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Information about

oil palm nutrition

Magnesium, potassium and boron

three important nutrients for oil palm
Nutrient requirement by oil palm

Magnesium and potassium are two important This brochure will attempt to clarify and visuali-
nutrients in the oil palm production. The target ze the role of Mg, K, S and boron for oil palm
of high palm oil yields cannot be realized with respect to soil/plant interactions, stressing
without adequate supply of these essential on yield responses to Mg application and its
macronutrients. interaction with other cations on FFB and oil
The growth cycle of oil palm which lasts for
about 25 years is characterized by different
stages which each has its specific requirement
regarding nutrition. During the initial three
years after planting, there is a gradually
increase in K and Mg uptake by the oil palm.
After 3-5 years onwards, the nutrient uptake is
stabilized on a high level.

Potassium and magnesium are important

for oil palm nutrition

Nutrient requirements for the oil palm



uptake (kg ha-1)


50 Mg

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
years from planting

Source: Ng, 1977

Fertilizers used for oil palm

For the plant nourishment, the fertilizer industry variety of high-grade mineral fertilizer pro-
provides the oil palm plantations with mineral ducts and intermediate products for further
fertilizers. Mineral nutrients are inorganic processing for technical, commercial and
elements that have essential and specific pharmaceutical purposes.
functions in plant metabolism.
K+S KALI GmbH is the fourth largest potash
Potash and magnesium products are repre- producer worldwide and the leader in Europe.
sented on the market through K+S KALI In the field of potassium sulphate and magne-
GmbH. This company extracts potash and sium sulphate speciality fertilizers (mainly
magnesium crude salts from six mines in ESTA® Kieserite and Epsom Salt), K+S KALI
Germany, transforming them into a wide GmbH occupies the leading position worldwide.

name formula content comments


Ammonium chloride NH4Cl 28 % N Acidifying

Ammonium sulfate (NH4)2SO4 21% N, 24 % N Acidifying

Urea CO(NH2)2 46 % N Acidifying


Triple superphosphate Ca(H2PO4) 2H2O 41 – 50 % P2O5

(TSP) 12 – 20 % CaO, 1.4 % S

Rock phosphate Ca3(PO4)2 25-39 % P2O5 Very slow-acting

46-50 % CaO

Potassium chloride* KCl 60 % K2O Muriate of Potash (MOP)

Potassium sulfate* K2SO4 50 % K2O, 18 % S Sulphate of Potash (SOP)


Kieserite* MgSO4 H2O 27 % MgO, 22 % S Soluble, quick-acting

Dolomite MgCO3 + CaCO3 30-47 % CaO Slow-acting, varying

2-18 % MgO content of Ca and Mg


Borax Na2B4O2 10H2O 11%B Soluble, quick-acting

* K+S KALI GmbH products

Potash and Magnesium fertilizers from
K+S KALI GmbH are products of nature

The elements potassium and magnesium occur Specific conditions during the solar evaporation
widely in our natural ecosystem. They are phase resulted in the formation of deposits not
essential nutrients for plants, animals and only rich in potash minerals but also containing
humans. The discovery of potash and magnesi- magnesium sulphate. K+S KALI GmbH mines
um fertilizer deposits has made it possible to these unique crude salts and transforms them
correct deficiencies of these nutrients in agri- into quality fertilizers containing potassium,
culture. magnesium and sulphur with the help of envi-
ronment-friendly physical means, e.g. electro-
In Germany, these natural deposits were for- static separation, solution and re-crystallisation
med some 230 million years ago resulting from processes.
the solar evaporation of seawater during the
Zechstein period. The water from salt water
lagoons (3) which were cut off from the ocean
(1) by shallow bars (2), evaporated (4) and cry-

Formation of potash and magnesium deposits in Germany



Ocean Bars

Potash and Kieserite bed

ESTA® Kieserite fine and gran.
a natural product from Germany

ESTA® Kieserite fine ESTA® Kieserite gran.

