressing effect of forage DM to the
production of FFB. Taking the accumulation of forage DM on FFB production into
consideration, a similar relationship was
obtained but the significant difference were
shifted earlier to year III of production.
There was no evidence of good relationship between the forage DM and bunch
number, bunch weight as being screened.

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d) The correlation of stocking rate on


oil palm production
Analytical results shows that there were quadratic relationship between the stocking rate
and oil palm production. The tabulation of
analytical results is summarized in Table 10.
All the stocking rate treatments viz. C1, C2,
SR1.0, SR2.0 and SR3.0 were closely linked
(p<0.01) over the years of production in
FFB yield (both kg/ha and kg/palm) and
bunch production (bunch per palm, bunch
per ton and its weight). A common qua-

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Table 10. Regression analyses on stocking rate in association with oil palm yield (kg/ha, kg/
palm) and bunch production (bunch/palm, bunch/ton, kg/bunch) over the years of cattle
grazing.
Variable

Quadratic regression
Coefficient of
regression (r)

FFB kg/ha
C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
FFB kg/palm
C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Bunch No./palm
C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Bunch No./ton
C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0
Weight KG/bunch
C1
C2
SR1.0
SR2.0
SR3.0

Significant
level

Intercept
(a)

Year

0.9453**
0.9977**
0.876**
0.9858**
0.9725**

0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001

-564,860
-449,353
-433,558
-502,950
-524,905

12,764.6
11,280.4
9,463.4
11,361.6
11,858.3

-71.617
-63.255
-52.511
63.708
-66.483

0.9453**
0.9785**
0.9875**
0.9858**
0.9725

0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001

-4,034.7
-3,540.5
-3,018.3
-3,592.5
-3,749.3

91.2
79.9
67.6
81.1
84.7

-0.511
-0.448
-0.375
-0.455
-0.475

0.7516
0.7529**
0.7971**
0.7706**
0.7940**

0.0002
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001

-170.5
-231.2
-193.9
-212.4
-184.7

4.0
5.5
4.6
5.0
4.4

-0.024
-0.032
-0.027
-0.029
-0.026

0.7902**
0.9820**
0.9883**
0.9853**
0.9724**

0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001

1,363.3
63,045.5
67,918.3
72,697.9
61,711.9

-3,135.1
-1,436.9
-1,550.4
-1,661.8
-1,410.5

18.0.26
8.194
8.853
9.502
8.065

0.9515**
0.9835**
0.9916**
0.9878**
0.9810**

0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001
0.0001

-1,356.1
-530.0
-491.1
-861.7
-1,013.4

29.1
10.0
9.1
17.8
21.2

-0.153
-0.043
-0.038
-0.089
-0.107

Quadratic equation: Y (oil palm production) = a + bc (year) + b2 + bc2 (year)


** Significant difference at given levels

dratic equation is Y (oil palm production)


= a + c + c2 where c = year. The most
prominent variable in the link was the number of bunch/palm, which indicated the
subtle effect of stocking rate in grazing. The
bunch/palm under C1, C2 and SR3.0 grazing was significantly lowest as compared
with that of SR2.0 and SR1.0. However,
the pressure on the low bunch yield was
later reduced after C2 treatment was
sprayed for clean weeding.

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DISCUSSION

The increasing human population exerts

tremendous pressure on the land use. Maximizing oil palm yield on the same piece of
land especially that had undergone continuous cropping up to the 3rd or 4th replant,
one of the strategies is the refinement in
combining several cultivation and management practices. Basically, the essential component is putting together practices in multi-

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factor approach to achieve higher profit


