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Complete information about Coffee plant

PlantationCrops October 30, 2015

Cultivation of Coffee: Complete guide on Coffee plant farming involves in seed treatment, planting, pest management, irrigation, harvesting and uses.

Scientific name of Coffee (Coffea canephora / Coffea arabica) Rubiaceae:

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. The latter is resistant to the coffee leaf rust, Hemileia vastatrix, but has a more bitter taste. Once ripe, coffee beans are picked, processed, and dried. Green (unroasted) coffee beans are one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Once traded, the beans are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee.

Coffee is slightly acidic (pH 5.0–5.1) and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways (e.g., espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, etc.). It is usually served hot, although iced coffee is also served. The effect of coffee on human health has been a subject of many studies; however, results have varied in terms of coffee’s relative benefit. The majority of recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults. However, the diterpenes in coffee may increase the risk of heart disease.

Flowers, Cherries & Beans Of Coffee

Flowers, Cherries & Beans Of Coffee

Coffee cultivation first took place in Ethiopia. The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen. In the Horn of Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in local religious ceremonies. As these ceremonies conflicted with the beliefs of the Christian church, the Ethiopian Church banned the secular consumption of coffee until the reign of Emperor Menelik II. The beverage was also banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.

Brewed coffee from grounds prepared with tap water contains 40 mg caffeine per 100 gram and no essential nutrients in significant content.

Arabica varieties:
Sln 795, Sln 7, Sln 9, Sln 10, Cauvery and its selections and HRC (Hawaian Red Cuturra),  Chandragiri and san Roman.

Robusta varieties:
Sln 274, Sln 270, Sln 3.

Soil and climate:
Soil should be deep, friable, open textured rich in plant nutrients with plenty of humus and of slightly acidic nature (pH – 4.5 to 6.5)

Seeds and sowing:
Coffee is propagated by seeds

Planting spreads from June – December

Preparation of seeds:
Healthy and well developed fully ripe berries are harvested from specially identified plants for use as seed bearers. After discarding the floats, the sound fruits are depulped, sieved and mixed with sieved wood ash and dried in shade.  The seed is then graded to remove all cut, triangular and elephant beans. Prior to planting, the seeds are treated with Agrosan or any Organomercurial compound to prevent fungal infection.

Nursery practices:
Select light loamy soil of good drainage with high organic matter content with water and shade facilities. Form raised beds of 15 cm height, 1m width and at convenient length. Incorporate 30 – 40 kg of well rotten compost, 2 kg of finely sieved agricultural lime and 400 g of rock phosphate to a bed of 1 x 6 m size. In heavy soils, it is necessary to add coarse sand for drainage and aeration.

Pre-sowing seed treatment wiith Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium can be done.Seeds are sown in December – January in the bed 1.5 – 2.5 cm apart with the flat side down wards in regular rows. Then they are covered with a thin layer of fine soil and a layer of paddy straw.Water the beds daily and protect from direct sunlight by an over head pandal. Seeds germinate in about 45 days after which they are transplanted to a secondary nursery beds for raising ball or Bag nursery.

Coffee seed sowing in nursery beds

Coffee seed sowing in nursery beds

Coffee Seedlings in a Nursery

Coffee Seedlings in a Nursery

Bag nursery:
Polythene bags with adequate number of holes in the bottom half are taken and are filled with a prepared mixture containing jungle soil, FYM and sand in the proportion of 6:2:1. An area of 12 x 8 m can accommodate 5000 seedlings.  Seedlings are planted in polythene bags.

Bag Nursery of Coffee

Bag Nursery of Coffee

Preparation of field:
Selective felling may be done while retaining a number of desirable shade trees. Terracing should be done in deep slopy areas. After the summer showers, pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm are dug at 1.25 – 2.5 m apart. The pits are left open for weathering and then filled and heaped for planting. At the time of filling, apply 500 g of rock phosphate per pit along with top soil. Planting is done along the contour in slopy areas.

Arabica Coffee     :     1.5 to 2.0 m either way.
Dwarf varieties    :     Sanraman: 1 x 1 m.
Robusta coffee     :     2.5 m either way.

Planting shade trees:
Dadap is commonly used as a lower canopy shade. Two metre long stakes are planted for every two plants of coffee.  Silver Oak and Dadaps are planted during June when rains of South-West monsoon commences. During summer the stem of young Dadaps are painted with diluted lime or wrapped in agave leaves or polythene sheets in order to prevent them from sun scorch.  Regulate shade by cutting criss-cross branches during monsoon season. Silver oak trees are planted for permanent shade.