Kieserite 27 + 22 Kieserite 25 + 20

27 % MgO water-soluble 25 % MgO water-soluble

magnesium oxide magnesium oxide
22 % S water-soluble sulphur 20 % S water-soluble sulphur

ESTA® Kieserite fine ESTA® Kieserite gran.

l is a sulphate based magnesium and sulphur l is the granulated form of ESTA® Kieserite
fertilizer especially suited to balance nutrition fine containing 25 % MgO and 20 % S as
in intensive farming systems aiming at both magnesium sulphate.
high yield and high quality production.
l is suitable for all types of soil owing to its
l is the result of extracting the naturally high solubility regardless of soil pH.
occurring mineral kieserite (MgSO4 H2O)
through the environment-friendly electro- l has excellent spreading properties due to
static separation process (ESTA®) from the hardness of the granules and the appro-
salt deposits in Germany. priate particle size distribution.

l contains the nutrients magnesium and l is ideally suited for bulk blending.
sulphur in an immediately plant-available
(water-soluble) form. l is mined from naturally occurring deposits
and cleared for use in organic farming
l is an efficient Mg and S source for all crops systems according to the EU-regulations
in all soil types regardless of soil pH. EC 2092/91.

The Kieserite crystal

crystal: monocline-prismatic
hardness: 3.5
density: 2.57 g cm-3
Muriate of Potash
standard in oil palm nutrition

Muriate of Potash standard Muriate of Potash gran.

Potassium chloride 60 Potassium chloride 60

60 % K2O water-soluble potassium oxide 60 % K2O water-soluble potassium oxide

Muriate of Potash standard Muriate of Potash gran.

l is a highly concentrated single-nutrient l is the granulated form of Muriate of Potash

fertilizer containing 60 % K2O as potassium standard ideally suited to bulk blending
chloride. and mechanical spreading due to its highly
uniform and solid granules.
l is the universal potash fertilizer suitable for
all chloride tolerant crops and applicable
for all types of soils.

l is a fine crystalline product virtually free of

particles smaller than 0.16 mm.
MOP standard is used for both:
the manufacture of compound fertilizer
and for straight manual application in
oil palm. The MOP structure

structure: cubic
appearance: pink, crystalline solid
density: 1,987 g cm-3
Korn-Kali® Korn-Kali®+B
more than MOP more than just Korn-Kali

Korn-Kali® Korn-Kali®+B

Potassium Chloride with Magnesium 40 (+6+3+4) Potassium Chloride with Magnesium 40 (+6+3+4)

40 % K2O water-soluble 40 % K2O water-soluble

potassium oxide potassium oxide
6 % MgO water-soluble 6 % MgO water-soluble
magnesium oxide magnesium oxide
4% S water-soluble sulphur 4% S water-soluble sulphur

3 % Na water-soluble sodium 3 % Na water-soluble sodium

0.8 % B2O3 boron

Korn-Kali® Korn-Kali®+B

l is a combined potassium, magnesium and l is a combined fertilizer with:

sulphur fertilizer with 40% K2O as potassium - potassium in the form of MOP
chloride, 6 % MgO and 4 % S as magnesium - magnesium and sulphur in the form
sulphate (ESTA® Kieserite). of ESTA® Kieserite
- boron in the form of sodium borate
l contains potassium, magnesium and sulphur,
all in the water-soluble form; thus, the l contains all nutrients in a fully water-soluble
nutrients are immediately available to the form which are therefore directly available to
plant irrespective of soil pH. the plants independent of soil pH.

l is effective in all types of soils and is suitable l ensures efficient uptake and utilization of K,
for all chloride tolerant crops. Mg and B by crops because of a more even
distribution of all nutrients in each application.
l is a granulated product with excellent
spreading characteristics. l is a granulated product with excellent
spreading characteristics. Due to the
l due to the convenient particle size distribution convenient particle size distribution
Korn-Kali® is extremely suitable for bulk Korn-Kali® +B is extremely suitable for bulk
blending. blending.
Quality management
for consistent product quality