ranging between 5-39% which ensures additional returns of between RM218/ha to
RM 1,308/ha (Chan 1995, Chan et al., 1993).
The advantage of environment friendly
management practices on integration of livestock with oil palm plantation was reported
reaping an investment return on animal
alone by 35% or RM2.5 million inclusive
of sale and asset of stock in six years (Chen
and Harum, 1994). Whilst the production of
oil palm is effected by the agronomic and
management practices, the soil and climatic
condition, the production on FFB is by far
varying. Under normal plantation management the production of FFB was reported
to be 19.0-22.3 ton/ha/year in inland soil,
19.3-24.8 ton/ha/year on coastal soil (Ng
1972). Foster (1993) quoted higher mean
values ranging 23.5-27.9 ton/ha/year in
fertilizer recommendation system; while in
a density study, Redshaw and Siggs (1993)
obtained 23.0-26.0 ton/ha/year (mean over
cultivar and locality) at l43 palm/ha. With
improvement of planting technique, higher
values of 33.2-40.8 ton/ha/year from 10
to 12 years old palm and 33.2-46.1 ton/
ha/year from 7 to 9 years old palm were
documented (Mohd, Pilus and Zin, 1995). The
FFB yields of present experiment ranged
from 22.7-28.5 ton/ha/year on year V11
and 22.9-26.3 ton/ha/year on year V111
mature palms (Table 2) resulting a normal
range of production in FFB. The comparison was made further to those FFB performance appeared in the earlier years
where overall FFB means of 2.4,6.8, l4.4,
20.4, 23.3, 24.8, 25.4, and 26.4 ton/ha/year
were recorded from year 1 to year V111
harvest, respectively. This was comparable
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to those reported (Redshaw and Siggs 1993)


with overall mean values of l4.9 ton/ha/
year in year 3, l7.6 ton in year 4, 27.9 ton in
year 5, 25.7 ton in year 6,25.3 ton in year 7
and 26.3 ton/ha in year V111. The yields
were certainly more pronounced when
compared with the results of Ramachandran et al. (l972) and Lubis et al (1993). The
latter was subjected to some drought influences which took place once in 4 to 5 years.
However, the present results were not quite
comparable with those of Tan and Ng
(1977) at a lower density of 136 palm/ha
which were shown with higher overall ns
as 11.9, 21.0. 24.8, 25.9, 20.1, 29.1 and 28.9
ton/ha/year from year 1 till year 7, respectively.
Research results showed that cattle grazing
enhanced significantly higher number of
fruit bunch/palm production (Table 4)
which subsequently gave better FFB yield
per palm(Table 3), and yield per hectare
(Table 2) as well. Such effects of stocking
rate came to its limit when high stocking
rate SR3.0 exhausted existing forages in
field. Practically, the animals from high grazing pressure paddocks (GP 0.16 - unpublished data) were then shifting the grazing
from the forage resource to the oil palm
fronds. It thus, resulted in serious frond
damage particularly at high stocking rate
SR3.0 of which 46.8% (or l3.2 fronds/
palm) to 57.1% (or 21.4 fronds/palm) of
fronds of each palm were damaged (unpublished data). The consistent detection of
statistical significance on close relationships
between frond damage and (i) FFB yield
per hectare (ii) FFB yield per palm and (iii)
number of bunch per palm (Table 7) indi-

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55

cated strongly the negative effect of overgrazing of cattle on FFB production. Based
on the results it indicated also the frond
damage of young palm reaching 45% level
was detrimental to oil palm production.

tributed to the increased male inflorescence


and higher abortion rate, which linked to
the sex differentiation of flowering (Chang
et al. 1993 Mohd. Hashim and Yeoh 1985, Corley
1973, Gray 1969).

Under normal conditions any green leaf is


a functional leaf, It should not ideally be
removed until it becomes senescent (Corley
and Hew 1976) and the removal of green
leaves leads to reduction of yield (Sly 1968).
In a damage simulation trial after a single
defoliation, the mature 8 year old palm had
estimated loses of 30% over a period of 2
years (Wood et al l972). For 50% and 100 %
defoliation, the FFB losses in the first 2
years in I year old palms the losses were
30-40%, 12-24% and less than 4% whereas,
when the defoliation was only 12 % and
25%, the losses ranged from 1% to 9%
(Liau and Ahmad 1993).

The most contrasting results obtained were


the responses of FFB yield to grazing. The
treatments of animal grazing produced
consistently higher FFB/ha, FFB/palm,
and bunch/palm and bunch weight than
those non-grazing treatments. It raised a
common question, at this juncture, that
whether or not the forage (or rather the
weeds) posed influences to FFB. The detection of strong relationships between forage and FFB yield (Table 9) assisted in elucidation of the inhibiting effect of forages
to the tree crops. It was repor ted by
Cornaire et al., (1993) that there was a 90%
increase in cumulative yields on 6-year-old
trees grown on bare-soil compared with
those grown with legume crop. Under humid tropical environments of Malaysia, the
annual average of potential evapotranspiration (PET) of immature oil palm was
about 4.5-5.0 mm/day and 5.0-5.5 mm/
day for mature palm. It increased to 6.57.5 mm/day during drought. Oil palm requires high amount of water to compensate losses through PET (Mohd, Pilus and Zin
1995). Looking at the excessive amount of
forage as it was in one time reaching 10.312.4 ton/ha DM in year II (unpublished data),
the competition for water with palms was
really great, besides the competition for
nutrient uptake. Therefore, with the grazing animals imposed, removing the overwhelming forage factor, the FFB yield of
SR3.0 expressed higher note in the earliest

