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Complementarity in Rubber-Salacca Intercropping System under Integrated Fertilization Mixed with Organic Soil Amendments

Zar Ni Zaw, Rawee Chiarawipa, Surachart Pechkeo and Sakanan Saelim

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 45, Issue 1, February 2022


Keywords: Chitosan, Hevea brasiliensis, humic acid, intercropping, integrated fertilization, soil amendment

Published on: 10 Febuary 2022

The replanting practice of rubber monocropping in Southern Thailand has depleted soil fertility. Most rubber planted areas in the region were under intensive chemical fertilization resulting in less soil organic matters and root proliferation. With the instability of rubber prices, some rubber farmers converted from monocropping into intercropping. Integrated fertilization in which mixed organic-inorganic fertilizers are combined with organic soil amendments could be considered in a rubber-based intercropping system to increase land productivity with cost-saving fertilization by rehabilitating soil properties. A study was conducted at a rubber-salacca intercropping farm comprised of 14-year-old mature rubber trees associated with eight-year-old salacca palms to identify the consequences of the integrated fertilization combined with two organic soil amendments: humic acid (HSA); chitosan (CSA). Changes in soil organic matter (SOM), leaf area index (LAI), fine root traits, tree physiological status, and crop productions under the two integrated fertilization were compared against the controlled application of conventional chemical fertilizer. The CSA application increased the SOM in the topsoil layer by 80%. In the 21 – 40 cm soil depth, the rubber roots treated with HSA and the salacca palm roots treated with CSA showed greater fine root length density (FRLD). Under CSA, the physiological status of the rubber trees showed less stress. The treatments of HSA and CSA showed 145% and 72%, respectively, higher in total production of salacca palm than that of the chemical fertilization. Improvements in the soil fertility, the root’s function, the crops’ yields, and the tree physiological status were consequences as complementarity in the system under the integrated fertilizations.

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