Before K+S KALI products reach our Being one of the largest potash producer,
customers they undergo very stringent quality K+S KALI GmbH has sales branches and
controls. Based on DIN/ISO 9000-9004 K+S KALI affiliates all over the globe. In close co-operation
has introduced QUALITY MANAGEMENT, with local and regional representatives a
aiming at constant monitoring and perfecting world-wide distribution network has been
the quality of products through-out the whole formed to satisfy the quantitative and
production chain, from the mine through the qualitative requirements of our customers.
refinery to the warehouse. This is an essential Furthermore, the K+S KALI GmbH has an
part of the company’s philosophy, safeguarding agricultural advisory department where
the confidence of our customers in our specialized agronomists support the local
products and hence future development. representatives with their knowledge.
Quality management covers all our activities
and is vital in the dedication of all employees From the mining and processing sites in
to optimize products and services according Germany, the K+S KALI products are supplied
to the market demand. Besides the internal to growers all over the world. Within Germany
quality management, independent laboratories and Europe, trucks, railway and small vessels
take samples from all products and analyse are the predominant means of transport used.
the fertilizers in terms of purity, nutrient The overseas destinations are reached by
content, granulometry, flow and anti-dust large sea vessels. Our up-to-date technology
characteristics before delivery. in logistics and professional handling serves
as a sound foundation. Shipped through our
own fertilizer docks in Hamburg port, reliable
and punctual deliveries to our overseas cus-
tomers are guaranteed.

Professional logistic facilities guarantee an optimal and save

fertilizer transport to our overseas customers
Magnesium in the plant

Magnesium has many functions in the metabo- Magnesium and its most important
lism of oil palm. The most prominent function of function in plants
Mg in plants is its role as the central atom of
the chlorophyll molecule, the green pigment in
leaves which captures the light energy required
for photosynthesis.

Functions of magnesium in the plant

Besides being part of the chlorophyll, Mg is

also involved in the carboxylase reaction of the
photosynthesis, namely as a coenzyme in the
fixation of CO2. Mg is needed in all processes
that require energy, e.g. starch, protein and
vitamin synthesis, assimilate transport to leaves
and fruit bunches and it is required in many
enzymes concerned with fatty acids and oil
Magnesium in the soil

Mg is absorbed by plants as Mg2+ from the soil Impairment of root growth as

solution. The absorption depends on the Mg2+ in affected by soil pH
the soil solution, soil pH, the % Mg saturation
on the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and
the quantity of other exchangeable cations
(Ca2+, K+, Na+ and NH4+). The Mg2+ in the soil
solution is in equilibrium with the exchangeable
Mg which is absorbed at the negative sides of
clay minerals and humus. The absorption of
Mg2+ is very prone to competition with other
cations. High ratios of Ca/Mg at the exchange
complex or the continued use of high-calcic
liming materials which may increase the Ca/Mg
ratio induce Mg deficiency on certain crops.

In acid mineral soils, Al3+ becomes the dominant

cation of the exchange complex, forming
soluble toxic species which impair root growth.
This Al induced root growth depression can
be alleviated by adequate magnesium supply.

Mg alleviates Al induced root

growth depression
Potassium in the plant

Potassium is needed by the plant in large l Potassium plays an important role in the
quantities for the production of high yield conversion of light into biochemical energy
(bunch size and bunch number) and improved during photosynthesis.
crop quality. In contrast to many other essen-
tial elements, K is not a firm constituent of l Potassium speeds up the flow of assimilates
organic compounds. Potassium is present in from leaves (source) to other plant organs
all plant organs and cells and has many (e.g. fruit bunches and roots).
functions in the plant:
l Potassium promotes the storage of assimilates
as a result of increased production and
improved translocation of carbohydrates.

l Potassium increases the nitrogen use

efficiency through a faster conversion of
nitrogen to proteins.

l Plants abundantly supplied with K can utilize

the soil moisture more efficiently than
K-deficient plants.

Plant ash over a wide range of plant species

contains on average 42 % potassium

80 %

20% oxygen 7% chloride
dry matter 42%
potassium 7% silicon
5% phosphorus
5% calcium
4% magnesium
Dry matter is composed of:
4% sulfur
30 % crude fibre
1% sodium
12 % protein
1% trace
48 % N-free-extracts elements, iron,
4% fat zinc, manganese,
6 % ash opper, boron,
Potassium in the soil

In the soil, four categories of potassium are Potassium is taken up actively by palm roots as
usually distinguished: K+ ion mainly from the soil solution. Most of the
potassium needed by the plant is transported
l potassium as a component of soil minerals by mass flow (with the water moving to the
plant root) and by diffusion. The effectiveness
l non-exchangeable potassium (fixed K) of K+ from the soil solution for the crop
nourishment is influenced by the presence of
l exchangeable potassium (bound on the other cations, particularly calcium (Ca2+) and
surface of soil clays and organic matter) magnesium (Mg2+).
potassium in the soil solution

Exchangeable and non-exchangeable K are in

equilibrium with each other and with the K in
the soil solution. Potassium transfers easily
between these pools.

