Lining the trees

September 28, 2017

For some perennial crops (such as oil palm) a diverse crop rotation over time is simply impossible. It takes years for these crops to become productive, and clearing the land, land contouring, drainage and know how to replant seedlings is very expensive to establish.

This is why most commercial scale Farmers grow only one type of crop again and again. The problem with that idea is nature always has a way to bring down a crop that is grown again and again. As time goes by and with the coming and passing of each successive season, the strains of diseases will get more resistant till eventually they kill all the crops that are grown time and again.

To successfully plant the same crop again and again without risking the very real possibility of crop failure due to perennial diseases such as basal stem rot that is a common second rotation problem for oil palm.

The farmer has to be able to trick nature. He must plant his new oil palm seedlings in secret and give the impression to the land that he means to plant something besides the crops that he always plants.

This can only be accomplished with technology and scientific farming methods.

One way to fool nature is to inter-plant other species between the palm rows to confuse nature. If done right the land will leave the young palms alone and instead devote all its energies to killing off the dominant genetic plant material in the field. I plan to grow banana’s will the seedlings are young. Adding diversity to the genotypes grown will be helpful.

If I play my cards right nature may leave me alone.


‘Commercial farming is war. In the enterprise of war everything can be reduced into mathematical theorems…the speed of army is inversely proportional to its logistical supply chain. Stay well within the limits and you are safe, exceed it and you might find yourself in the deep end. Nothing is ever what it seems….it is like a game of cat and mouse.

I just happen to be the mouse in this game of sudden death. I scurry here and there mostly in the dark. Stick my head out like a periscope to see whether the cat is around. When the coast is clear. I make a mad dash for the line and live another day to repeat it all again. That’s how I see my lot when it comes to playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature.

I know what she can do when she decides to curl her nails their talons and take a swipe at me. I’ve been on the receiving end so many times that I know she’s a type of woman you don’t just disrespect. Not if you don’t want to roll with the punches.

When it comes to commercial farming I am not just a casual farmer. Being there seen it. Done it. Nearly lost it all even. But no self respecting farmer would ever curse her. Maybe he will say, ‘I may get lucky next time.’ While he picks up the broken pieces and cobbles together whatever that is still left of the remnant that used to be his courage to give it another go….but the farmer will never curse her. Perhaps he might even make excuses for her like ‘she can’t help it whenever she throws pots and pans….the moon affects her.’ But he will never curse her.

That’s a characteristic of hardy men who turn the wheel of life from the good graces of the land. They can always be relied on to love their woman – it doesn’t matter if she gets a bit round around the hips or that she might even lose a tooth. He will always love her.

Today I plucked some wild flowers and offered it to her as a tribute of supplication.

Let me pass safely from the realm of theory to reality….let me. Do not fight me all the way. Make my passage sweet and clear and bright like the finest cellared wine. In return I will be your most loyal and greatest defender.

That was all that I asked from her.

Let me pass.’

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