Anticipating the drought caused by El Nino is a big challenge for oil palm plantations. In mid- 2019, a long drought hit almost all over Indonesia and caused drought in certain areas. For oil palm plantations, this has a very big effect, especially in reducing production. Prolonged dry condition causes low production and slow down the fruit ripening process. Other than that, the dryness also reduces the number of fruit cluster. The decline in production can occur due to changes in the physiology of oil palm plants such as:

  1. decreased CO2 absorption rate
  2. nutrient deficiency
  3. decreasing rate of photosynthesis
  4. decreasing the rate of leaf midrib production
  5. decreased sex ratio (more male flowers)
  6. decreased number of fruit bunches
  7. increasing the fruit miscarriage
  8. decreasing the yield
  9. delaying the first harvest

The decrease in palm oil production reached 2% in September 2019. Serious handling has been carried out by several oil palm companies together with Mertani by installing several IoT Automatic Weather Stations at several plantation locations in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The accuracy of data collection on rainfall, temperature, and humidity can help measure the level of oil palm evapotranspiration so that the control of water requirements needed for oil palm plants can be adjusted to yield standards for harvesting.

To find out the level of evapotranspiration in oil palm, there are various parameters used in the
Automatic Weather Station, including:

  1. air temperature, (ideal oil palm 24oC to 28oC)
  2. humidity, (ideal humidity 80% -90%)
  3. light intensity, and
  4. wind speed (ideal 5 km/h – 6 km/h)

Besides reporting the level of evapotranspiration, these parameters also can be used as predictive data on pest and disease attacks on oil palm plants such as mites during dry conditions.

IoT Automatic Weather Station Mertani is also equipped with a soil sensor feature so that the actual ground conditions can be monitored. Observation of soil conditions is needed to adjust the treatment in order to improve soil fertility, such as pH and soil conductivity. With the integration of weather observations and soil conditions, the increasing in palm oil production can be achieved.

Today’s preference for tropical fruit consumption is very large, especially the demand from Europe and the United States. Pineapple is still one of the favorite tropical fruits that is preferred by foreign consumers. Pineapple exports have been encouraged by Indonesia given the large market demand. Indonesia currently ranks 9th out of the 10 largest pineapple producers in the world with a yield of 1.39 million tons per year.

As a precautionary measure and efforts to deal with weather transition, the quality and quantity
of production need to be maintained. Uncertain weather conditions and the shifting of the dry season to the rainy season can affect the physiology of pineapple plants. Basically, tropical plants are plants that tend to survive in dry conditions or season. It is proven that in 2019, pineapple farmers had their biggest harvest and it is predicted that the value of pineapple exports will increase by 30%.

Indonesia’s pineapple production center is located in Lampung, South Sumatra. It is managed by the largest pineapple producer company in Indonesia. Pineapple company cooperates with Mertani to facilitate the procurement of IoT Automatic Weather Station that will be used in pineapple plantations. Installation of Automatic Mertani IoT Weather Station on pineapple plantations aims to anticipate the physiological effects of pineapple plants due to extreme weather changes.

The rainy season can affect the growth of pineapple plants and directly affect production. The harvest quantity of pineapple will be decreased. Hence, it will affect the quality of pineapple which is known as one of the indicator of the harvest quality standard. Humid conditions can cause root decay of pineapple plants, thereby increasing the potential for crop failure. Pests and diseases will become more widespread due to conditions that are too humid. Preferably, before that happens, it is necessary to take precautionary and controlling measures earlier in land conditions.

“Pineapple production is currently at the peak of the harvest, but for the sake of future management, we need to do anticipation such as predicting the right weather conditions. What’s more, in the future, we will face the rainy season so the plants really need precise weather monitoring. The installation of the IoT Atomatic Weather Station hopefully will improve the conditioning process of our pineapple land. ”-General Manager at Pineapple Plantation-“