The process of cultivation of our oil palms begins with the selection of seeds. After the selection of seeds, our seed suppliers will germinate and deliver the germinated seeds to us.
We plant the germinated seeds in batches in the pre-nurseries at our oil palm plantation. After approximately three (3) months in the pre-nursery, selected oil palm seedlings are transferred for planting in the main nurseries. The selection process involves checking the width of leaves of each seedling. Seedlings with a leaf width that is generally too narrow, or which growth is lagging behind the other seedlings in the same batch - as these suggests that the seedling might not grow well subsequently - will be rejected and discarded. Typically there is a 7% to 12% rate of rejection during this stage.
We grow our oil palm seedlings in our main nurseries for six (6) months. Seedlings that have grown sufficiently well are selected for transplant to our oil palm plantation. There is usually a 10% rate of rejection at this stage.
We plant approximately 130 to 140 oil palms per ha to ensure that our oil palms have sufficient space for growth and receive adequate sunlight cover. Our oil palms generally yield their first commercial harvests of FFB approximately three (3) years after being planted in the oil palm plantation.
From being planted in the fields to commercial maturity, effective maintenance of young oil palms is essential to maximise crop yield. Through our plantation management systems, we try to ensure that:
- the immature oil palms are fertilised efficiently and correctly;
- the area surrounding each young oil palm is free from other vegetation (which may compete with the oil palm for fertilizer, water and sunlight);
- leguminous cover crop is established (to discourage the growth of competing plant life) for young oil palms; and
- the young oil palms are protected from pests and diseases.
We operate an efficient best-practice fertilisation system for our oil palms. We use inorganic fertilizers such as urea, rock phosphate, muriate of potash, kieserite and nitrogen-potassium-phosphate (NPK) mixture to replenish the large amounts of nutrients absorbed by mature palm oil trees. We carry out regular leaf and soil analysis to detect any nutrient deficiencies and overall nutrient balance. These results are used to tailor the fertiliser recommendations for each cultivated block, thus ensuring maximum returns from our fertiliser investments.