Defoliation during the immature phase has


a lesser effect on yield than on mature oil
palms. Further, Corley and Hew (1976) reported that oil palms needed minimal number of 32-40 frond/palm to maintain the
FFB yields of 24.7 ton/ha/year at year V,
21.7 ton at year VI, 20.5 ton at year VII
and 19.0 ton at year VIII. In this experiment after stock adjustments, the recovery
gains in FFB were 24.8% and 15.8% (Table
2) respectively, for SR3.0 in year V and
SR2.0 in year VII. They matched well with
the yield losses earlier reported. Again, it
took similar 2-year period of time to recover from normal yield production. It is
believed that excessive defoliation leads to
reduce total photosynthetic production and
reduced yield. The reduced yield was at-

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3 year of production as compared with


those of non grazing and to other lighter
stocking treatments. The lighter stocking
rates of SR2.0 and SR1.0 had taken their
time in the process controlling the excessive amount of forage which practically
exerted different degrees of inhibition to
FFB production, showed a slower time in
the expression of higher FFB performance.
Consequently, it gave a shifting phenomenal of time in excel of crop production
as observed in particular the FFB yield per
hectare, FFB per palm and bunch production.
The use of herbicides creating a clean baresoil under canopy and achieving better yields
was another supporting case of removing
the inhibiting/competitive forage for
greater yield performance- a compensatory
gain. The bare soil opened up for surface
run-off and erosion was different issue in
this experiment.
There were significantly compacted soils of
grazing treatments at SR3.0, of distances
from the oil palm base at 1 m 2 m, and of
deeper soil profiles below 15 cm (unpublished data) indicating the negative effect of
cattle trampling on the soils. However, with
the statistical detection of good linear relationships between the soil compaction and
oil palm root density developed at various
stages (Table 8), it brought out a new look
of the problems.

be found within 1.2 m of the palm base


(Ng et al., 1968). Whilst the tips of the lowest frond were 3.6 m from the base at the
end of 1 years in the field, most tertiary
roots were still within 2.6 m; and in another observation, it showed most feeding
roots were some 2-3 m from the palm
(Turner and Gillbanks, 1974). In one trial,
Purvis (1956) documented that the greatest
root concentration was found near the base
of the palm, with the next highest concentration near the edge of the weeded circle.
Clearly, the more roots it had, the more
compact the soil. The present results were
in agreement with the records on root system by other scientists. Hence, it could be
interpreted that the higher compaction of
soil closer to the palm base at 1-2 m was
due to denser root establishment than those
areas further away. While strong resistance
of soil at high stocking rate (SR 3.0) was
due to over grazed conditions eroding the
soil surface (with only 78-177 kg/ha DM
forage) of which was over exposed. For
the deeper soil profile, there were always
more compaction below 15 cm where the
soils were anticipated relatively with more
heavy clay as opposed to the top soils.
Therefore, the worry of plantation managers on the negative aspects of soil compaction to the principal crop was proven
to be unnecessary. The most assuring point
here was that there were no serious disturbances in FFB performance.

It was reported that when palms become


older, there were increases in total root
weight, but at least up until 12 years old,
the greatest concentration of root was to
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SUMMARY

LITERATURE CITED

One of the significant findings of the

Chan, K.W. 1995. Advances in agronomy and


management practices and their effects on
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weeds depressed the FFB (fresh fruit bunch)
yield of oil palm, whereas the use of herbicide for clean weeding encouraged crop
production by 44.6% increase in FFB in the
first year and 5.1% in the second year. The
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significantly higher oil palm yield. Irrespective of stocking rates, almost every palm
was grazed on the tips of lower strata
fronds. It was the heaviest severity of frond
damage that influenced negatively the production of crop yield in FFB/ha, FFB/
palm and the number of bunch per palm.
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(SR3.0) caused severe frond damage
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