SHORT CUT SYSTEM OF EXPLOITATION FOR RUBBER WITH LOW INVESTMENT AND HIGH RETURNS FROM SUSTAINABLE INCREASE IN TREE, TAPPER AND LAND PRODUCTIVITY
Mature and Established Rubber Tree Cultivation Technology.
User friendly, easy to implement and low maintenance.
Increase of up to 300% on Tapper Productivity compared to conventional systems.
Increase of up to 100% on Land Productivity compared to conventional systems.
The economic life of trees extended with Short Cut (1/8S & 1/4S).
Sustained high yield productivity over long term.
TECHNICAL DETAILS OF SYSTEM AND HIGHLIGHTS OF YIELD PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS
Short cut system for exploitation for increased productivity and profitability for Rubber Tree Cultivation.
The RF5G short cut system of exploitation has been developed to maximise yield productivity in rubber plantations and smallholdings, with increases incomes for tappers and smallholders, reduced cost of production per kg, of rubber and higher margins of profitability per hectare. This system which has been under evaluation since 1991, and recommended for commercial adoption in 1995 has since been adopted commercially in large hectares in several natural rubber producing countries. It is currently recommended for commercial adoption on rubber, 11 years of age and above or trees which have completed tapping of the first basal virgin panel (BO-1).
Definition of System
The RF5G short-cut system involves tapping of one-eighth or one quarter spiral cut (approx. 10.2 – 20.4cm length) on lower frequencies of d/3 or d/4 plus very powerful gaseous stimulation at intervals of 10days (gas-tap-tap-gas) and in combination with enlarged task sizes of 550 to 750 trees per task. The gaseous stimulant is applied at very low doses from a portable gas cylinder into the RF5G applicator fixed at the desired position on the panel of the tree. The gas is infused into the applicator with the aid of an in-flow valve which is connected to the applicator by means of a PVC tubing. The gas diffuses from the applicator into the bark tissues over 24 to 48 hours. The applicator which normally replaced after one year is shifted to a new position at the end of this period.
Background of the System
- The stimulation process embodied in the RF5G system is a very potent, effective and efficient method, since the active ingredient in the form of a gas is applied directly into the bark tissues, unlike the conventional methods (eg.ethephon) where the active ingredient (gas) is released indirectly into the bark tissues from breakdown of the stimulant applied on the bark.
- It is the oldest gaseous method of stimulation on shortcuts in the rubber industry and is strongly supported by a solid data base obtained on a broad range of cultivars over several years, from commercial adoption on large hectares, in several NR producing countries in S.E Asia, South Asia, West Africa & Latin America.
RF5G Unlike Other Long Flow System in the Market has the Following Unique Features:
- Intermittent application of gaseous stimulant at 10 day intervals with very low doses of the stimulant.
- Trees receive a small pulse of the gas which is the threshold required to evoke the necessary stimulation.
- The trees are allowed to respond to the low dose of the gas, then recover from the stimulation before the next dose is given.
- Trees can adapt to this system of intermittent stimulation because it is not excessive and stressful.
- The trees can adapt to this system over the long term without build-up of adverse effects as confirmed by:
RF5G Unlike Other Long Flow System in the Market has the Following Distinct Practical Advantages:
- System so designed to ensure that trees can with stand gaseous stimulation over the long term without adverse effects.
- Trees are only stimulated when they are to be tapped-particularly attractive for smallholders.
- Frequency of gaseous stimulation can be kept flexible according to the required amount of crop to be extracted- if the yields are high, the frequency of gassing can be reduced.
- If DRC values should decline due to excessive late dripping, then the gassing frequency can be reduced until DRC values recover.
- If there are signs of increased partial dryness along tapping cut, then gassing frequency can be reduced till trees recover.
- Low levels of intermittent gassing ensures that there are no adverse bark reactions such as cracking, flaking or hardening of bark.
- Future tapping of bark is not a problem since it remains soft as in normal trees tapped on conventional systems.
- Applicators are fixed externally on the surface of the bark without damaging or injuring the bark as would be the case, if the applicator device is inserted internally into the bark tissues.
Who Should Use or Adopt this System
- Rubber plantations and smallholdings who wish to maximize yield production.
- This system is ideal for exploitation of high panels of trees which are 15 years old of age and above (premium rubber), on which there is a need to sustain high yield productivity and which is not possible from tapping of renewed panels.
- Trees which are 11 years of age and above and currently tapped on basal panel BO-2 (2nd virgin panel) can be exploited on the RF5G system on this panel, ether on 1/8S or 1/4S cut on d/4 frequency of tapping.
- Plantations / smallholdings with shortage of skilled tapper and where there is a need to minimize wounding, reduce back consumption and prolong economic life of high yielding panels.
- Plantations / smallholdings who have a need to maximise crop extraction from rubber which is 5 to 8 years from replanting but are unable to do so because they believe that the existing conventional systems cannot achieve their targets or goals.
- Fields with young mature rubber (6 to 10 years old) which have been targeted for early felling due to various unavoidable circumstances.
Tree Suitanle for the System
- The preferred age is 11 years or older unless there are exceptional circumstances as indicated above.
