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  1. #1
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    Switching from rubber to fruit trees

    My wife and I almost finished building our house not far from Chiang Saen. Behind the house down the hill my wife owns some land with rubber trees. The trees are about 10 years old and nobody is taping them.
    We both know nothing about rubber trees and don't intend to become rubber farmers.
    Since we soon will have more time we are thinking about cutting a few of them, maybe 3-4 rows, about 100 trees max. We intend to plant different fruit trees instead, mostly Jackfruit and Durian. We both are absolutely newbies and have just started to do some research.
    I discovered this forum and thought I seek some advice here..
    After looking around a bit we found one company who would cut our trees and pay 30 Baht per tree. Seems not much to me but we don't have any costs and get some Baht+free space to plant some fruit trees. They will only cut the trees and leave the stumps and the roots in the earth.
    We were thinking to plant the fruit trees between the rubber tree stumps.
    Anyone has some experience on this? The rotting rubber tree roots should enrich the soil over time, similar to a hugelculture bed, or am I wrong? Or is the price of 30 Baht per tree + free cutting too low? Is it even possible to sucesfully grow fruit trees in a manner like that?
    Any advice on this subject and in growing Durian and Jackfruit in particular are greatly appreciated.
    Please excuse my grammar, English is not my 1st language.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    I'm no expert, just an observer, but you may as well leave the rubber trees to grow to full height before felling them rather than grow Durian. Durian trees need plenty of water and if you ain't got that then you're just pissing into the wind. KHAOMAHACHAI PARAWOOD CO.,LTD. Rubberwood - timber from the rubber tree - Green Living Tips

  3. #3
    I'm in Jail

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifonly View Post
    After looking around a bit we found one company who would cut our trees and pay 30 Baht per tree. Seems not much to me but we don't have any costs and get some Baht+free space to plant some fruit trees. They will only cut the trees and leave the stumps and the roots in the earth.
    Ifonly, welcome to Teakdoor.

    Regards the rubber trees i think they are taking the piss, especially leaving the stumps and what are their plans for all the branches. Rubber tree wood is quite nice as a medium timber. You could pay someone with a chain saw to come along and take them down, burn the branches and trim the logs and you could store them to season and perhaps use them in a few years, It seem a hell of waste for a few Baht - but its your choice.

    Two members here i know of Thaiguzzi and Jamecollister are both rubber farmers and may be able to give you more of a steer on taking the trees out (and what you can do with them inc costs) vs tapping them.

    Regards fruit trees i don't think there's many here who are fruit plantation owners just interested gardeners.

    My advice would be if you want to take this forward than take time to travel around and see what crops are grown in the area, I am a bit forward so if it was me i'd just drive up with your lady to a farm and politely enquire if they would mind if you asked than for some advice.

    Durian is fussy. Many fruit crops can be fussy regards soil type, local climate and altitude. Remember most fruit crops but once a year so that's it one lump of income and that's weather and market price dependent.

    Anyway don't take it negatively if you don't get much advice and good luck.

  4. #4
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    James McCollister be a good guy to ask.

    If you do Durian, they take around 4/5 years to bear fruit.

  5. #5
    I'm in Jail

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    ^ they don't like getting their feet wet. I have unsuccessfully tried to grow some for 10 years despite Mrs Toots family having Durian farms - i have officially given up.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
    I'm no expert, just an observer, but you may as well leave the rubber trees to grow to full height before felling them rather than grow Durian. Durian trees need plenty of water and if you ain't got that then you're just pissing into the wind.
    That's correct. The rubberwood is a staple wood for Thai furniture and kitchenware industries, there is not much other species in Thailand for this commercial purpose (beside the teak and some other hardwoods, however, that's another league...)

    Your forest originates obviously from a former govt action some 10 years ago supporting rubberwood planting in the North what however is not so productive like the huge ones in the South.

    Nevertheless, you should heed the advice as above, keep your nerves, awaiting the further growths - it needs almost zero maintenance - that's what the Thai like the most. And perhaps, you (actually the wife) can look around, there are surely some in the area who do the rubber tapping, and make some agreement with them...

    With ca. 20 years old rubberwood you could get something like this:
    Switching from rubber to fruit trees-1307150013-jpg

  7. #7
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    Thank you for your input so far, very helpful! I guess we look around for a company who pays a bit more for the trees or maybe just cut a few to have space for a pig stall and maybe 2 dozend fruit trees.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifonly View Post
    I guess we look around for a company who pays a bit more for the trees or maybe just cut a few to have space for a pig stall and maybe 2 dozend fruit trees.
    How long you lived in Thailand for and what's your experience in keeping pigs? Here it's totally different to farming in farang countries. I doubt very much you'd get a return on your money. I can honestly say I've never met a farang who's been successful at farming here. When I came 15 years ago I was asked 'are you any good at farming' by a farang. I didn't understand why he asked me that but I did later. Farming is basically all the work you can do out here even though it's illegal. But it seems that all farangs get pushed into it by their teeraks. Disaster is always the end result.

    I never took up farming and only bought the land we live on. I find plenty to do around the house and garden and seldom do I get bored. I dunno how old you are but if you are adequately financed from a pension etc I'd just sit back and enjoy your remaining years tinkering about.

  9. #9
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifonly View Post
    We both are absolutely newbies and have just started to do some research.
    If newbies at farming, suggest you consider some other use for the land.
    How much land is there?

  10. #10
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    The price of fruit is largely based on how difficult it is to grow.

    So if I were you I'd forget about Durian.

  11. #11
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    I personally don't want any pigs, it is my wife who want 2 or 3. I made it clear that I will not take care of them ( as long as they are not on my plate ). She accepts that.

