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Lickey

Rubber Trees

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I really think its time to have a pinned topic on rubber trees, i really enjoy reading all farming posts but this one in particular comes in dribs & drabs, Knowan done a good pinned topic on Cassava, same IA on pigs ect, MF on boreholes, its all good info in one thread,

Yes of course i can google and learn, but its nowhere near the same as saying, Hi Jim, all the leaves have fell off, why is this? and the answer will be there next day or many answers from different regions, and how to cope with the problem,

If any of you good rubber posters want to do a "from shrub to product and beyond" im sure it would be much appreciated, and im equally sure Bina will Pin it, Thanks, Lickey.

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Plenty of views, but nothing forthcoming so far, isnt it near the end of the cutting season? and you good farmers have a little time now?

Do any of you agree with the link below, are rubber prices really that high?

http://www.unogomes.com/calculation-for-rubber-tree-business-in-thailand.html

Thanks,

Lickey it;s the start of the tapping season, we opened our trees 2 weeks ago and should be making sheet next week. As for the link, just another guy listening to his TG who gets her info from an uncle who knows less. When I hear people talking about 1000s of Rai you know they are full of it. Anyone with that kind of money is not going to live in Issan and would not be getting help of the net.

As for price www.rubberthai.com gives you the daily auction price. Jim

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Plenty of views, but nothing forthcoming so far, isnt it near the end of the cutting season? and you good farmers have a little time now?

Do any of you agree with the link below, are rubber prices really that high?

http://www.unogomes.com/calculation-for-rubber-tree-business-in-thailand.html

Thanks,

Lickey it;s the start of the tapping season, we opened our trees 2 weeks ago and should be making sheet next week. As for the link, just another guy listening to his TG who gets her info from an uncle who knows less. When I hear people talking about 1000s of Rai you know they are full of it. Anyone with that kind of money is not going to live in Issan and would not be getting help of the net.

As for price www.rubberthai.com gives you the daily auction price. Jim

Here is an English rubber pricing page: www.irco.biz/

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Hello to the Thai Rubber Farmers Secret Society, it doesnt really bother me whether you rubber farmers post a start to produce with fert regimes or not, im not into rubber, im just thinking of newbies who might be,

The site i posted was the result of a google search "thai rubber farming" so thats what a newbie will see, in reality, its far from the truth,

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Hello to the Thai Rubber Farmers Secret Society, it doesnt really bother me whether you rubber farmers post a start to produce with fert regimes or not, im not into rubber, im just thinking of newbies who might be,

The site i posted was the result of a google search "thai rubber farming" so thats what a newbie will see, in reality, its far from the truth,

Not sure what your looking for but if you figure folks have some obligation to post a "Rubber Farming for Idiots" guide then I think your misguided. I think there is lots of info here if you are willing to look. Is it well organized? Maybe not, but you can find most of what you need to know.

Trying to write a definitive guide on web boards like this simply opens you up to flame responses and ridicule. Not only that but most folks just post what they are doing and what seems to work for them, most aren't trying multiple approaches in controlled settings anyhow so they can't definitively say what is best. Sometimes, I would like to see the farm forum split into more specific sub forums when I am looking to view old subject specific posts but on the other hand some of the sub forums would receive so little traffic they would soon likely die. Leaving it as is with the existing search function is good enough for me.

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I’ve also thought for some time that a pinned topic on rubber trees would be very useful. I don’t understand why some of you guys already planting rubber can’t or won’t do a “paper”. James Collister seems to stand out for me as the one best qualified or, at least, with most recent contributions on the subject. I didn’t present myself as an expert when doing the thread on cassava: I just put together a piece based on a combination of my experience and my study of the subject. Flames, ridicule? I only had one indirect flamer, and I dealt with him. How can you be ridiculed if you know your stuff? If you don’t know your subject, isn’t this a great way to learn? I improved my own knowledge of cassava tremendously by being asked by the mod at that time to “write a paper” (thanks Ozzydom!).

I would make way for this pinned topic by unpinning the so called Farming Weather of Thailand (as monitored in cities!), which I find to be completely useless and was only pinned upon one person’s request.

Rgds

Khonwan (got to keep signing here in the hope that eventually folks might learn how to spell “Khonwan” :) )

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Thankyou Khonwan for your post, im glad you think it makes a lot of sense as im sure many others do, i also nominate Jim, to me he is the predominate Rubber Doctor on the forum,

Reading Daklings recent post about starting rubber trees ect, it seems he has his own methods from the WWW and that a "local" hands on is of no use to him, so be it, he doesnt need to read the topic or contribute to it in any way..

And yes, i remember the way Dom err guided you in? to do the Cassava Topic, cunning old bugger he is!!

So folks, who else nominates James Coll to start this off, [only if you have the time Jim, up to you! }

Lickey..

