Preliminary assesment on drought tolerant oil palm in semi-arid area
The evaluation of oil palm growth performance and their corresponding effect on drought very crucial in selection of proper parent’s tree. The parent palm that showed drought tolerance and have less effect on oil yield is important for optimisation semi-arid lands usage in future. The Split plot with two replications in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) were conducted and mixed stand with an adjacent control plot. All 19 progenies was evaluated and interaction effects are estimated using split plots analysis. Among all progenies, PB29 showed the highest average production in term of vegetative parts and oil yield. This was clearly seen on first year of drought season, where, fresh fruit bunch (FFB) of PB29 was reach 12.42 t/ha, while, in second year of drought season showed increment of 5 t/ha to become total yield about 17.94 t/ha. Drought tolerance trait is a major improvement, if it can be incorporated into new planting material of oil palm. It can widen the range of suitable land selection for plantation thus increases possibility to expend oil palm in marginal regime area. The new breed, must possess two characteristic which is able tolerate a drought condition as well as excessive water supply (seasonal climate) and produce high oil yield.