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Coconut (con't)

Nutrient Management

Table 2.0: Corrective fertilization of N, K, CL and S depending on the age of coconut (wt per palm per year)
Component N K CL S
Field Planting 30 g 75 g 66 g 36 g
6 months from Field Planting 40 g 125 g 111 g 49 g
1 year 0.10 kg 0.30 kg 0.26 kg 0.12 kg
2 years 0.15 kg 0.45 kg 0.40 kg 0.18 kg
3 years 0.20 kg 0.60 kg 0.53 kg 0.24 kg
4 years 0.30 kg 0.80 kg 0.70 kg 0.36 kg
5 years and above 0.40 kg 1.00 kg 0.90 kg 0.48 kg

Pest and Disease Management

Two main methods in controlling pest and diseases are a) chemical and b) biological. Chemical makes use of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc as a means of control. While biological means utilizes parasites and predators.

Harvest Management

For the purpose of obtaining high oil content in copra, the nuts should be harvested not earlier than twelve months after pollination. Harvesting using a "Halabas" (a sickle mounted on a bamboo pole) is much faster than climbing each tree. A picker can harvest 100 trees a day using the "Halabas" while only 25 trees a day for climbing each tree.

Intercropping

The active root system of a coconut palm is concentrated only within 2 meters from its base. Therefore, for a coconut plantation with a spacing of 8m x 8m leaves about 8,000 sq. meters space is left unproductive. To maximize the use of land and other resource such as manpower, machinery, fertilizer, pesticide, etc, intercropping is then adopted. Another reason why intercropping is practiced is the unusual fluctuations of the price of copra. Inclusion of other crops lessens the burden of the coconut farmer by giving alternative sources of income.

Two types of cropping pattern:

  1. Sequential crop - producing two or more crop in single stand one after the other on the same plot during the same year.
  2. Intercropping - growing two or more crop species at the same time in the same field.

Five ways of Intercropping:

  1. Mixed intercropping - simultaneous growing of two or more crop specie in an irregular arrangement, i.e. without a well-defined planting pattern

  2. Row intercropping - simultaneous growing of two or more crop specie in a well-defined row arrangement

  3. Strip intercropping - simultaneous growing of two or more crop species in a strip wide enough to allow independent cultivation, but at the same time, sufficiently narrow to induce crop interactions

  4. Relay intercropping - planting one or two crops within an established cropping pattern wherein the final stage of the first crop coincides with the initial development of the other crops

  5. Multi-storey cropping - coconut + black pepper + cacao + pineapple are planted so that each crop produces canopies at different heights.

One general rule in intercropping is to arrange to rows of intercrop in a way that these receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. With regards to selection of crops, the following factors must be considered:

  1. Market for the intercrop - coconut farmers must ensure they know where to sell the products of the intercrop. Alternate market outlets must also be determined in case pole vaulting happens.

  2. Competition it may offer to coconut as regards to sunlight, water and nutrient requirement. - Intercrops must be selected so as not to compete with sunlight, water and nutrient. Tree, root canopy must carefully be calculated so as not to cover other intercrop. In very tall coconut, sunlight increases as the height of coconut trees becomes taller.

  3. Ecological factors

    • Microbial activity - Interplanting cacao between coconut palms showed success in many trials. Coconut-cacao intercrop improved the microbial activity of the rhizosphere. There was an increase in organic matter component of the soil caused by the periodic shredding of cacao leaves. Nitrogen fixing and phosphate solubilizing bacterial activity also increased. As a result, coconut yields were retained and cacao yields increased. Presently, PCA with funding from DA BAR will be spearheading an agri-business development project on Coconut-Cacao Intercropping project.

    • Increase of pest and disease - some intercrop favor the build up of unfavorable pest and disease population. Observations on different trials are being documented for reference purposes. In other instances, however, build up of parasites and predators occur. This favors slow down of pest and disease population. In fact, some institutions like PCA and BPI are into direct research on rearing parasites and predators.

Another option in Coconut-based Farming System is Animals under coconut - the main benefit of grazing animals under coconut is for the removal of weeds. Manual and chemical process of weeding is done away with. Manure from the animals also helps in increasing the organic matter and nutrient of the soil. A disadvantage however especially for large animals is the over grazing which leads to compacted soil. Coconut roots are sensitive to aeration. To avoid this, cattle grazing must be supervised carefully.

Products and By-Products

  1. Copra - is the dried coconut meat. It is the source where coconut oil is extracted for many uses.

    1. Oil - extracted processed/filtered oil obtained from copra. It is mainly used for cooking but also used for many other purposes; moisturizer, liniment for muscles and joints, cosmetics, medicines, soaps and detergents, paints, biofuels, etc.
    2. Coconut milk - the liquid obtained by pressing grated coconut meat. This is used for cooking. And making home-made coconut oil.
    3. Latik - heat coagulated content of coconut milk. This is also used for food purposes.
    4. Dessicated coconut - dried coconut grated meat mainly prepared for food uses.
    5. Coconut Flour - this is the de-oiled dessicated coconut that is finely grounded. This is used in baking.

  2. Coconut Shell - This is the protective covering of the coconut meat and water. This makes a very good source of charcoal. This is a very good fuel for domestic cooking.

    1. Activated charcoal - found to possess the ability to adsorb gases and vapors hence finds uses in gas mask, cigarette filters, removal of bad odors from air-conditioning, freezers and refrigerators, and many other adsorption capabilities. Continuing research on this is making advances lately. Activated charcoal are used in filtering water and air.
    2. Charcoal briquettes - coconut shell charcoal are processed into briquettes so that it is easier to transport. Specifically used in grills.
    3. Novelty items - local craftsmen make indigenous novelties from shells such as lamps, figurines, picture frames, musical instruments, souvenirs and many more.

  3. Coconut Husk - the fibrous outer covering of the nut. This part extends from the nut skin to the shell and varying thickness up to 5 cm.

    1. Coco-coir - The hair-like thread extracted from the coconut husk by mechanical method or by the decorticating machine. The resulting products are coco dust and coco coir. Coco coir is used for upholstery, mattress fibers, filter pads, carpets, erosion nets, insulation material, biodegradable pots, orchid and ornamental planting medium, etc.
    2. Coco dust - Are the medium collected after separating the coir from the husk. It has very good water retention capabilities thus used mainly as potting medium.

  4. Coconut Water - the liquid found inside the coconut. It is an excellent and readily available drinking water. The quality of water varies according to the age of the nut. Younger nut water is largely consumed locally as beverage. Water from mature nuts is used as raw material for making nata de coco, vinegar, intravenous fluid, electrolyte, wine and alcohol. Large uses however have not prospered

  5. Coconut Sap - a very sweet juice obtained from a young inflourescence. Locally known as Tuba. Toddy in India.

    1. Liquor - Coco-sap are left to ferment and made into alcoholic beverages called "Tuba". In Samar and Leyte province, they add bark from a local tree and ferment to produce "Bahalina". In Southern Tagalog and Bicol area, coco-sap are distilled and made into a strong alcohol called "Lambanog".
    2. Vinegar - Coco sap are also made into vinegar.
    3. Coco sugar - Coco sap are sometimes cooked to produce sugar. This has been a long practice in some places but not in very large quantities.

Suitability Map

References:

Banzon, Julian A and Velasco, Jose R. "Coconut" Production and Utilization. Copyright 1982

Dar, William D. "Coco-based Farming Systems" State of the Knowledge and Practice 1990

Bourgoing, Raymond D "Coconut: A pictorial Technical Guide for Smallholders" Edited by Dante Benigno 1991