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Harvesting is a very important activity in any agriculture business. Cheap and efficient harvesting processes are factors that ensure good returns. Efficient mechanical harvesting of oil palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB) remains an issue that needs to be addressed. The current methods of harvesting involve the use of a chisel or sickle, which require manual labour and is therefore tedious. As the country is facing a labour shortage in the plantation sector, the introduction of farm machinery would be one way of increasing labour productivity. This article describes the performance of two oil palm mechanical harvesting machines in the field as compared to a manual operation. The machines carried out cutting operations of the FFB, which were transported to the road side and unloaded either onto the mainline transport or to the ground. A time motion study during the cutting operation was carried out, and the quantity of detached loose fruits produced were recorded. Machine performance in terms of productivity and cost-effectiveness were also monitored. It was found that the productivity of the machines ranged from 3 to 6 t per day depending on various factors. This study also indicated that the loose fruits collection could be minimised by using the harvesting machine. A comparative study of the harvesting machines with and without grapple shows that the latter is slower, even though it is only used for cutting operation, without deposition of the bunches into the bucket. The productivity (man per day) of the complete harvesting machine was almost double, compared to manual harvesting that uses buffalo-carts for the evacuation of the FFB. However, the economic analysis shows that the cost per tonne for mechanical harvesting machine was slightly higher as compared to manual operation. It is envisaged that with the successful introduction of the mechanical harvester, opportunities for new technologies would open up for the development of more efficient and cheaper machines in the future.
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ABSTRACT
Harvesting is a very important activity in any agriculture business. Cheap and ecient harvesting
processes are factors that ensure good returns. Ecient mechanical harvesting of oil palm fresh fruit bunch
(FFB) remains an issue that needs to be addressed. The current methods of harvesting involve the use of
a chisel or sickle, which require manual labour and is therefore tedious. As the country is facing a labour
shortage in the plantation sector, the introduction of farm machinery would be one way of increasing
labour productivity. This article describes the performance of two oil palm mechanical harvesting machines
in the eld as compared to a manual operation. The machines carried out cutting operations of the FFB,
which were transported to the road side and unloaded either onto the mainline transport or to the ground.
A time motion study during the cutting operation was carried out, and the quantity of detached loose
fruits produced were recorded. Machine performance in terms of productivity and cost-eectiveness were
also monitored. It was found that the productivity of the machines ranged from 3 to 6 t per day depending
on various factors. This study also indicated that the loose fruits collection could be minimised by using
the harvesting machine. A comparative study of the harvesting machines with and without grapple
shows that the latter is slower, even though it is only used for cutting operation, without deposition of the
bunches into the bucket. The productivity (man per day) of the complete harvesting machine was almost
double, compared to manual harvesting that uses bualo-carts for the evacuation of the FFB. However, the
economic analysis shows that the cost per tonne for mechanical harvesting machine was slightly higher
as compared to manual operation. It is envisaged that with the successful introduction of the mechanical
harvester, opportunities for new technologies would open up for the development of more ecient and
cheaper machines in the future.
Keywords: oil palm, harvesting machine, tall palm.
Date received: 25 June 2012; Sent for revision: 15 August 2012; Received in nal form: 28 March 2014; Accepted: 28 April 2014.
FIELD EVALUATION OF HARVESTING
MACHINES FOR TALL OIL PALMS
MOHD RAMDHAN KHALID* and ABD RAHIM SHUIB*
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board,
6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi,
43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.
E-mail: ramdhan @mpob.gov.my
INTRODUCTION
The mechanical harvesting of oil palm fresh fruit
bunch (FFB) remains an issue that needs to be solved.
The current methods involve the use of a chisel or
sickle, which requires manual labour and proves
to be inecient. For it to be an eective cutting
operation, skill as well as energy are required. Skilled
harvesters are dicult to get, hence, harvesting
productivity has to be improved. Plantations are
now looking for more ecient harvesting tools
to double the harvesting productivity, as well as
Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 26 (2) June 2014 p. 125-132
Journal of oil Palm research 26 (2) (June 2014)
126
reduce the number of workers. About 92.2% of the
harvesters in the plantations are foreigners (Azman,
2012). As the country is facing a labour shortage, the
introduction of eld machinery would be one way
of increasing labour productivity (Tan, 1990).