Potassium cycle in the soil*



Soil exchangeable Non- Mineral

solution K K K K


* Modified from Sparks and Huang (1985); Mutscher (1995)

The importance of potassium
in oil palm production

In accordance with the extremely high growth

rate of the oil palm, its requirements in nutrients
are enormous. Of all major plant nutrients,
potassium is taken up in the largest amount.
Therefore, potassium plays an important role in
plant nutrition and is known as the most
important cation in plant physiology.

Nutrient removal for 25 t FFB (kg ha-1)

Yield t ha-1 N P2O5 K2O MgO S

25 t FFB 190 60 300 100 30

Potassium is involved in a high number of bio-

chemical functions and affects yield positively
on many soils (bunch size and bunch number).
In addition with nitrogen, potassium causes
synergistic effects improving growth, bunch
yield and oil/bunch ratio.

For most soils, the normal K content in frond

No. 17 is between 0.9 % and 1.3 % depending
on palm age, soil moisture or total leaf cations.

Effect of increased potassium fertilization on FFB yield and K-leaf content

treatment yield relative K-leaf content

FFB ha-1 year-1 yield % of dry matter

K0 15.82 100 0.87

K1 18.36 116 1.10

K2 19.38 123 1.16

K1: 1.5 kg MOP palm-1 year-1

K2: 3.0 kg MOP palm-1 year-1

source: after Taniputra and Panjaitan, 1981

The importance of sulphur
in oil palm production

Just as magnesium, sulphur belongs to the Another source of sulphur in the soil is from
six macro-nutrients and is usually taken up the atmospheric deposition of SO2 which,
by plants in the same order of magnitude as particularly in industrial countries, was for
phosphorus and magnesium. The total many years an important nutrient source but
sulphur content in plants varies between also a strong environmental burden.
0.2 % and 0.5% of the dry matter. Sulphur is Therefore, anti air pollution technology has
involved in numerous metabolic processes of been employed so that today this source
the plant, e.g. the photosynthesis, sugar and of sulphur has been drastically reduced
starch, amino acid and protein formation as and S deficiency in agriculture has become
well as oil and fat synthesis. widespread.

Sulphur exists in organic and in inorganic Sulphur deficiency symptoms are similar with
forms in the soil. Around 90 % of the total S in these of nitrogen. In the beginning the pinnae
most non-calcareous soils exists in organic are pale and small and under acute deficiency
forms. The inorganic forms are solution SO42-, they show small brown necrotic spots.
absorbed SO42-, insoluble SO42- and reduced Sulphur deficiency symptoms are rarely in oil
inorganic S compounds. palm because sufficient S is normally applied
through Ammonium Sulfate (AS) and/or
Sulphur is taken up by palm roots as SO42- ion ESTA® Kieserite.
from the soil solution which is transported by
diffusion and mass flow to the roots.

Sulphur deficiency symptoms in coconut-pinnae

The importance of boron
in oil palm production

Compared to magnesium and potassium, Boron deficiency is the most widespread

boron is the most important micro-nutrient in oil micronutrient disorder in oil palm. Boron
palm nutrition. Mature palms accumulate up to deficiency occurs on sides where B could be
0.5 kg B ha-1 in above ground biomass. leached out easily (high rainfall, in sandy soils
and in peat soils).
Boron exists in four forms in the soil:
Typically B deficiency symptoms are well
l bound in rocks and minerals known under “crinkle leaf”, “fishbone leaf”,
“hook leaf” and “little leaf”.
l adsorbed on surfaces of clays

l combined with organic matter

l as free non-ionized boric acid (H3BO3)

and B(OH)4- in the soil solution

The general understanding of the boron uptake

by plants appears to be still incomplete. The
undissociated boric acid may be the most
effective form, which is transported in the soil
solution by mass flow and/or diffusion. Plant
uptake of boron is a passive process where
H3BO3 moves in response to its concentration
gradient in the xylem to sites of greatest water

Boron is essential for root elongation,

carbohydrate and cell wall formation, affecting
the protein synthesis and the regulation of
nucleic acid synthesis.

