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Rubber Tree Irrigation


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#1 SAP

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Posted 2007-05-10 17:00:03

Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relat

#2 SAP

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Posted 2007-05-10 17:31:55

Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relat


Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relating to irrigation of rubber tree's and associated growth rates.

I want to put together a cost analysis on whether or not it is economical.

Does it cut down the 6-7 yr wait to a guaranteed 4-5 wait yr before harvest???

I would imagine in Isaarn it maybe the way to go as Isaarn has longer dry season than the south. And that in the south it may not be needed

#3 JungleBiker

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Posted 2007-05-10 21:32:32

Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relat


Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relating to irrigation of rubber tree's and associated growth rates.

I want to put together a cost analysis on whether or not it is economical.

Does it cut down the 6-7 yr wait to a guaranteed 4-5 wait yr before harvest???

I would imagine in Isaarn it maybe the way to go as Isaarn has longer dry season than the south. And that in the south it may not be needed


I am pretty sure irrigation would reduce the time down to what you suggest because I have seen what irrigation will do to teak trees (and others) during the dry season - makes 'em grow faster/bigger. Question is would the shorter wait to first tapping justify the increased cost of the irrigation? I guess your spreadsheet will tell the answer.

#4 Maizefarmer

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Posted 2007-05-10 23:50:12

Yes - will certainly increase growth rates (and in the case of teak it also spreads the growth rings and makes the wood softer). As for rubber the issue is not so much growth rate increase - but does input equal output (or more) i.e. is the cost of irrigating returned by way of extra latex over the life of the tree - and I think the consensus (at least in Thailand) is - no, it is not returned (which is why you don;t see rubber plantations irrigated - not even down south of Thailand.

But I'm no expert on the subject - so could be worng.

MF

#5 chownah

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Posted 2007-05-11 08:11:13

From a business standpoint I think the best way to approach this is to determine how much profit you can expect to get because you will be tapping in years 6 and 7 and then do a present value of a series of two future payments analysis. This will tell you what the future profits are worth today and thus how much you could spend on the irrigation system which you are expecting will give you tapping profits in years 6 and 7. Once you know how much you can spend on the irrigation system then you can determine the actual cost of establishing irrigation for a particular parcel of land and thus determine if it will be profitable or not.

Perhaps this is the analysis which is mentioned in the original post. If so then SAP could let us know what the budget is for establishing irrigation on a per rai basis and the experienced farmers could comment on how likely it is that irrigation can be provided for various pieces of land....or what kind of system you will likely be able to build, maintain, and operate with that budget.
Chownah

Edited by chownah, 2007-05-11 08:18:22.


#6 SAP

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Posted 2007-05-11 16:43:34

To install drip irrigation for tree's you will be looking in the vicinity of 12-18,000 bt per rai, depending no varying factors. Each farm is different remember and that is the beauty of farming.

Energy cost will be 1200 -2500 bt/rai using diesil engine power, and price again dependant on head that you will have to pump the water up.

I just had the thought, that in my experienc the water table in the area's I have been is always 1.5-3 meters deep, so therefore once your tree reaches 3-4 years old it is probably going to be sucking on this anyway and irrigation would definitely be pointless. ANY THOUGHTS ON THIS??

I actually require detailed growth rates or production figures to calculate with, which I can not find. I pretty much know the irrigation figures off the top of my head.

#7 Maizefarmer

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Posted 2007-05-12 02:04:46

SAP

I can't see this adding up at all - chew away on the figures and ..... well, I just don't see it working.

The way I read what is written here is the irrigation is good for a first 3 or 4 years - after which it's done it's job. Have I read that correctly?

I would have thought then that a Baht 69 000 extra cultivation cost (Baht 15 000 p/rai irrigation plus Baht 18 000 x 3years fuel) per rai for rubber for the first few years makes absolutely zero sense. Then on top of that you have labour and maintenance cost - so even if it was just Baht 500 p/month that would add another 18 000 over 3 years a grand total Baht 87K per rai over and above standard cultivatiuon costs per rai of rubber for the same period or time. It's a no-brainer - can't see it working.