In the early days, bamboo was the most popular
pole used for harvesting FFB for tall palms (Foo,
1981). However, due to its low productivity and
scarcity, other options had to be identied. Realising
the problem, the Palm Oil Research Institute of
Malaysia (PORIM) (now the Malaysian Palm Oil
Board) had developed an improved harvesting
pole made of light aluminium alloy that had better
strength and durability, thus making it easy to
handle (Abdul Halim et al., 1988). This type of pole
is now widely used by plantations.
Besides the aluminium pole, MPOB introduced
a motorised cutter known as Cantas in 2006 for
palms of intermediate height (less than 5 m) and
the industry is now beginning to accept this tool.
The Cantas is used for harvesting and pruning and
employs a specially patented C-sickle that performs
the cutting operation by a vibrating mechanism.
MPOB is also working on the development of
harvesting machine mainly for tall palms. In the early
stage of development, a number of machines was
identied to have the potential for harvesting. There
are two concepts of harvesting (Abd Rahim et al.,
1989): sending the manual cutter close to the bunch;
and bringing only the cutting tool to the bunch,
where the cutting is controlled from the driver’s
seat (Figure 1). Both concepts have been taken up
by a number of machine manufacturers to develop
prototype machines. At this stage of development, it
is important to determine whether the machine can
function as a harvester and to further improve the
eciency of the machine.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The Machine
The main components of the machine are the
prime mover, main boom, secondary boom, cutter,
grapple and bucket. All these components are
attached to the prime mover. The prime mover is
of the tracked type, which gives better stability
during operations, good traction during ascending
and descending slopes and minimises ground
compaction.
The boom can reach palms up to 11 m high
(Figure 2). In the cutting operation, the grapple
will rst be deployed to hold the FFB, followed by
extending the cutter for cutting the FFB (Figure 3).
Using the telescopic boom, the FFB is then loaded
into the bucket (0.5 t capacity) located at the back
of the machine. Since the bunch does not fall to the
ground, the amount of scattered loose fruits on the
ground is minimised.
This is a one-man-operated-machine, perfor-
ming, i.e. cutting, loading and transporting the FFB to
the roadside. All the movements of the components
are executed by hydraulic means. Below are the
objectives of the eld trials:
to minimise detached loose fruits from
harvesting;
to compare dierences in productivity between
two types of harvesting machines; and
Figure 1. Concept of mechanical harvesting.
127
to compare dierences between manual
harvesting and mechanical harvesting.
Two types of harvesting machines were
monitored during this stage, i.e. H1: complete
harvesting machine with a bucket and H2: cutting
only harvesting machine without a bucket. It was
hypothesised that the harvesting machine could
perform better if it only focused on the cutting
operation, without having the grapple and bucket
incorporated (Figure 4).
A plantation at Segamat, Johor was chosen
for a one-year eld trial. The estate has suitable
topography and uniform palm height, suitable for
the trial. A 100 ha eld with the average palm height
of 8 m were allocated for testing the machines.
Planted in 1991, the average bunch weight at the
allocated site is 23 kg.
Time and motion study. A time and motion study
(TMS) is ideal in determining the standard and
eciency of any activity performed by the operator
and the machine itself. The TMS recorded the time
required in carrying out activities involved to
complete one cycle of harvesting one fruit bunch;
which includes positioning the machine under the
palms, lifting up the booms, executing grapple
and cutter, putting the cut FFB into the bucket and
Figure 2. Working envelope of the telescopic boom.
Figure 3. The machine in a cutting position.
FIELD EVALUATION OF HARVESTING MACHINES FOR TALL OIL PALMS
Journal of oil Palm research 26 (2) (June 2014)
128
moving the machine to the next palm. Both types of
machines (H1 and H2) were studied in the TMS.
Detached loose fruits. The number of detached loose
fruits due to the cutting operation was compared
between mechanical and manual harvesting. It was
claimed that by using the harvesting machine, loose
fruits collection could be minimised.
The number of detached loose fruits was counted
and weighed before and after the cutting operation.
Each bunch was also weighed and the duration of
time involved in the collection of loose fruits was
recorded. A total of 30 samples were collected in
three dierent cycles (15 days of harvesting round)
for each method.
