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    C. B. S. Teh and J. Talib, Soil Physics Analysis, vol. 1, Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang, Malaysia, 2006.

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  • TITLE: Reducing Runoff Loss of Applied Nutrients in Oil Palm Cultivation Using Controlled-Release Fertilizers
  • AUTHORS: A. Bah,M. H. A. Husni,C. B. S. Teh,M. Y. Rafii,S. R. Syed Omar,O. H. Ahmed
  • JOURNAL NAME: Advances in Agriculture DOI: 10.1155/2014/285387 Dec 24, 2014
  • ABSTRACT: Controlled-release fertilizers are expected to minimize nutrient loss from crop fields due to their potential to supply plant-available nutrients in synchrony with crop requirements. The evaluation of the efficiency of these fertilizers in tropical oil palm agroecological conditions is not yet fully explored. In this study, a one-year field trial was conducted to determine the impact of fertilization with water soluble conventional mixture and controlled-release fertilizers on runoff loss of nutrients from an immature oil palm field. Soil and nutrient loss were monitored for one year in 2012/2013 under erosion plots of 16?m2 on 10% slope gradient. Mean sediments concentration in runoff amounted to about 6.41?t?ha?1. Conventional mixture fertilizer posed the greatest risk of nutrient loss in runoff following fertilization due to elevated nitrogen (6.97%), potassium (13.37%), and magnesium (14.76%) as percentage of applied nutrients. In contrast, this risk decreased with the application of controlled-release fertilizers, representing 0.75–2.44%?N, 3.55–5.09%?K, and 4.35–5.43%?Mg loss. Meanwhile, nutrient loss via eroded sediments was minimal compared with loss through runoff. This research demonstrates that the addition of controlled-release fertilizers reduced the runoff risks of nutrient loss possibly due to their slow-release properties. 1. Introduction Oil palm is mainly cultivated on highly weathered soils which belong to the orders Ultisols and Oxisols. These soils are predominantly acidic and low in fertility [1]. Fertilizers are crucial in oil palm production, accounting for 50–70% of field operational costs and about 25% of the total cost of production [2, 3]. Mineral fertilizers, mainly conventional forms, account for more than 90% of fertilizers used by all types of farming systems in Malaysia [4]. The oil palm is a heavy feeder and requires quite large quantities of fertilizers to produce good yield [5]. Fertilizer management on undulating, hilly soils used for oil palm cultivation is very important because of the need to maintain fertility of the soil and to as well minimize soil erosion and nutrient loss. Frequent application of large amounts of chemical fertilizers coupled with high rainfall intensity tends to increase the risk of nutrient loss. The loss of nutrients through leaching and runoff reduces both crop productivity and economic gains. Furthermore, excess nutrient loading to ground or underground water bodies can impair designated uses of water [6, 7]. There is a need to develop alternatives from the fertilizer industry to make