MF

#8 chownah

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Posted 2007-05-12 08:02:10

Maizefarmer,
I can flood irrigate one rai of rice paddy out of my pond for ballpark 200 baht in fuel. If the trees required this to be done twice per month then the yearly cost would be 4,800baht per year...this is flood irrigation and drip irrigation should require less water and fuel so I think that this 4,800 baht estimate for fuel for the drip system is very much on the high side... I think your 18,000 baht per rai per year estimate is way too high.

Also, from a business stand point I think it makes better sense to assume that the drip irrigation system would not be thrown away after one use but that after one block of trees reaches a stage where it no longer needs the drip irrigation then the system would be deconstructed and then reconstructed on another block of trees or used for some other crop or sold. I think if the drip system was used for successive blocks of trees then we could assume that it could be used at least three times (possibly more) and this would bring your cost per irrigation setting down to 5,000 baht per rai instead of 15,000 baht per rai....of course the labor for deconstructing the system must be added as an expense too.
Chownah

Edited by chownah, 2007-05-12 08:03:51.


#9 btate

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Posted 2007-05-12 11:22:15

A couple of observations from someone living in an area that is heavily populated with rubber orchards.

I travel throughout the region a LOT, looking at property and enjoying my hobby photographing wildlife. You seldom see any plots of producing rubber that are less than 8 - 10 rai. Most in this area are 20+ rai. Occasionally you will see a small plot of 1 or 2 rai that folks have thrown down some rubber just to make the land productive with some type of crop, generally on hilly terrain.

Planting commercially targeted rubber it is just not feasable to plant less than the above parcel sizes. That means that as a minimum you will be irrigating 8 - 10 rai and generally a lot more, a substantial capital outlay at the start of an orchard.

You won't find many plots that are flat enough to flood irrigate, such as a paddi field. These types of land parcels are about 100% fruit orchards. This is not a comment on flood irrigatioin but rather the land configurations.

I have seen rubber planted on the top of long furrows that would allow ditch irrigation if you had the water source. I've never seen it in practice, and most of those I've seen are in low lying areas where it might be an attempt to keep the young trees feet dry, in rainy season, rather than irrigating them.

Most rubber parcels are hillside plantings so you do have a problem with 'head' depending on where your water source is. These parcels tend to be very irregular in topographic sense with many gullies etc. Hard to lay pipe in such terrain, even flexible tubing needs to be staked or held in some fashion.

The government has changed its planting regimine (at least here) so that rubber is no longer planted in 'lines' but rather curves fitted to the contour of the land. (This from personal experience with 17 rai of new rubber going in on a hill top.)

Well maintained rubber orchards require weeding and grass cutting, generally done by tractor or gas powered weed whacker blades. A potential problem with upkeep of your irrigation system.

All small issues to be sure but, when contemplating irrigation of rubber all the "little" things add up quickly. I am not sure a case can be made for the cost benefit of irrigating rubber. Having seen thousands of rai of rubber I don't recall seeing one rai that was irrigated. Some of these folks are really smart and get every ounce of latex possible from thier trees, if this was a major benefit I would think some of them would have at least tried it.

I have seen however, a tractor or 4 wheel drive pick-up with tanks watering really young trees when they are planted during the dry season. If planted just prior to or at the beginning of the rainy season they get established quite well.

SAP

You might want to contact Mahidol University or the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand for definitive answeres to the productivity of irrigating rubber.

Bt

#10 Maizefarmer

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Posted 2007-05-12 12:41:03

Maizefarmer,
I can flood irrigate one rai of rice paddy out of my pond for ballpark 200 baht in fuel. If the trees required this to be done twice per month then the yearly cost would be 4,800baht per year...this is flood irrigation and drip irrigation should require less water and fuel so I think that this 4,800 baht estimate for fuel for the drip system is very much on the high side... I think your 18,000 baht per rai per year estimate is way too high.

Also, from a business stand point I think it makes better sense to assume that the drip irrigation system would not be thrown away after one use but that after one block of trees reaches a stage where it no longer needs the drip irrigation then the system would be deconstructed and then reconstructed on another block of trees or used for some other crop or sold. I think if the drip system was used for successive blocks of trees then we could assume that it could be used at least three times (possibly more) and this would bring your cost per irrigation setting down to 5,000 baht per rai instead of 15,000 baht per rai....of course the labor for deconstructing the system must be added as an expense too.
Chownah



Wasn't making any estimates at all - go back and read the OP's figures: I was using his figures based on a few rai (3 or 4rai). personaly I also feel it could be done for a lot less - though flood irrigation assumes flat land - which is more than likely not to be the case. Still, I can't see any scenario that justifies rubber plantation irrigation - but I add to that I know nothing about rubber growing.