Comparison of productivity between mechanical
and manual harvesting. Another study was
conducted to compare the one-man productivity
between the mechanical and manual harvesting
methods. The types of evaluation were as follows:
complete harvesting machine with a bucket
versus manual harvesting with transportation
(bualo-cart); and
cutting only harvesting machine (without a
bucket) versus manual harvesting without
transportation.
For the manual method, a bualo-cart was
used to transport FFB since it was the current
practice of the estate (Figure 5). It could carry more
FFB compared to the wheelbarrow or the manual
carrier. Any other modes of transportation such as
mini-tractor, etc. were not found to be suitable for
use in this trial site as the harvesting path was not
prepared for the purpose. In addition, any changes
in the in-eld transportation system would aect the
overall estate management system, which needed to
be avoided.
The daily productivity for each method was
measured over three days, over three cycles.
There was no limitation in terms of working hours
during the trials. The harvesters were encouraged
to harvest as much as they could, depending on
their own capability for that day. During rainy days
or when machines broke down, the data for that
day was rejected and repeated the following day.
Manual harvesters were required to have at least
two years experience in harvesting activities, while
for machine operators were required to have at least
10-11 months of experience in handling the machine.
For statistical analysis, a comparison of means
was performed using t-tests, where appropriate.
Overall performance. A logbook provided for each
machine enabled the operators to record their daily
performance. The logbook had to be signed by their
supervisors for verication. Data on harvesting
productivity, repair and maintenance cost, and fuel
consumption were recorded accordingly.
Figure 4. The grapple removed from the system.
Figure 5. Manual in-eld transportation using the bualo-cart.
129
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Time and Motion Study
Table 1 shows the time taken for stated activities.
TABLE 1. TIME TAKEN TO CARRY OUT HARVESTING
ACTIVITIES
Movement/activity
Average time taken, (s)
H1 (n=9) H2 (n=9)
Telescopic booms extending
until they reach the bunch
18 17
Cutting process 34 64
Telescopic booms retracting 28 19
Machine moving to the next
palm and resuming its cutting
activities
38 43
Total 118 143
Note: H1: complete harvesting machine with bucket.
H2: cutting only harvesting machine without bucket.
Table 1 shows that, to complete one cycle of
cutting activity, the average time dierence between
the two types of machine is 25 s. However, the
dierences were not signicant (p>0.05). During the
cutting process, the H2 took a slightly longer time
because without a grapple, the harvesting process
was dicult.
The H1 took a longer time to retract the boom
because it had to turn 180o to bring down the bunch
to the bucket for temporary storage. Table 1 also
shows that the travelling time for both machines
searching for ripe bunches contributed to almost
30% of the total operation time. The travelling time
depended on the FFB yield seasons, i.e. for the peak
season the travelling time could be shorter, as the
possibilities of having ripe bunches on every palm
were high.
From the study, it was found that in a harvesting
cycle, 30% of the time was for travelling and searching
for ripe bunches, while another 20% of the time was
for the boom movement; either to extend or to retract
it down. Increasing machine productivity was quite
challenging, as the machine needed to travel from
one palm to another, and was always challenged
by the uneven ground which aected the travelling
speed of the machine. Hence, an improvement of the
travelling speed and the boom movement will have
a positive impact on productivity.
Detached Loose Fruits
Figure 6a shows the scattered loose fruits on the
ground due to the impact of fallen bunches. The loose
fruits were collected and packed in marked plastic
bags (Figure 6b) before weighing and counting them.
Figure 6. Two bags were used for temporary storage of detached loose
fruits, before and after cutting.
There was a signicant dierence (p<0.05)
between the mean of the number of detached
loose fruits produced by using the machine (92±16
loose fruits, n=3) and the manual method (168±32
loose fruits, n=3). Table 2 shows that by using the
harvesting machine, the amount of detached loose
fruits produced during harvesting was reduced
45% compared to manual harvesting as the bunch
does not hit the ground. However, there was no
signicant dierence (p>0.05) in terms of collection
time between both methods.
