Management of nutrients and residues in perennial tree crop systems of Malaysia.
Legume cover crops have long been an important part of soil management for plantation crops (rubber, oil palm and cocoa) in Peninsular Malaysia. Initially, they were used to provide effective cover against soil erosion in newly planted or replanted crops on steep terrain, and later to supply additional N. The non-shade cover crops can contribute about 226 to 353 kg/ha over a period of 5 years, while for shade tolerant crops it can be as high as 694 kg/ha from the third to the eighth year of growth. The recycling of agro-wastes from plantation crop processing in perennial plantations has proven to be so beneficial that almost all the wastes from oil palm, rubber and cocoa are utilized. Together with the use of inorganic fertilizers where necessary, the use of agricultural wastes has enabled the plantation sector to be more profitable, competitive, able to prevent pollution, and above all make the industry environmentally friendly and sustainable.