MF

#11 Lickey

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Posted 2007-05-21 22:13:02

Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relat


Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relating to irrigation of rubber tree's and associated growth rates.

I want to put together a cost analysis on whether or not it is economical.

Does it cut down the 6-7 yr wait to a guaranteed 4-5 wait yr before harvest???

I would imagine in Isaarn it maybe the way to go as Isaarn has longer dry season than the south. And that in the south it may not be needed

Sap, sorry, i overlooked your post, Our Papaya plantation is inter cropped with rubber trees, perhaps 400 rubber trees, not sure, they are Sis in Laws, in the dry season the papaya and RTs get daily irrigation, 50-50-50 fertilizer and regular 2 weekly striming to keep weeds down, {although i like a bit of ground cover to retain moisture} The rows of RTs go out of the PP plantation into a lamyai orchard, where they only get natural irrigation and no Fert, I can confirm that the irrigated RTs are a least 3/4ft taller than the non-irrigated ones, I think all the RTs are about 16months old, same as PP, I dont know anything about RTs but they all seem rather spindly to me, perhaps normal at this age?
Irrigation at the moment is done by low level mini-sprinklers, in 6/8 weeks on the new PP plantation hope to have a drip system in use, I also imagine that the original PPs will expire in another 18 months, leaving the RTs to fend for themselves, by which time they should be well established, The farm is on a hillside so ditch irrigation {without building dams for rain water} is not really in the equation.
Hope this helps, Lickey.

#12 stoneman

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Posted 2007-05-21 22:43:34

[/quote]
Sap, sorry, i overlooked your post, Our Papaya plantation is inter cropped with rubber trees, perhaps 400 rubber trees, not sure, they are Sis in Laws, in the dry season the papaya and RTs get daily irrigation, 50-50-50 fertilizer and regular 2 weekly striming to keep weeds down, {although i like a bit of ground cover to retain moisture} The rows of RTs go out of the PP plantation into a lamyai orchard, where they only get natural irrigation and no Fert, I can confirm that the irrigated RTs are a least 3/4ft taller than the non-irrigated ones, I think all the RTs are about 16months old, same as PP, I dont know anything about RTs but they all seem rather spindly to me, perhaps normal at this age?
Irrigation at the moment is done by low level mini-sprinklers, in 6/8 weeks on the new PP plantation hope to have a drip system in use, I also imagine that the original PPs will expire in another 18 months, leaving the RTs to fend for themselves, by which time they should be well established, The farm is on a hillside so ditch irrigation {without building dams for rain water} is not really in the equation.
Hope this helps, Lickey.
[/quote]

Lickey..

We have 2.100 rubber trees about 50 kms north of Ban Phu.. 1,000 of them are now 5 years old and have never had irrigation...just was no way to get it there..no electricity, etc.. But the other 1,100 now have a drip irrigation system...300 are 2 years old and we watered them all last dry season with a garden hose...time consuming but it worked..The other 800 were put out just before last year's rainy season and about a month ago, I installed a drip system for all 1,100 trees..we used it less than a week and it has been raining ever since. Maybe my installing the system has caused all the rain. I would be very happy if I never had to use it, but I am sure that is not the case..

P.S. We live in BKK but go up to the farm about every 2 months. When we go up, we are in NamSom several times every trip ...Like the market there and we like the hardware store there on the corner by the lake.. Also use the ATM there at the bank...

Stoneman

#13 TBWG

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Posted 2007-05-21 22:52:11

Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relat


Do any of you Gentlemen, or even masters of the googling world have any info or data relating to irrigation of rubber tree's and associated growth rates.

I want to put together a cost analysis on whether or not it is economical.

Does it cut down the 6-7 yr wait to a guaranteed 4-5 wait yr before harvest???

I would imagine in Isaarn it maybe the way to go as Isaarn has longer dry season than the south. And that in the south it may not be needed



Hi All


Call me cynical if you must but I can't help thinking there are going to be a lot of disappointed people around in a few years time.