A Comparison of Productivity between the
Mechanical and Manual Methods of Harvesting
Figure 7 shows that the mean productivity
of H1 machine is almost double that of manual
harvesting (p<0.05, H1: 296±25 bunches, and
M1: 151±15 bunches, n=9). Therefore, it proves that
the mechanical harvesting machine is better than
the manual method of harvesting. During the trial,
it was also noticed that the machine operators were
capable of harvesting for 10 working hours, which
FIELD EVALUATION OF HARVESTING MACHINES FOR TALL OIL PALMS
a
b
Journal of oil Palm research 26 (2) (June 2014)
130
TABLE 2. A COMPARISON OF DETACHED FRUITLETS BETWEEN THE MECHANICAL AND MANUAL HARVESTING
METHODS
Cycle
Ave. bunch
weight (kg) Ave. No. of detached fruitlets Ave. collection time of
detached fruitlets (s)
M1 M2 M1 M2 M1 M2
Before After Before After
127.2 23.3 23 97 35 196 55.0 76.0
226.6 23.6 42 106 46 174 48.0 60.3
326.1 26.0 32 74 23 134 40.3 51.7
Mean 26.6 24.3 32 92 34 168 47.8 62.7
Note: M1: machine. M2: manual.
meant that more FFB could be harvested, whereas
the manual harvesters worked for a maximum
period of 8 hr.
It is clear therefore that an operator is more
productive when using a machine, especially as he
would be less tired. By extending the working hours
from 8 to 10 hr, the operational costs can eventually
be reduced. This approach is more acceptable by the
estates because working with a two shift system is
not favoured by most of the workers.
Figure 8 indicates that there is no signicant
dierence (p>0.05) between the mean of H2 (235±37
bunches, n=9) and M2 (210±20 bunches, n=9).
As discussed earlier, diculties during cutting
operations for H2 had contributed for the poor
performance.
Overall Performance
Figure 9 shows the average productivity per day
for both types; H1: complete harvesting machine
with a bucket and H2: cutting only harvesting
machine without a bucket at the trial estate for 10
months.
For H1, the maximum bunches harvested per
day were 284 bunches (7.68 t) and the minimum were
125 bunches (2.77 t). Whereas for H2, the maximum
and minimum bunches harvested per day were 242
and 96 bunches (6.36 and 2.14 t), respectively. It also
shows that a similar productivity trend can be found
for each unit of the harvesting machines and the FFB
yield trend in the estate eld (Plot 91A). Besides
the weather factor, the large variation between the
maximum and minimum bunches harvested is
believed to be due to the fruiting season.
There is no signicant dierence (t-test, p>0.05)
between the mean for daily productivity for the H1
(191±56 bunches, n=10) and the H2 (160±51 bunches,
n=10). However, the productivity of H2 is slightly
lower because there is no grapple to hold the bunch,
hence it is dicult to cut the bunch stalk. Due to
gravity, the tendency of the cutter to get stuck on the
bunch stalk while cutting, is higher, if the cutter is
unable to cut the entire stalk with one movement.
Therefore, the operator needs to cut the stalk again,
thus increasing operation time. This was also proven
in the TMS (Table 1).
Note: FFB – fresh fruit bunch.
Figure 7. Average productivity per day for a complete harvesting
machine with bucket (H1) and manual harvesting with a transportation-
bualo cart (M1).
Note: FFB – fresh fruit bunch.
Figure 8. Average productivity per day for the cutting only harvesting
machine without a bucket (H2) and manual harvesting without
transportation (M2).
FFB per day
FFB per day
131
A number of breakdowns were recorded during
the trial that aected the overall productivity of
those machines. Below are some causal factors that
were identied:
leaked or burst hydraulic hoses due to falling
frond;
cracked bucket and booms; and
wear and tear of the under carriage systems.
Economic Analysis
From the following data:
Machine price = RM 220 000
Economic life = 6 years
Productivity = 250 FFB (6 t per day)
Labour cost = (RM 0.24 x 250 bunches)
= RM 60 per day
25 days working day a month
Based on the gures above, the cost of harvesting
are:
Depreciation: RM 220 000
= RM 122.23 per day
6 x 12 x 25
Labour cost = RM 60 per day
Fuel consumption: 18 litre
per day @ RM 1.80 per litre = RM 32.40 per day*
Repair and maintenance cost = RM 100.00 per day*
Total cost = RM 314.63 per day
Therefore;
Cost per tonne = RM 317.87/6
= RM 52.44 t-1
Note: *Actual cost based on the study.
