Mr. Goh Kah Joo edited Mucuna Bracteata: A Cover Crop and Living Green Manure

Preface

“There has never been a cover crop like this before in our plantations” was the common comment that we heard at the Seminar and Field Tour on ” Mucuna bracteata , A Cover Crop and Living Green Manure” held at Sg. Tekam Plantation Resort on 29 November 2006. The contributions in this monograph, which were mainly re-written papers presented at the above seminar, may provide the testament to this enthusiastic statement.

Mucuna bracteata was first introduced to the oil palm plantations in Malaysia by a Malaysian Planter, Mr. Cheriachangel Mathews in 1991. His insight, foresight and perseverance have resulted in this remarkable cover crop being widely accepted and grown commercially in all the major oil palm growing countries in the world. This provides the impetus for the editors to bring together, in one accessible volume, most of what is currently known about Mucuna bracteata , reports on applied research and the practical aspects of its cultivation. The first five chapters attempt to bring a better understanding of the sciences and agronomy of Mucuna bracteata to the readers while the remaining chapters translate theory into large-scale practice. All the chapters are written by practitioners who are also specialists in various subjects of plantation crop management.

This monograph ends with a generalised policy to cultivate Mucuna bracteata successfully under the oil palm and areas for future research , and it also doubles as a take home message. However, we do recognise that in a developing subject such as Mucuna bracteata , it will never be perfect. Nevertheless, the generalised policy should serve as a good starting point for those interested to adopt and adapt it to their local environment, and management culture, missions and resources.

There are 102 coloured photographs in sixteen pages to illustrate the major points raised by the authors, and the establishment and growth ofMucuna bracteata under oil palm in Malaysia and Indonesia. These invaluable photographs which were taken over a decade should guide the readers to a successful planting of Mucuna bracteata under the oil palm.

We hope that this monograph will assist all of those engaged in research and development work as well as planters to appreciate what has been done in their own area and in related fields which have an impact on their endeavour to derive the maximum benefits from Mucuna bracteata . This monograph may also serve as an introduction and inspiration for those who intend to take up work on Mucuna bracteata .

We would like to thank Dr. Chee Kheng Hoy and Dr. S. Paramananthan for their constant advice, guidance and assistance during the preparation of the Seminar and monograph. We are also grateful to FELDA Agricultural Services, Param Agricultural Soil Surveys and Malaysian Society of Soil Science for giving Agricultural Crop Trust (ACT) the right to publish the materials presented. Special thanks are also due to Dr. Tasren N. Mahamooth for his tireless effort to get this monograph published, Mdm. Gan Huang Huang for typesetting and designing the cover page and Mr. Heng Yong Choon for finalising the cover page. This monograph would not have materialised if FELDA Agricultural Services Sdn. Bhd. through its Chief Executive, Mr. S. Palaniappan has not kindly sponsored the publication, which we duly acknowledge. The photograph on the cover page was taken by Mr. Patrick Ng while the back cover by Mr. C. Mathews which we acknowledge with thanks.

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