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Lickey,

I for one think your idea of a pinned topic is sound and agree that Jim would be a great candidate for the job, no pressure then biggrin.gif.

Khonwan readily accepts that he is still learning from his Cassava thread which for me is a good enough reason to pin a rubber thread.

Forums are, imo, a tool for the exchange of information and views, which may differ, hence the need to collate all of these opinions for one subject within a specific pinned thread. At the moment Dakling is correct in that most of the information is widely available, but this info is seriously fragmented and many have some opinions, which, imo, are seriously flawed. Yet whilst they remain in stagnant rubber threads, could be believed and acted upon to the detriment of a newbie.

I have also seen Jim try to help a number of newbies with their questions and you can almost hear him sigh when he has to repeat them on yet another new thread. Pinning a single thread will also dispense with that.

There will always be a contingent that will not be prepared to share information or give misinformation just to see novices fail. Some of us on the other hand embrace the idea that people want to have a go and change their lives. Rubber thread, BRING IT ON I say.

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Ok looks like I'm the bunny, but this will take time as I am a 2 fingered typer, my lap top is on it;s last legs and I haven't planted a rubber tree in over 6 years so some research will be needed. Should be done by Xmas Jim

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Hi all well heres my bit, don't know if it is worth much and my skills as a technical writer leave a lot to be desired. Anyway when the next newbie asks he can at least get a rough idea as to what is involved. Jim

RUBBER 101 FOR BEGINERS a rough guide

First requirement is land, on which to plant. Rubber is a jungle tree and likes rain, but does not like wet ground. So rice paddies, swamps, marshes and flood plains are generally not suitable for rubber. Measures can be taken to utilise this type of land, but the long term cost will be prohibitive.

Ideally gently sloping land, that does not flood. As I am from Issan this is the area that I know. Here rubber is planted along the Cambodia, Lao border, near the mountains and Mekong river. Inland areas are just too dry for long periods of the year. Again measures can be taken, irrigation etc, but long term costs have to be looked at.

Now we have found our bit of rubber tree heaven and want to prepare the land for trees. Remember that in 7 or 8 years men will be staggering around in the dead of night tripping over old stumps. rocks and falling in holes. Level the ground as best you can and if you have access to animal manure [which includes septic sam the toilet man] plough it in to the ground. Put up your fences, don't want cattle and water buffalo wandering around and standing on or eating your young trees. Build a workers hut, the nicer the better. Workers and you may spend a lot of time there over the coming years. Be comfortable after all a cold beer with your workers, swinging in your hammock at the end off a hot day of grass cutting is one of the better moments and will help to bond you with the locals.

THE TREES

Which type of tree [clone] for you.

RIMM 600 your basic tried and tested rubber tree, grown throughout Thailand.

RIMM 251 a better rubber producer, twice as much as the 600, but with all things has some draw backs. Shorter life, less lumber value and worst of all, fall over in the wind. Not suitable for coastal regions or windy areas.

JVP80 New tree type and I know nothing about the pros and cons for it. Allegedly tappable after 5 years. Think the jury is still out.

Best advice go to the Government Agriculture Office for your district and ask what's best in your area. That's what these guys are paid to do, give advise. They may not be the smartest people in the world, but they will know what's doing well and what's not.

BUYING OR GROWING TREES.

To buy from a nursery or grow your own, that is the question.

If you are going the nursery way, do your home work and find the place with the best reputation, not the wifes 2nd. cousin, who started a nursery last week. I would not go the way of ordering and placing a deposit. If the nursery can get a better price they will sell the good trees and you will be left with what is left. It may cost more ,but just pay the price when you need them and get the good trees.

Personally I favour making your own nursery. It is not difficult or costly, just time consuming, but you will get trees that you know have been cared for.

THE BIG MOMENT PLANTING

Much debate has gone on about spacing and number of trees per Rai. For this we will stick to the Governments recommendation. 76 trees per Rai, 3 metres between trees and 7 metres between rows.

Mark out your land for the trees and await the rains. You want your trees in the ground as soon as possible, but not too early as the rain may stop and your trees start dying. Much of the timing will depend on where you are. The lack of rain [water ] will be your biggest enemy in the first 12 months. If you have the money buy a water tank on wheels and a good tractor to pull it. I being a poor man used a 2 wheeled rice tractor with 4 100 litre drums on the trailer.

Labour will be a problem, as planting falls at around the Cassava and rice planting times, most people will be busy on there own land. What you can do is pay by the hole and they will come and go as they see fit.

Holes should be 1 metre in diameter and 1/2 a metre deep, so as to form an earthen bowl. Check the hole sizes or they will get progressively smaller as time goes by. Just get 2/ 1 metre sticks make a cross and tie a 1/2 metre string with weight to it. Easy and fast to check.