The average labour cost for harvesting bunches
in the tall palm area is around RM 30 – RM 40 t-1.
From the calculation above, the dierence between
mechanical and manual harvesting is between
RM 13 – RM 23 t-1, which can be considered as high.
On the other hand, in terms of productivity, the man-
ual harvesting output is around 100 - 150 bunches
man-1 day-1, whereas for the machine it is around
200 - 250 bunches man-1 day-1. There are three pos-
sible ways of reducing the machine harvesting cost:
increasing productivity, extending working hours,
and reducing the machine capital cost.
Reducing the machine’s cost can be achieved in
several ways, i.e. some modications of the machine
to get to the price required, using tyres instead of
track system and getting a reliable manufacturer
who can produce the machine with the same or even
better quality, at a lower cost. MPOB is looking into
these options.
CONCLUSION
The oil palm mechanical harvesting machine has a
good potential of replacing the manual operation
of harvesting tall palms, which is currently tedious.
The study shows that the machine is able to perform
all the necessary functions eectively and compete
with the manual operation. The important role of the
grapple to hold and bring down the bunch has been
proven in this study and ensures that the machine
can operate eectively. Furthermore, this three-in-
one machine, which cuts, collects and transports
produces clean bunches (with less mud and trash)
with less loose fruits on the ground.
Note: FFB – fresh fruit bunch.
Figure 9. Average daily productivity of H1 and H2.
FIELD EVALUATION OF HARVESTING MACHINES FOR TALL OIL PALMS
Total FFB harvested for Plot 91A
Journal of oil Palm research 26 (2) (June 2014)
132
It is anticipated that the successful introduction
of the mechanical harvester developed by MPOB will
pave the way for new technologies to be developed,
leading to the development of more ecient and
cheaper machines in the future.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors wish to thank the Director-General of
MPOB for permission to publish this article. The
authors would also like to thank the J C Chang
Group and Hwa Li Estate Div.2 particularly and
those who were directly or indirectly involved in
this project.
REFERENCES
ABD RAHIM, S; ABDUL HALIM, H and AHMAD,
H (1989). Development of harvesting machines for
oil palm. PORIM Buletin No. 19.
ABDUL HALIM, H; RAHIM, S and AHMAD, H
(1988). An improved FFB harvesting pole – with
special reference to PORIM’s aluminum pole.
Paper presented at the National Oil Palm/Palm Oil
Conference – Current Developments. 11-15 October
1988, Kuala Lumpur.
AZMAN, I (2012). An update on current labour
situation in oil palm plantation sector. Proc. of
the Palm Industry Labour: Issues, Performance and
Sustainability Seminar 2012 (PILIPS 2012). 14-15 May
2012, Kuala Lumpur.
FOO, S K (1981). The use of aluminum poles in tall
palm harvesting. The Planter Vol. 57(663): 313-320.
TAN, B T (1990). Trends in labor wages and
productivity in oil palm cultivation. Paper presented
at the MOPGC/PORIM/ISP Workshop on an
Agenda for Research into Further Mechanization of
Oil Palm Estates in Malaysia.
4 TIMES A YEAR
In response to the numerous requests from the scientific community, academicians,
students and readers, MPOB is pleased to announce that the Journal of Oil Palm
Research (JOPR) will be published FOUR times a year beginning 2014. It will be
published in March, June, September and December.
The Journal will continue to publish full-length original research papers and scientific
review papers on various aspects of oil palm, palm oil and other palms.
... -Use special platform -Special motorized cutter (Cantas MT , Ckat MT ) and Battery powered Cantas -Harvesting machines -track and wheel type -Robotic harvester (Akyurt et al., 2002) (Aramide et al., 2016), (Jelani et al, 2003), (Jelani et al., 2008), (Jelani et al., 2017) (Jayaselan et al., 2012), (Khalid, 2014) (Shokripour et al., 2012) ...
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... The challenge for these machines is on the requirements to improve and make them more comfortable, light and productive. The most earnest problems facing the harvesting FFBs machines are summarized in Table 3. (Jayaselan et al., 2012), (Khalid, 2014) ...