With government encouragement a lot of people have turned an awful lot of rai over to rubber. Now unless the government has given an undertaking to buy at a guaranteed price (even if they have we now have a new government and we all know that governments worldwide all honour their commitments :o )

I don't want to p**s on anyones fireworks but I think the law of supply and demand will ultimately prevail and anyone who was not in at the outset will only be adding to an inevitable rubber mountain.

First to the market might make some money but from there on in its all downhill.

Bearing in mind my own families involvement I hope to be proven wrong.


TBWG :D

#14 Lickey

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Posted 2007-05-22 01:12:52

Hi Stoneman,
Would it be possible to look at your drip system one day? Ive had some excellent advive from MaizeFarmer on here how to set-up a hillside system, or even level ground, but i would like to see one laid out so as to give me a full perspective of the system.
Namsom market traders take all our produce, 1 lady sells 1.5 tones of Papaya in 7/8 days, and others buy salad stuff from the farm, they help themselves, Mrs weighs it and takes the money, we live about 400mtrs from the lake and the bank, if ok with you, will PM you contact details, perhaps you would like to come see our farm next time you are this way? Cheers, Lickey..

#15 stoneman

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Posted 2007-05-22 11:01:46

Hi All


Call me cynical if you must but I can't help thinking there are going to be a lot of disappointed people around in a few years time.

With government encouragement a lot of people have turned an awful lot of rai over to rubber. Now unless the government has given an undertaking to buy at a guaranteed price (even if they have we now have a new government and we all know that governments worldwide all honour their commitments :o )

I don't want to p**s on anyones fireworks but I think the law of supply and demand will ultimately prevail and anyone who was not in at the outset will only be adding to an inevitable rubber mountain.

First to the market might make some money but from there on in its all downhill.

Bearing in mind my own families involvement I hope to be proven wrong.


TBWG :D


TBWG...

I guess that the reason I am not too worried about a mountain of rubber is the expanding economy in China and India. Rubber is required to make automobile tires and given the huge increase in automobiles in these countries, there will be a corresponding increase in demand for rubber..Also the continued unrest in the South has caused a significant drop in rubber production in the area,,,

Stoneman

#16 SAP

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Posted 2007-05-22 13:36:20

Quote
Thailand plans to produce more synthetic rubber
BANGKOK, May 14 (TNA) - Thailand, the world's largest producer of natural rubber, plans to produce more synthetic rubber within the next five to six years to cope with the rising world demand, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thira Sutabutr announced on Monday.

Speaking to journalists after presiding at the World Rubber Summit and 43rd Assembly of Nations convening here, Mr. Thira said Thailand produced more than three million tonnes of natural rubber in 2006.

Thai exports of natural rubber last year totaled more than 2.7 million tonnes while exports of synthetic rubber accounted for only 15 per cent of that amount -- although the artificial rubber realised higher prices in the marketplace.

Four major issues are expected to be discussed: plans for added natural rubber production by Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar; ways to increase synthetic rubber production and consumption; auto tire technology; and Thailand's futures market on fixing rubber prices.

The Thai Agriculture Minister said he had issued a policy statement calling for the increased production of synthetic rubber, boosting Thailand's production to 50 per cent more than the current production by 2013, which could also enable rubber tires manufactured here to gain a larger market share.

Orders have also been given to agencies under the ministry to focus on increased use of natural rubber in building dikes and for building more durable roads and highways, he said.

Adisak Srisappakit, director-general of the Ministry's Agriculture Department, said concerns by tire manufacturers regarding the shortage of natural rubber were not applicable because Thailand had enough potential to supply natural rubber on a regular basis.

Demand for automobile tires in the Chinese and Indian markets have risen in the past few years, said Mr. Adisak.

The five-day meeting, which ends Friday, is co-sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and the International Rubber Study Group. More than 250 rubber experts from 19 member countries of the International Rubber Study Group are attending the annual meeting. (TNA)



There is this info and the what Stoneman said about India/China economies, the south stopping/changing production to palm oil as land prices get to high for rubber.