A typical B-deficiency symptom: crinkle leaf on oil

palm pinneae

B deficiency, from left to right: blind leaf, hook leaf, hook leaf.
Potassium deficiency
in oil palm

In tropical regions, more soils are poor in A variety of symptoms have been found to be
plant available potassium than in temperate associated with potassium deficiency in
regions. mature oil palms. Confluent orange spotting
is the most common K deficiency symptom
In oil palm, potassium is the nutrient which is characterised by small, initially pale green
required in the largest quantity during the year spots which gradually turn yellow to yellowish
after planting. The K content of fruit bunches orange and enlarge both between and across
is about 0.65 % of the bunch weight and the the leaflet veins.
K content in vegetative dry matter is constant
over the life cycle (around 1.0-1.3 %). A second symptom is called “white stripes”
and point out K deficiency often together with
K deficiency occurs where soils contain very an imbalance between K and N and probably
small amounts of soil-exchangeable K. a lack of boron. These white, pencil-like stripes
Especially in sandy soils and in peat soils, occur on both sides of the mid-rips and have
potassium deficiency is widespread because a transparent look.
of high leaching losses caused by high rainfall.
Furthermore, K deficiency occurs where roots
are not able to penetrate the soil to deeper
soil layers because of an impermeable soil

Confluent orange spotting White stripes

Magnesium deficiency
in oil palm

Magnesium as a fertilizer has long been are characterised by uniform discolouration of

neglected in oil palm plantations in the past leaflets and of the older fronds, ranging from
which led to widespread magnesium deficiency. yellow to bright orange-yellow. Strongest
Mg deficiency occurs where soils contain very expression of magnesium deficiency occurs
small amounts of exchangeable Mg and where during the dry season at high solar radiation
the topsoil has been eroded. Furthermore, and exposure to the sunlight. Therefore,
leaching losses from soils which due to their among planters the symptoms are often called
advanced stage of weathering were inherently heat induced sunburn and are rarely associated
poor in magnesium led to further accelerated with Mg deficiency. The causal effects, however,
soil depletion of this nutrient. High and over- are that under dry conditions Mg mobility in
fertilization with K and Ca containing fertilizers the soil and hence uptake is reduced. Low
cause Mg deficiency because of the Mg supply leads to impaired retranslocation
antagonistic effect and uptake imbalance and accumulation of starch in leaves and the
between these nutrients. activation of O2 resulting in toxic radicals,
being responsible for the chlorosis and necrosis
The unbound Mg is highly mobile within the of pinnae. “Sunburn” is hence an expression
plant and is easily retranslocated from older of latent Mg deficiency under high light
to younger leaves and tissues, e.g. grains, intensities.
fruits etc. Mg deficiency symptoms in oil palm

Mg deficient oil palm Mg deficiency on pinnae

Magnesium sources
decide on oil palm productivity

Since the sustained plant availability of Mg is

crucial for high FFB yield and oil extraction
rates, it is absolutely necessary to pay attention
to the nutrient release characteristics from the
magnesium fertilizer sources to provide the oil
palm continuously with this essential nutrient.

In principle, there are three different forms in

which magnesium can be applied to the soil:

l the oxide form

(magnesium oxide and fused lime stone)

l the carbonate form

(in magnesite and dolomite)

l the sulphate form (ESTA® Kieserite and

other magnesium sulphates).