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The presence of oil palm loose fruits (LF) on the ground is one of the indicators that the Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) are ready to be harvested. LF are also present when bunch fall to the ground during the cutting operation, and they need to be collected together to maximise the oil content during processing. Even after a century since this crop was first planted commercially in Malaysia, no major changes have been made in terms of how LF are being collected in the plantation. The collection is done manually by hand picking or by using a raking device and the LF are eventually placed into a bag or directly into a container or trailer. This activity involves frequent bending movement which causes backache to the worker. To minimise this problem and to increase the collection productivity, various tools and machines, from using a simple mechanical picking mechanism to vacuum-type collecting machines were developed. Recently, the focus was concentrated towards the unmanned collection concept. This paper reviews most of the developing technologies related to mechanised oil palm LF collection and their technical limitations. Design, working system and cost considerations for the future development of LF collecting machine are also described.
... During harvesting, handling and transportation operations, ripe fruits become easily detachable from the bunch. Study by [6] indicates that by using the harvesting machine, the amount of detached loose fruits produced during harvesting was reduced 45% compared to manual harvesting as the cut bunches will be conveyed into container carried by machine. With the absence of bunches impact, the amount of loose fruit scattered on the ground is minimise. ...
... Farm mechanization is important due to the scarcity of labours in the oil palm plantation industry (Azwan et al., 2016). Besides that, various other factors militate in favour of the shift to mechanization as a way to increase labour productivity in oil palm plantation (Mohd Ramdhan and Abd Rahim, 2014) The quantity of produce harvested by unit area and all other related services can be increased by improving the timeliness of operations and the efficiency on tasks' execution, thus improving the overall productivity. Mechanization appears to be the most suitable alternative to the intensive use of manpower despite its cost and the need for equipment and machinery, with an attractive long-term return to investment, along with the additional values from the alternative cropping system or livestock integration. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A comparative study on suitability of electric farm vehicle deployment in oil palm mechanisation operations was carried out. Two research methodologies were pursued, the assessment of battery's state of charge and the load carrying test. The test was conducted in a 70-ha actual oil palm planted area with mild undulating topography and inland type soil. The first results of the test suggested that the farm electric vehicle is suitable to be deployed for the field maintenance activity as compared to the fresh fruit bunch and loose fruit evacuation activity. The second methodologies indicated that the electric vehicle could reduce up to 48% of energy as compared to a common sizeable internal combustion engine vehicle in oil palm plantation operation. In term of the environment, it was anticipated that a saving of almost 5.2 tonnes of CO2-eq per year could be realised from the electric vehicle deployment for farm maintenance activity in Malaysia. Besides environmental benefits, the electric vehicle also incurs lower purchase and maintaining cost compared to the common utility type diesel engine vehicle. The benefit obtained shows that the electric vehicle could reduce dependency on fossil fuel energy for a sustainable agriculture development in Malaysia.
... In South and Latin America, labour is more expensive leading to a competitive disadvantage. Mechanisation options for spreading fertilisers, spraying pesticides, and harvesting are being developed but have not yet been sufficiently successful to resolve labour shortages (Carter et al., 2007;Yahya et al., 2013;Khalid and Shuib, 2014). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Palm oil is currently the most important vegetable oil in the world, and Indonesia is the world’s largest producer. Oil palm plantations are an important source of revenue, but rapid expansion has led to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Forty per cent of the plantation area in Indonesia is owned by smallholders, whose yields are relatively poor. The objective of this thesis was to investigate the yield gaps and agronomic practices in Indonesian smallholder oil palm plantations, with a focus on fertiliser application, and to propose and test better management practices that can contribute to sustainable intensification. The research consisted of an in-depth literature review, several surveys, the collection of samples in smallholder plantations, and a three-year experiment with 14 smallholder farmers. In yield gap analysis, three yield levels are recognised: potential, limited, and actual yield. The potential yield in a plantation is determined by radiation, CO2 concentration, temperature, planting material, culling, planting density, pruning, pollination, and crop recovery (harvesting). The yield-limiting factors are rainfall, irrigation, soil, waterlogging, topography, slope, and nutrition. The yield-reducing factors are weeds, pests, and diseases. In smallholder plantations, the yield gap is mostly explained by poor planting material, poor drainage, sub-optimal planting density, poor culling (leading to large variability and the presence of unproductive palms), infrequent harvesting, soil erosion, poor nutrient management, and rat damage, but the effects of these factors on yield vary depending on local conditions. The survey data showed clear evidence of insufficient and unbalanced fertiliser applications, and visual nutrient deficiency symptoms were observed in many plantations. Leaf sample results showed that 57, 61 and 80% of the plantations in Jambi and Sintang were deficient in N, P and K, respectively. In Riau, 95, 67 and 75% of the plantations were deficient in N, P and K. The implementation of better management practices (including harvesting, weeding, pruning, and nutrient application) in 14 smallholder fields for three years resulted in palms with significantly larger leaves and heavier bunches compared with palms under farmer management, but improvements in yield were small and not statistically significant, and financial returns on better practices were negative. Possible causes of the small yield response were good starting yields, increased inter-palm competition for sunlight, and environmental constraints (particularly the 2015 El Niño event and waterlogging in Jambi). On the basis of our findings on yield gaps, nutrient limitations and better practices, we discuss how Indonesian smallholders may be supported to achieve sustainable intensification at a larger scale, and we reflect on the broader implications of our findings for a future supply of truly sustainable palm oil.
