ASD focuses on the production of individual palm clones derived from the successive backcrossing of a natural E. oleifera x E. guineensis hybrid with E. guineensis palms, which have shorter trunks and leaves tan common varieties. This allows the clones to be planted at a higher density (160-180 palms/ha), which means an increase in production independent of the productivity of the individual palms, which may vary depending on the environment in which they are grown and the management given to the plantation. In addition, the reduced growth of the clones produces a substantial reduction in the cost of harvesting and a considerable extension of the useful life of the commercial plantations.
In Costa Rica, the first commercial-scale planting of clones was initiated in 2004, so the experience with this material is relatively recent. However, five clones: Drake, Sabre, Sunrise, Titan and Tornado, have been selected for their excellent performance in experiments in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and in comercial plantations in Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras and Thailand.
To date, 2,635 hectares have been planted with clones in the following countries:
In these first experiences, it has been observed that clones are significantly more productive than conventional seed varieties, with differences of 5 tons of fresh fruit per hectare per year over a period of 15 years.
The general average production curve recorded for all the clones planted experimentally and commercially is as follows:
For the moment, ASD advises its clients to acquire this product combining several clones, with the purpose of identifying those that perform better under particular climate and soil conditions. Clones give excellent results when planted in areas with adequate and well-distributed rainfall and deep, well-drained soils with a strong structure and medium to fine texture. Clones can also be planted in areas with a prolonged dry season with irrigation.
The main characteristics of the above-mentioned clones are described in the following articles.