The physicochemical properties of Mg fertilizers

are crucial for their use in oil palm plantations. Magnesium Solubility in
Mg oxides and carbonate (dolomite) have a very source water g/l
slow solubility (compared to ESTA® Kieserite)
releasing the Mg at rates inadequate for high ESTA® Kieserite 417
crop uptake. (MgSO4 H2O)
Dolomite can be used partly to maintain Mg
levels on acid soils but because of its low Dolomite 0.034
solubility it is not as effective as ESTA® (CaCO3 MgCO3)
Kieserite to correct Mg deficiency and to
supply plants adequate with Mg. Magnesium oxide 0.0062

ESTA® Kieserite as a natural Mg source

dissolves gradually and independent of the
soil pH and provides oil palms continuously
with both essential nutrients (Mg+S).
Attention should be paid to other MgSO4
fertilizers. These MgSO4 fertilizer materials are
chemically produced and are a by-product of
the industry. They are characterised by a
variable Mg content, a poor structure (powder)
and are partly polluted with heavy metals.
Magnesium and surface application

Oil palm roots active in nutrient uptake are The effect of a typical surface application
mostly located in the first 50 cm of the soil of two Mg carriers (ESTA® Kieserite and
profile whereas the highest quantities are dolomite) on soil exchangeable Mg was
located in the first 30 cm. The incorporation studied in oil palm. The results show that
and mixing of fertilizers with the soil to improve dolomite, owing to its poor solubility, only
its dissolution is usually not feasible because increased exchangeable Mg contents in the
the upper root network will be destroyed and upper soil layers, whereas substantial Mg
nutrient uptake will be inhibited. from ESTA® Kieserite penetrated to lower
soil depths.

The effect of bunch ash (BA) and magnesium source (ESTA® Kieserite
and dolomite (GML)) on soil exch. Mg (cmol kg-1)*

0 - 15
soil depht (cm)

15 - 30

30 - 60

60 - 90

0 1 2 3
cmol Mg kg-1

Control BA+ESTA® Kieserite BA+GML

Soil: Sedu Soils, typic BA = 8.0 kg palm-1 bunch ash

Sulfaquept ESTA Kieserite = 3.0 kg palm-1 ESTA® Kieserite

GML = 5.0 kg palm-1 dolomite

Source: Singh (1989)

Magnesium and surface application

The effect that Mg from ESTA® Kieserite explanation of this effect may be in the
penetrated deeper into the soil than Mg from promotion of root growth in the more
dolomite (after a surface application) has a favourable environment with higher Mg and
significant effect on root growth. The effect Ca availability, whereas penetration into the
of an improved root growth was studied with acid subsoil did not occur. On the other hand,
forest trees on an acid soil in Germany. The Kieserite owing to its solubility independent
observation of this experiment was that on the pH and deeper penetration into the soil
dolomite owing to its slow release of profile, benefited also the roots at the lower soil
magnesium only benefited the roots in the dephts. This is an important feature of soluble
top 10 cm whereas in the lower soil horizon magnesium in form of ESTA® Kieserite,
root growth was even reduced after dolomite improving root growth to enhance uptake
application compared to the control. The of N, P, K and Mg also from the subsoil.

Distribution of feeder roots (<2 mm) of Norway spruce on

an acid forest soil (pH 3.7) as affected by Mg nutrition

0-5 557
oil extraction rate (%)

5 - 10 253

10 - 20 325

20 - 30 217

0 100 200 300 400 500 600

root concentration (mg I-1)

Control Dolomite ESTA® Kieserite

Source: Schaaf and Zech (1991)

Magnesium and oil extraction rate

For a long time, the oil palm industry has Mg in the form of ESTA® Kieserite influenced
emphasized yield in form of harvested FFB in positively oil production. Tayeb (2005) repor-
tonnes by neglecting oil extraction rate. In ted that on top an extra 1.57 t ha-1 yr-1 oil was
recent years, the industry goal was to enhance achieved through consistent application of
the oil formation in oil palm to define new 1.5 kg palm-1 yr-1 ESTA® Kieserite. Over the
performance parameters in case of production whole experiment, an extra 0.57 t ha-1 yr-1 oil
and profitability. The importance of magnesium was achieved per year.
for oil production is evident from the fact that
it promotes oil formation.

