Oil Palm Intensification for Land Saving in Indonesia

Patricio Grassini, Antoine Couëdel, Juan I. Rattalino Edreira, José F. Andrade, M.A. Slingerland, R.P.M. van den Beuken, Fahmuddin Agus, Suroso Rahutomo

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Intensifying production on existing plantation area can help Indonesia to meet palm oil production goals and avoid massive conversion of natural ecosystems. Yield potential is the yield of a well-adapted cultivar when grown without water and nutrient limitations and without incidence of biotic stresses such as weeds, insect pests, and pathogen. The yield gap is defined as the difference between yield potential and current average farmer yield. Smallholder plantations comprise about 44% of the total of 12 million ha of Indonesian oil palm plantation. Estimated average fresh fruit bunch yield (FFB) in large plantations and, especially, smallholder plantations is well below yield reported for top producing oil palm blocks which is close 30 t FFB/ha/y. Indeed, national average yield is ca. 18 t FFB per ha. Hence, there is a large gap between current oil palm yield and the yield potential as determined by climate and soil, which suggests that there is significant room for increasing palm oil production on existing plantation area. However, estimates of yield potential obtained following a consistent, robust protocol that makes use of the best available sources of (weather, soil, and management) data are lacking for major oil palm producing areas in Indonesia. Here we describe a protocol for estimating yield gap in oil palm in mineral soils in Indonesia following the principles of the Global Yield Gap Atlas (www.yieldgap.org). We used a combination of best available sources of weather, soil, and agronomic practices, a recently upgraded oil palm simulation model (PALMSIM), and spatial analysis to estimate average long-term yield potential and yield gaps for oil palm in 22 locations across the archipelago. These site-specific estimates of yield potential and yield gap were subsequently up-scaled from local to regional and national levels. Production potential for different scenarios of crop intensification and land use change are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019
Event2019 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting - San Antonio, United States
Duration: 10 Nov 201913 Dec 2019


Conference2019 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio
Internet address


  • oil palm, yield potential, yield gap, intensification


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