  12. #12
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    Well, if you are a newbie and not trying you stay a newbie forever... We are both mid aged, 37 and 43 and still have many years to learn. We don't intend to start on a big scale. Just a couple Durian and Jackfruit and some others we have not decided yet.

  13. #13
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    ifonly -

    First off, welcome to The Door - may you actually receive useful advice here. Point A: this is an anonymous internet forum, Point B: it is kind of limited in that there are about 300 active users, Point C: some of the posters actually live in Thailand, many have visited, some have passed through, and a few confuse Thailand and Taiwan, Point D: vet all the info you receive, you get what you pay for and advice on The Door is free, Point E: do not post anything on The Door you wouldn't put on a billboard for all the world to see, Point F: stay out of the many, many, many shitfests that happen here.

    Now, to your situation, 43 year old falang newlywed living in the Land of Smiles. Take your time making decisions, you have plenty of time. Solicit advice then vet the advice your receive. Thailand is hot, the language is different and difficult (opinion), the culture and lifestyle are different, and there are many things you must learn to accept, it is their way, it is their country, and, even though your way may well be better and more efficient, it ain't their way - so, don't push it, they will not change, you should accept. Patience, tolerance, acceptance, use ignorance to your advantage - after all, it is not your country so your foreign behavior allows them to overlook any slights you may cause. Depend on your wife to handle the neighbors, the laws, and the bureaucracy.

    Take your time and proceed slowly - for your sake I hope you enjoy Thai food. Good luck and keep us informed of how you are doing.

  14. #14
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    Thx bowie. Heared what you said plenty of times before and after my limited experience here I must say best advice vor every farrang. Coming to Thailand since a few years and after my longest stay (7months) decided to move here earlier than planned.

  15. #15
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    If newbies at farming, suggest you consider some other use for the land.
    How much land is there?
    If the land is considerable, I might opt towards a lesser saturated ag/horticultural product[s] that a more profitable market might bear.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    If newbies at farming, suggest you consider some other use for the land.
    Out of all the Farmers I've met in Thailand, only met one (non-Thai) making a profit ... and he was Asian, just not Thai.

    We, as in the Thai Family, are Fish Farmers.
    Thailand:- Life on the Farm is kind of relaxed

    Oh ... and a few of the Rubber guys here.
    Rubber trees 101

    This Farming sub-forum (this one) is full of great ideas that various folk have attempted.
    Well worth a few hours reading.



    Good Luck and don't be afraid to ask questions
    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    If the land is considerable, I might opt towards a lesser saturated ag/horticultural product[s] that a more profitable market might bear.
    Finding that product would be a hard up hill task as I'm sure most farmers have been looking for it for years. Anyone who grows anything different, to the norm, here and it will be copied if it proves worthwhile. Then causing over production and lower prices. Have seen them all, from rubber trees, mushrooms, sweetcorn, sugarcane to peanuts. At the end of the day they all return to the old timer, cassava. It's what makes Isaan tick.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ Quite a bit of truth in what Prag writes above.


    You need to find a product, which has a market which is unique or barriers to entry are high or unobtainable.

    Thai are adept to keeping input prices low and that variable is the only one you have control over.

    The market determines the sale price.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    The market determines the sale price.
    Thanks for explaining it better than I did David. Out of desperation the Thais will kill the market with over supply if they found something more profitable to what they already produce. And it's been like that since time began. Definitely no profit in farming if one has to buy the land first.

  20. #20
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    ^ Quite a bit of truth in what Prag writes above.


    You need to find a product, which has a market which is unique or barriers to entry are high or unobtainable.

    Thai are adept to keeping input prices low and that variable is the only one you have control over.

    The market determines the sale price.

    ....and to be weary of the traditional ag mafia/govt controls that are always in place.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ ... and that also

    ---

    Since the OP seems genuine, I'll explain a little further.

    INPUT FARM PRICES ...

    We are Fish Farmers, mainly Pla Nin and Prawns/Shrimp.

    But the Farm Father also has a Catfish pond.

    What do you feed Catfish? Well, obviously, Fish food.

    As in the pelleted standard bag ... most Thai Farmers use that.

    So, with input prices being roughly the same and assuming the sale price being equal for all Farmers for this product, the ROI will be the same across the board ... i.e. ... just short of miserable.


    What does this Farm do differently? The Farm Father finds alternative sources of feed, the higher the protein, the better.

    Up the road, there is a Pet Food manufacturer. There are some parts of the pelt that they won't use because their USA customers won't buy it.
    So the Farms buys it for peppercorns and feed the cat fish.

    Believe it or not, there are food standards in the Thai restaurant trade.
    Cooked eggs go out of date.
    The Farm Father found a wholesaler who buys them and resells them.

    I have loaded, literally tonnes of them into the back of his Ute (utility truck) and fed this high source of protein to the catfish.

    Two examples of keeping the input costs down which adds to the bottom line.

    ---

    The next difference a Farm can make is to have have a product which others can't produce.


    1. Can't because they don't have the technical skills,
    2. the capital to buy the equipment,
    3. or the genealogy in the animal product.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Catfish farming was carried out by a member on this forum some years back. His name was 'Tsicar'. His biggest problem was that he had to buy the fingerlings before fattenig them up. It wasn't the feed that was his biggest expense. He eventually got some help from a university in how to take sperm from a male and pass it onto the females. It had to be done at a certain time at night. I recommend anyone who is interested in breeding catfish and selling them to read his informative posts.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Maybe this? Our Little Fish Farm Project. and aquaculture: updates?

    I found it by following your tip about 'Tsicar'.

    The guy seems to have his shite together.

  24. #24
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    Northern climate allows mushroom growing. Certain know-how is needed and market connections...

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    The guy seems to have his shite together.
    Without a doubt and would still be posting today if Ant hadn't hounded him off the forum.

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