Treatment last trial year combined years (1-5)

(t ha-1) (t ha-1)

N+P+SOP 4.35 6.00

N+P+SOP+1.5 kg
ESTA® Kieserite 5.92 6.54

source: Tayeb, PIPOC, 2005

Beside the essential nutrient Mg, it seems The effect of two different Mg
to be that also the Mg source of fertilizers fertilizer (ESTA® Kieserite and
(e.g. ESTA® Kieserite (MgSO4) and dolomite dolomite) on oil extraction rate
(MgCO3) plays an important role on oil forma-
tion because of differences in solubility and 30
nutrient release pattern. This may explain
oil extraction rate (%)

results where the oil extraction rate was 8 %

higher compared to the dolomite treatment.



30 42 48
age of palms (month)

ESTA® Kieserite Dolomite Control

Source: Ditschar, 2006

Fertilizer management in oil palm

Oil palm belongs to the ten most heavily Innovative products and an improved product
fertilized crops worldwide and therefore, the quality can help to minimize fertilizer costs.
fertilizer costs are considerable. At times of Through Korn-Kali®+B, a combination of
a high oil price, the fertilizer management MOP, ESTA® Kieserite and Borax, it is
seems to be easier because of a higher profit possible to ease the fertilizer application and
whereas at times of a low oil price the quantity to reduce labour costs compared to the
of fertilizer used is reduced. traditionell straight fertilizer application. The
application of 5 to 6 kg Korn-Kali®+B per
In perennial crops (oil palm), such fertilizer palm splitted in two or three applications will
reductions during one or two years could have satisfy the annual requirements of K, Mg and
drastic consequences in yield performance for B in mature oil palms. The even distribution of
the next years. A constant fertilizer application all nutrients in each application ensures high
is essential to supply the oil palm continuously yield performances over years.
with nutrients to guarantee good yield
performance over years.

The K+S KALI fertilizers (ESTA® Kieserite,

Korn-Kali®, Korn-Kali®+B) support the oil
palm industry with high-quality fertilizer to
ensure and to provide high yield performance.
K+S KALI fertilizers are established in the
oil palm industry worldwide and are part of
the straight fertilizer program on oil palm

High FFB yield with K+S KALI products.

Best Management Practise
for Maximum Economic yield in oil palm

Following on the success of a Best The BMP approach is based on crop and
Management Practise (BMP) project with PT nutrient management principles:
Asiatic Persada in Jambi (Indonesia), the
regional Southeast Asia Program* of the l decision making based on relevant
newly established International Plant Nutrition information
Institute (IPNI) initiated a second BMP project
at larger scale. The new project began in l development of management units based
2006 with six collaborating oil palm plantations on soil and plant surveys
located in the key oil palm growing areas of
Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia. l best management practise (BMP) for
optimal economic yield
The K+S KALI GmbH, a founding member of
the IPNI, is a partner of the new BMP project l plant-based determination of nutrient
in support of the Southeast Asia Program and needs
the oil palm industry in Indonesia and Malaysia.
There is an increasing global demand for l ‘need-based’ fertilizer use for effective use
vegetable oils such as palm oil but an evident of nutrients
need to increase productivity. Oil palm yields
have largely stagnated in the last 20 years, Apart from improved nutrient management
but substantial opportunities exist to increase principles, best management practises are
yield in existing plantations while minimizing characterised by:
negative effects on the environment through
improved management practices including l complete crop recovery through collection
better plant nutrition. The BMP approach of all fruits
provides estate managers with a concept and
guiding principles on how to evaluate current l short harvesting rounds (7 days) and a
management practices compared to improved good access for the harvester
BMP implemented in selected trial block. The
aim is to maximize yield and minimize fruit l adequate pruning and the removal of
losses but the individual BMP components unproductive palms
are tailored by the estate management to
site-specific conditions. A continuous dialogue l optimal root function and nutrient uptake
between estate managers and agronomists by palms through adequate moisture
during site visits are an integral part of the availability (drainage, water conservation)
BMP concept and helps addressing upcoming
problems during the implementation. l optimal nutrient use through complete
utilization of crop residues (empty fruit
bunches etc.)

l optimal access and erosion control through

contour paths

l optimal fertilizer use efficiency through

weed-free platforms around trees and
correct fertilizer placement


between oil palms (on old,
properly stacked fronds)
increases fertilizer efficiency.