- Have been adequately fertilised both during the immature and mature phases, with adherence to recommended manuring regimes.
- Should not have been heavily exploited, with intensive exploitation systems (e.g long cuts on daily tapping).
- With adequate bark reserves available on the trees.
- Good canopy conditions with above average foliage.
- No previous history of high incidence of brown bast or tree dryness in the field or smallholding. However, dry trees can still be exploited on this system provided dryness is only confined to certain tapping panels.
Desired Condition or Panel/Bark
- For upward tapping, at least half the high panel bark (HO-3; HO-4) is available.
- If on basal panel renewed bark, it should have reasonable amount of renewal with sufficient bark thickness of 10mm and should be smooth without excessive scars from previous tapping wounds.
- It is best to commence on RF5G System at time of commencement of tapping on panel BO-2. However, if this panel has already been tapped for more than 1 year, it is best to rest the panel and tap high panel (HO-1) for 1 year before, reverting back to panel BO-2.
Highlights of Yield Performance and Related Aspects
- This system has been found to be effective on a broad range of clones, popularly planted in several NR producing countries.
- Tapper productivity has been increased manifold with mean yields ranging from 60 to 100 kg/task/tapping(200% to 300% above that of conventional system for task sizes ranging from 500 to 600 trees.
- Trees productivity (gm/tree/tapping) has been markedly increased, with mean g/t/t values in most cases ranging from 80 to 100 over period of 7 years.
- Land productivity (kg/ha) has been enhanced with increase in yields ranging from 25% to 175% above that of corresponding trees tapped on conventional systems.
- Data obtained continuously over 7 years show that the yields on RF5G short-cut system have been sustained over this period of up to 7 years with appropriate manipulation of drainage areas (tapping panels) on the trees.
- The DRC values of latex from RF5G tapped trees, though registering an initial decline, recover subsequently to stabilise at values which are only 2 to 3 units below that of conventionally tapped trees.
- Tree dryness incidence recorded over four to five year period in some of the older commercial areas show that the incidence is within expected levels (less than 10%) and either similar or not markedly higher than that recorded in conventionally tapped trees, with normal methods of yield stimulation.
Economic Aspects of the System
- Tapperincomes in RF5G tapped tasks has been in the range of USD 300 to 450 per month for task sizes ranging from 500 to 600 trees.
- Income earned by individual smallholders per tapping have ranged from USD 108 to 171, at rubber selling prices of USD 1.80/kg (TSR 20) for holdings of 500 to 700 trees.
- The increase in cost of production per kg of rubber produced in RRIMFLOW tapped fields based on large scale commercial adoption of the system (materials plus all additional labour costs) is less than 10%.
- The amount of additional crop required on the RF5G system (above that of conventional system) for recovery of investment on the system is about 0.8kg dry rubber per tree per year or an additional 10grams of dry rubber per tree per tapping at rubber selling price of USD 1.80/kg.(TSR 20).
- The increase in ex-estate profitability per ha on the RF5G system relative to that of conventional systems have ranged from 25% to 190% for a broad range of clones.
- The payback period or breakeven to recover costsof materials and initials and initial establishment costs per hectarefor estates is about 11 to 12 tappings, while for individual smallholders with only expenses incurred on cost of materials, the payback or breakeven period is 8 to 9 tapping. (at rubber price of USD 1.80 per kg).
Procedures for Sustained High Yield
- Adopt practice of periodic panel change over if possible between high and basal panels thus avoiding continuous exploitation of the same panels for prolonged periods.
- To minimize leakage ensure that the initial fixing of the RF5G applicator is on dry bark and the flange of the applicator is pressed on the bark so that the sealant sticks to the bark before stapling.
- To avoid subsequent leakage problem, one round of maintenance is required, 4 to 5 months after initial fixing with application of E-Seal, along the edges of the flange in contact with the bark.
- Periodically check the in-flow valves to makes sure there is no leakage.
- Practise afternoon or evening crop collection to avoid possible rain washout of high yields from late dripping.
- Fix “RF Eaves” to achieve the potential number of tapping days and also to save at least fifty-percent (50%) of the crop from late dripping, in the event of the afternoon rains on tapping days.
- Trees should be sustained nutritionally with adequate application of fertilisers. This is to be based on annual soil/foliar sampling and discriminatory manuring recommendations.
- Follow safety regulations in handling RRIMFLOW gas; adjust regulator to less than 2 psi; make sure only a short pulse of gas is applied during each gassing.
- Avoid smoking during gassing and keep gas cylinders away from fire and young children.
- Exercise care when transporting cylinders from the store to field for gassing.
- Store cylinder in properly and adequately ventilated rooms. DO NOT store in CLOSED environments with no windows, no exhaust fans and no proper ventilation
EQUIPMENT USED WITH RRIMFLOW SYSTEM
The preset regulator/cylinder and the harness to hold the cylinder gas are used during gassing. Gas would be completely absorbed within 24 to 48 hours by the bark, at site of application. The gaseous stimulant is applied intermittently (once every 10 days). Each cylinder is sufficient for gassing up to 12,000 trees.