Spring Black (Premium variety)
The genetics of the Spring Black variety refers to advanced generations of the variety previously known as Deli x Nigeria. ASD's dura mother palms are descendants of the four original Deli palms introduced from Africa to Sumatra, Indonesia. During the period between 1970 and 1980, ASD introduced genetically improved Deli palms to Costa Rica from renowned breeding centers such as MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research Institute), Chemara Research Center and Banting Research Station in Malaysia, DAMI in New Guinea and SOCFIN in Indonesia.
For commercial seed production of the Spring Black variety, mother palms of the fourth filial generation (F4) of the dura Deli mother populations described above are used. ASD selected mother palms from these populations and planted them in Coto, Costa Rica between 1996 and 2008. ASD currently crosses these mother palms with superior pisiferas originating from a combined population of native genetic materials from the Calabar, Ufuma and Aba regions of Nigeria. The Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) in Ghana carried out the initial breeding and selection of these pisifera lines, a process that has continued in Costa Rica since 1979. For commercial seed production, pisifera fathers from the first and second generation of breeding planted between 1997 and 2010 are used.
Vertical growth of Spring Black palms is moderate (58 cm/year), but because its leaves are of normal length, it is planted at the conventional density of 143 palms per hectare. The variety produces bunches with medium nigrescens color fruits (10 g). Spring Black is a very precocious variety and its fresh fruit production commonly exceeds 30 tons per hectare by the third year of harvest when management, climate and soil conditions are favorable. However, in plantations in the southern zone (under irrigation) and in the Caribbean of Guatemala, specific productions of up to 49 tons of fresh fruit bunches per hectare have been achieved, in sites where the environmental and management conditions are very good.