Preliminary results from two plantations in USD ha-1 in the two plantation, respectively.
North Sumatra, Indonesia, showed bunch Because of higher costs for the BMP imple-
yield increases between 7 % and 13 %, mentation a detailed economic analysis is
respectively, in blocks with BMP after 6 necessary to show the net revenue of BMP. A
months compared with the reference blocks preliminary economic analysis indicated addi-
under standard management (see table below). tional costs for the implementation of BMP of
The yield increase was mainly related to an only about 50 USD ha-1 so that there is a sig-
increase in bunch weight (+8 %) as a result of a nificant positive net benefit with BMP. A more
better crop recovery due to shorter harvesting thorough analysis is expected after one year.
rounds, i.e. every palm was visited every
seven days. With shorter harvesting intervals, The BMP project clearly shows that a slight
rounds increased by 38 % and 82 % in the investment in management practises can
two plantations, respectively, because of the result in a significantly higher productivity and
more frequent visits by harvesters. The gross profitability.
benefit with BMP was 105 USD ha-1 and 132

Initial effects of BMP on harvest round, fresh fruit bunch (FFB) yield, average bunch weight
and gross benefit compared to reference blocks in two plantations in North Sumatra.

Project Harvest FFB yield Avg bunch Gross value of extra

rounds (kg ha-1) weight (kg) BMP yield difference

Estate A +38% +7% +8% +105 USD

Estate B +82% +13% +8% +132 USD

Contact: IPNI Southeast Asia Program, e-mail

All out of one hand

ESTA® Kieserite fine

Kieserite 27 +22
ESTA Kieserit
27 % MgO water-soluble magnesium oxide
22 % S water-soluble sulphur

ESTA® Kieserite fine has been used in oil

palm production worlwide and is generally
regarded as the standard magnesium fertilizer. Produced by
34111 Kassel

The reason for this is that it is a highly Germany

A K+S Group Company

concentrated Mg and S carrier and contains

both nutrients in the water-soluble form.

ESTA® Kieserite gran.

Kieserite 25 +20 ESTA Kieserit
25 % MgO water-soluble magnesium oxide
20 % S water-soluble sulphur

ESTA® Kieserite gran. is the granulated form

of ESTA® Kieserite fine containing 25 % MgO
and 20 % S as magnesium sulphate. Produced by
34111 Kassel
A K+S Group Company

Potassium chloride with magnesium 40 (+6+4+3)
40 % K 2O water-soluble potassium oxide
6% MgO water-soluble magnesium oxide
4% S water-soluble sulphur
3% Na water-soluble sodium

Korn-Kali® is a combined potassium, magne- Produced by

34111 Kassel

sium and sulphur fertilizer with 40 % K2O as Germany

A K+S Group Company

potassium chloride, 6 % MgO and 4 % S as

magnesium sulphate (ESTA® Kieserite)


Potassium chloride with magnesium 40 (+6+4+3)


40 % K 2O water-soluble potassium oxide

6% MgO water-soluble magnesium oxide
4% S water-soluble sulphur
3% Na water-soluble sodium
0.8% B 2O 2 water-soluble boric oxide
Produced by
34111 Kassel

Korn-Kali®+B is a well balanced K, Mg, S and Germany

A K+S Group Company

B fertilizer for oil palm and ensures efficient

uptake and utilization of these nutrients.

Muriate of Potash standard

Potassium chloride 60 MOP standard

60 % K2O water-soluble potassium oxide

Muriate of Potash (MOP) is a highly concen-

trated single-nutrient fertilizer containing
60 % K2O as potassium chloride. MOP is the
universal potash fertilizer suitable for all Produced by
34111 Kassel

chloride tolerate crops. Germany

A K+S Group Company

Muriate of Potash gran.

Potassium chloride 60
MOP gran.
60 % K2O water-soluble potassium oxide

Muriate of Potash (MOP) gran is the granulated

form of MOP standard containing 60 % K2O
as potassium chloride.
Produced by
34111 Kassel
A K+S Group Company
® = Registered trademark of K+S KALI GmbH


P.O. Box 10 20 29 · 34111 Kassel · Germany
Phone +49 (0)561 9301-2316 · Fax +49 (0)561 9301-1416
6677/0407/A ·

A K+S Group Company