The fertility status of soil and their productive potential is of prime importance for appropriate management to increase production. The present investigation has been undertaken to assess the fertility status of oil palm growing soils and to evaluate their present status of productive potential for better understanding in maintaining soil nutrient status. Representative soil samples at different depths (0-15, 15-30 & 30-60) from seventeen mandals, representing the intensive oil palm growing areas were collected and studied for nutrient status using standard procedures. The results reveal the data of pH, EC, and organic matter respectively in all the samples. The data revealed that the soils were acidic to slightly alkaline in nature. Organic matter in the results indicates less organic carbon in few mandals out of the 50 samples. The results of phosphorus show the levels ranging from 4.5- 88.5 kg/ha and indicate poor levels of phosphorus. Sulphur in palms ranges from 2-58 ppm, however, most of the soil samples contain high levels than the required. The results of micronutrients reveal high levels of iron and manganese compared to copper and zinc. The results of macronutrients like phosphorus show substantially lower than potassium.
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.), is a tropical perennial tree originating in West Africa (Page, B. and S. Lord. 2006). Oil palm fruit look like large reddish plums clustered in large bunches. Bunches are continuously harvested throughout the year as they ripen on each tree every 7-10 days. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and palm kernel oil from the kernel. Trees are productive for 20-30 years. Only a few decades ago oil palm was a minor crop, but in 2004, production surpassed that of soybean as the major world vegetable oil crop (Page, B. and S. Lord. 2006). Malaysia and Indonesia lead the world in oil palm production, accounting for 80% of the global production (Page, B. and S. Lord. 2006. The establishment of oil palm plantations (along with rubber and pulp plantations) in Sumatra, Kalimantan and East Malaysia has been cited as the major cause of the air pollution that affected many areas of Southeast Asia in 1997 (Clay, 2004; Rosenburg, 1999; Sargeant, 2001.
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