When planting the trees remove them from the plastic bag, tickle out the roots and plant them. They are a very hardy tree and you don't have to be gentle. Water in if necessary ,

the hole my be half full of rain water already.

When all the plantings done have a party for the workers. You are now a planter.

PART 2 THE LONG HAUL

Now that the excitement of starting has waned and the family are not getting new toys, pickup trucks, tractors, scrub cutters etc You need a foreman, you maybe blessed by having an in-law who is hard working, loyal and given up all worldly greed, if not you need to be there to make sure what you pay for gets done.

FERTILISER

I won't go into too much depth on this subject as best practice changes as Agriculture researchers refine and learn better ways. Common practice for most Thais is one 50 kilo bag per Rai twice a year. The area around the tree is roughed up and the fertiliser is sprinkled around, then rice chaff or grass is place over the area to stop the fertiliser blowing or washing away. This method works fine, but is not best practice.

Here again we want our friend the local Agriculture advisers help. He can give you a booklet on the best method at the time. Which is currently the 3 hole varying amount and fertiliser type. The plan is worked out for the age of the tree and will save you money, as well as give you trees a little added help.

FIRE and WEED CONTROL

You have now entered into an on going war with grass and weeds, if not controlled they will out grow your trees and in the dry season will become a very serious fire hazard. Plough the field a least twice a year for the first 2 years. This not only keeps the weeds down, but allows the soil to soak up water. Scrub cutters [weed wackers] will be constantly on the go and you will need to poison. All it takes is one ember from someone burning off his rice stubble and all your work can go up in smoke.

BUGS MOULDS DESEASE and BANCHES

One of the constant on going jobs will be removing the small branches that grow on your trees. You only want the top branches, all others that grow from the trunk need to be removed. A small pair of side cutters will be your companion for a few years. Branches are removed to the 3 metre high mark. While doing your branch patrol you will see if a tree is having problems or has died. Dead trees can be replaced the next planting time for the first 2 maybe 3 years, after which the canopy of the existing trees will stop new trees growing. If you are smart you will have kept a percentage of your original trees and potted them [bigger grow bags] then you can replace dead or under preforming trees with healthy strong trees of the same age.

Other problems such as termites, moulds and diseases which may occur, will be seen on your branch patrols. Now just like our pig farmers you don't have to be a vet to know your pigs are sick. Same with your trees, if something is wrong hire an expert, you are the manager and your job is to manage.

TAPPING TIME HAS COME

The years have passed, your money and hair have gone, but you have made it to those magic numbers. 7 years old, 46 cm in circumference 1 metre from the ground. In reality after all the years you will be taking no notice of these numbers and will tap by tree condition, but for now we will stick to the generic numbers.

First problem tappers. Good tappers are hard to find. A good tapper will take a shaving of bark so fine that it will float to the ground like a feather. He will not touch the wood of the tree and latex will flow. A bad or inexperienced tapper will take a slice of bark with some tree wood and hurt the tree. Moral of this story is a good tapper us worth his weight in rubber, take care of him, it will pay in the long run.

Tapping schedule

Basic rule tap 2 rest 1. Many Thais will tap 3 rest 1. By this stage you should know what's best for your trees. If a tree stops growing or starts to struggle stop tapping and let the tree rest.

That's about it, now all you need to do is decide, liquid latex, cup or sheet. The rest is just sit in your comfortable tappers hut watching your workers toil in the hot sun, while you drink cold beer and think of your friends back home doing the 9 to 5 grind.

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FIRE and WEED CONTROL

You have now entered into an on going war with grass and weeds, Scrub cutters [weed wackers] will be constantly on the go and you will need to poison.

Nice one Jim, i am sure this thread will keep getting bumped if it doesnt get pinned.

With you mentioning weed killer (poison) are you using Glysophate (roundup) or have you another method besides brushcutting ?

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Jim, a masterpiece, thankyou for your time in helping me and other newbies, yep, so very true, the planting is over, and the long wait begins,

If i may ask you a question, for eg, i have just planted 40 rai, in the waiting time, i have looked after all and paid for everything, how long do you think it will be into producing time i will recover the intial investment,

Thanks, Lickey.

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Jim.

Congratulations on the 101 piece. Mate that is the best, most concise outline a new rubber farmer could hope for.

As for your reference to pig farmers, how about giving our topic a crack? You seem qualified, sit in the shade and drink beer, thats something I can aspire too. What do you know about parasites, human and insect? I seem to be infested with both at the moment...

Isaan Aussie.

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Thanks Jim, I told Sopha we need to talk to the Agriculture people in town. As when you ask the locals why, it's "always been done this way". Which of course may be just perpetuating the mistakes.

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