... During harvesting, handling and transportation operations, ripe fruits become easily detachable from the bunch. Study by [6] indicates that by using the harvesting machine, the amount of detached loose fruits produced during harvesting was reduced 45% compared to manual harvesting as the cut bunches will be conveyed into container carried by machine. With the absence of bunches impact, the amount of loose fruit scattered on the ground is minimise. ...
Research
Full-text available
The Loose Fruit Collecting Machine (MK IV) is a device where the loose fruits are collected into a cone shape barrel using a cyclonic vacuum concept. With its cone shape, it creates a cyclone atmosphere once the fruits are inside which could minimise bruise to skin of the fruit. The primary objective of this innovation is to utilise vacuum concept to draw in loose fruits into a container. The machine is maintaining the suction that as in previous model utilising vacuum cyclone concept. The loose fruits are sucked into a cylindrical shape of casing or barrel. As the fruits are circulating the barrel/chamber the 'heavier' fruits will fall to the bottom of the barrel while the lighter materials such as dried leaves will be sucked out of the system. This technology is also capable of separating the collected loose fruits and the debris into two layers in the vacuum chamber hence producing clean loose fruit at the bottom of the fruit barrel. The machine is easy to operate, fast operation and important to state that the operator will no longer having back-pain problem. The additional mechanism that has been improved are, the barrel which now is being functioned as a temporary storage area. The contents in the barrel occasionally say after the machine has visited 10 points collection or palms be emptied into another container that can hold up to 500 kg of fruits. Once the amount of fruits in the container reaches 500 kg, the operator will lift and unload them into mainline transport system either a waiting trailer, bin or sterilizer cage. The machine is capable of collecting on average of 1500 kg to 2000 kg of clean loose fruits in a day. With the proposed design, the machine is also well integrated with mainline transportation system i.e. the sterilizer cage system.
An improved FFB harvesting pole -with special reference to PORIM's aluminum pole. Paper presented at the National Oil Palm/Palm Oil Conference -Current Developments
  • Abdul Halim
ABDUL HALIM, H; RAHIM, S and AHMAD, H (1988). An improved FFB harvesting pole -with special reference to PORIM's aluminum pole. Paper presented at the National Oil Palm/Palm Oil Conference -Current Developments. 11-15 October 1988, Kuala Lumpur.
The use of aluminum poles in tall palm harvesting
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An update on current labour situation in oil palm plantation sector
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AZMAN, I (2012). An update on current labour situation in oil palm plantation sector. Proc. of the Palm Industry Labour: Issues, Performance and Sustainability Seminar 2012 (PILIPS 2012). 14-15 May 2012, Kuala Lumpur.
Trends in labor wages and productivity in oil palm cultivation. Paper presented at the MOPGC/PORIM/ISP Workshop on an Agenda for Research into Further Mechanization of Oil Palm Estates in Malaysia
  • B Tan
TAN, B T (1990). Trends in labor wages and productivity in oil palm cultivation. Paper presented at the MOPGC/PORIM/ISP Workshop on an Agenda for Research into Further Mechanization of Oil Palm Estates in Malaysia.