But to add to that if the fuel price reaches 120USD/barrel, you will see the demand for natural rubber grow even more, as the fuel price goes up the cost of sythethics increases and therefore the demand for natural rubber increases. I still think it is postive for rubber farmers;

If you take a close look at the numbers, even if the price reaches rock bottom, there is still a small margin of profit, this can not be said for most agricultural commodities.
SAP

Edited by SAP, 2007-05-22 13:37:53.


#17 Lickey

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Posted 2007-05-23 01:10:31

SAP, your post much appreciated, but no mention of inter-cropping, surlely this would put the ground to more use while waiting for RTs to grow?If you need labour to keep weeds down, sureley it would be easy to inter-crop with chilles/papaya/makua/winged beans ect, this would give some income while the RTs are growing, and specially if you are going to irrigate the field ect,
We just planted 700+ banana culms, with winged beans as an inter-crop, nitro-replacement is the idea behind this, plus they sell well here in Issan, and soon will be planting 1000+ papaya plants, inter-cropped with chillies,makua,and more winged beans, the new plantation will be drip-feed,,
So rather than wait for the RTs to produce, we have a weekly income from sales,

Your views on inter-cropping RTs please, rgds, Lickey.

#18 SAP

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Posted 2007-05-23 17:09:31

SAP, your post much appreciated, but no mention of inter-cropping, surlely this would put the ground to more use while waiting for RTs to grow?If you need labour to keep weeds down, sureley it would be easy to inter-crop with chilles/papaya/makua/winged beans ect, this would give some income while the RTs are growing, and specially if you are going to irrigate the field ect,
We just planted 700+ banana culms, with winged beans as an inter-crop, nitro-replacement is the idea behind this, plus they sell well here in Issan, and soon will be planting 1000+ papaya plants, inter-cropped with chillies,makua,and more winged beans, the new plantation will be drip-feed,,
So rather than wait for the RTs to produce, we have a weekly income from sales,

Your views on inter-cropping RTs please, rgds, Lickey.


Depending on what your soil type is, generally forestry takes place on marginal agricultural land. If you wanted to do it in the dry season and utilize irrigation system, you would have to put in a substantial amount more extra drip tape.

I have seen some very nice water melons and pumpkins grown between RT's.

Great idea the beans or any other lupin, I recommend this to everyone, you get nitrogen fixation, organic matter, and reduces your soil erosion.

SAP

#19 raylo

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Posted 2007-06-01 21:05:45

We have 2.100 rubber trees about 50 kms north of Ban Phu.. 1,000 of them are now 5 years old and have never had irrigation...just was no way to get it there..no electricity, etc.. But the other 1,100 now have a drip irrigation system...300 are 2 years old and we watered them all last dry season with a garden hose...time consuming but it worked..The other 800 were put out just before last year's rainy season and about a month ago, I installed a drip system for all 1,100 trees..we used it less than a week and it has been raining ever since. Maybe my installing the system has caused all the rain. I would be very happy if I never had to use it, but I am sure that is not the case..

P.S. We live in BKK but go up to the farm about every 2 months. When we go up, we are in NamSom several times every trip ...Like the market there and we like the hardware store there on the corner by the lake.. Also use the ATM there at the bank...

Stoneman


Was there a significant difference in plant size between the 3 plantings at the same ages??

#20 stoneman

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Posted 2007-06-02 18:26:49

Was there a significant difference in plant size between the 3 plantings at the same ages??


Raylo..

Yes the first group had no irrigation at all and the second group were irrigated from the day they were planted and you can see a more rapid growth.

The 3rd group planted before last years rainy season are doing even better. But for a different reason. This 3rd group was planted in rice paddies. I had 35 rice paddies which I bulldozed and then brought in a track hoe and built up rows from the dirt between the rows...So if water stands during the rainy season(and it does) it will stay in the valleys..But I really think that the reason these trees are doing even better is that we got in there and turned up the dirt before planting...After many years of growing rice, I have to assume that the soil we turned over was richer that the average Thai top soil.

Thanks to the early wet season, we have not had the irrigation system on for over a month...Hope it keeps it up.

#21 Lickey

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Posted 2007-06-03 02:19:39

Stoneman: Thanks to the early wet season, we have not had the irrigation system on for over a month...Hope it keeps it up.


Dont worry about irrigation, its been free here for the last week or so, some good thunderstorms of about 45 mins duration every other day,,
Cheers, Lickey.





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