Spear rot in oil palm: need for a comprehensive management approach.

Spear rots hang like the sword of Damocles over all the oil palm plantations in tropical America, and eventually, the whole world. Many plantations have remained free of the problem for years; in others, the incidence has been very low and without economic importance, a few have experienced this scourge for years and have eventually come out ahead, while others have had to abandon their operations due to the inability to coexist with the problem. Traditionally, one or more pathogens have been sought that would explain the syndrome in all its phases, so that addressing it would eliminate the problem. So far, the results of this approach have not been very conclusive. In parallel, a few have raised their voices to note the multiple relationships that exist between a high incidence of spear rot and the various agronomic problems of the plantations that suffer it, but it is argued that such relationships are circumstantial. However, although it is still true that not everything is clear (or on the side of a single biotic cause or an abiotic one), it seems reasonable to accept that there is something of the two.

The work that was presented is a guide or proposal for integral management of spear rots in oil palm, which does not pretend to be the only form of seeing and managing the problem; nor will it be the final version. We recognize our ignorance regarding many aspects of these types of problems, and it will still take a lot of research to clarify its causes and how to manage them. The document summarizes the results of our research and experience over the years in many regions and countries where we have found spear rot showing us its many faces. The objective in the future is to improve guidance as new elements become known about the palm, the associated pathogens and, of course, the environment in which these interactions occur. This guide is available to all ASD customers who wish to acquire it.

C. Chinchilla