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OMP Fertilizer Planner (OMP-FP)

A decision support tool for preparing fertilizer recommendations

All plantations are faced with the challenge of preparing cost-effective annual fertilizer recommendations. Often, agronomists resort to spreadsheets to prepare recommendations but this makes it difficult for management and finance staff to participate in decision making.

We collaborate with Agrisoft Systems in the development and implementation of OMP Fertilizer Planner (OMP-FP), a computerised decision support tool that can be used to calculate fertilizer recommendations for each block based on relevant agronomic data (e.g., leaf and soil analysis data, yield, field conditions). All the necessary data that that is referred to when preparing fertilizer recommendations is stored in OMP.

In a nut shell, OMP-FP takes the agony out of preparing fertilizer recommendations.

How does the software work? The OMP-FP provides the agronomist with a framework to calculate fertilizer recommendations based on available data in OMP on fertilizer availability and cost, leaf and soil analysis results, yield and other variables (vegetative growth, field upkeep standards, etc) that may influence decision making. Nothing is prescribed by the software – instead, the agronomist develops rules that can be used to determine fertilizer rates.

The key steps are as follows:

  • The agronomist first collects information on the fertilizers available on the market (price, cost of transport and application, and nutrient content).
  • The agronomist then makes rules to decide on basal fertilizer rates (to maintain nutrient status in blocks with adequate nutrient status) and corrective doses (to correct nutrient status in blocks with deficient nutrient status).
  • The agronomist then sets up a regime for splitting and timing fertilizer doses (amount per month).
  • The agronomist sets up a fertilizer programme for immature blocks (from planting up to a maximum of 35 months after planting)
  • The software then computes nutrient recommendations based on the rules that the agronomist has set up.
  • The software then determines the least costly source of each nutrient for mature plantings based on the list of fertilizers prepared.
  • The software generates a report that can be shared with all decision makers that lists fertilizer requirements and costs and all the assumptions made (including available fertilizers and rules set for use of fertilizers as basal and corrective doses).
  • Multiple scenarios can be prepared (varying in amount of fertilizer applied) for the purpose of cost benefit analysis.
  • After review, the rule sets and fertilizer availability can be adjusted and revised recommendations produced for the purpose of further review.
  • Once the recommendations have been approved, the doses can be copied across to OMP where it is possible to monitor implementation each month (i.e. actual versus recommended doses).

The software is easy to set up and provides a one-stop solution to fertilizer recommendations:

  • Block specific fertilizer recommendations based on agronomic data stored in OMP.
  • Identification of least costly fertilizer nutrient sources based on a list of available products (price, nutrient content).
  • Scheduling of fertilizer by month.
  • Cost of fertilizer programme.
  • Fertilizer schedule for immature palms.
  • Once recommendations have been prepared in OMP-FP, data is copied to OMP so that fertilizer application can be monitored against recommendations.

Download an introduction on the use of OMP here.

Download information about OMP Fertilizer Planner here.

The preparation of fertilizer recommendations is a key part of oil palm management because fertilizers are usually the largest variable cost of production. The OMP-Fertilizer Planner can be used to prepare fertilizer recommendations for immature and mature plantings based on rules applied to data (e.g., yield, leaf analysis, soil type) store in OMP.

Thomas Fairhurst

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