It is generally grown as a rainfed crop.  But irrigation with sprinkler during March – April increases blossoming and results in higher yields.

Weeding and mulching should be done as and when necessary. Digging is done to a depth of 30 cm towards the end of monsoon (October – November).  The weeds and vegetative debris are completely turned under and buried in the soil while the stumps are removed.  This is known as the cover digging.  In slopy areas dig trenches on the contour 45 cm wide and 30 cm deep of any convenient length.  Prune water shoots and disease affected shoots.

Plant protection:
White stem borer:

  • Attacks arabica coffee grown under inadequate shade.
  • Maintain/create optimum shade
  • Borer infested plants should be thoroughly trace, uprooted during March and September, burnt to avoid economic loss during the subsequent years.
  • Install pheromone traps @ 25 /ha, if the incidence is high.
  • Remove the loose scaly bark on the main stem and thick primaries using coir glove or coconut husk.
  • Pad with monocrotophos 36 WSC @ 5 ml by making a window in the stem at 5 cm x 5 cm and fill it with absorbant cotton dipped in insecticide solution and close it.

Berry borer:

  • Carry out timely and thorough harvest.
  • Avoid gleanings as far as possible.
  • Pick up and destroy the gleanings.
  • Meticulously remove the leftover berries.
  • Remove offseason berries to save main crop.
  • Avoid excessive shade.
  • Prune plants properly to facilitate better ventilation and illumination.
  • Spray Quinalphos 25 EC @ 340 ml/200 lit or lamda cyhalothrin 5 EC 120 – 160 ml / 200 lit.
  • While processing at the estate level dry coffee berries to the prescribed moisture level : Arabica / robusta parchment 10 %, Arabica cherry 10.5 % and robusta cherry 11.0 %.


Coffee Berry Borer

Coffee Berry Borer

Note: The approximate time is 120 – 150 days after flowering. However decision on pesticide application to be done by closely watching the pest incidence.

  • Set up traps with Ethyl: methyl alcohol (1: 1) to attract adults.
  • While processing at the estate level dry coffee berries to the prescribed moisture level: Arabica / robusta parchiment 10 %, Arabica cherry 10.5 % and robusta cherry 11.0 %

Shot hole borer beetle:
Shot hole borer mainly attacks the branches and suckers of robusta coffee. This pest thrives under heavy shade and can be controlled by pruning the branches and spraying with Quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/lit.

Green scales and mealy bugs:
Release coccinellid predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 300 beetles/acre.
Spray Verticillium lecanii @ 6 x 106 spores/ml or spray any one of the following insecticide

Spray 0.5% Bordeaux mixture in February – March (Pre-bloom) followed by 0.03% Oxycarboxin in May – June (Pre-monsoon).  Repeat in July – August (mid-monsoon) September – October (Post-monsoon) with any one of the above fungicides or Spray 0.5 % Bordeaux mixture during the month of June followed by 0.02 % Triadionefon during September and 0.5 % Bordeaux mixture during the month of December.


Coffee leaf rust

Coffee leaf rust

Black rot or Koleroga:
Centering and handling of the bushes should be done prior to the onset of South-West monsoon. Remove affected twigs. Spray 1% of Bordeaux mixture during break in monsoon.

Collar rot:
Treat seeds with Carbendazim 1 g/kg or Carboxin 0.7 g/kg.  Maintain filtered shade in nursery.  Drench nursery beds with Mancozeb or Captan 0.5 g/lit before sowing.

Brown eye spot:
Brown eye spot can be controlled by spraying Captan or Mancozeb or Ferbam 2 g/lit or Carbendazim 0.5 g/lit during September.

Black root rot:
Dig out and burn infected bushes. Dig a trench 30 cm deep around affected spot along with a ring of healthy bushes. Prune the healthy bushes within and outside the trench to allow sunlight.  Keep the trench free from fallen leaves. Do not replant for 18 months.

Harvest starts during November and harvesting extends up to February.  Coffee fruits should be harvested as and when they become ripe.  Coffee is just ripe when on gently squeezing the fruits the beans inside come out easily.  Unripe fruits should be scrupulously sorted out before using the fruits for pulping.  They may be dried separately as cherry.

harvesting coffee cherries

harvesting coffee cherries

Fly picking: Small scale picking of ripe berries during October to February

Main picking: Well formed and ripened berries are harvested during December. Bulks of the yields are obtained from this picking.

Stripping: Picking of all the berries left irrespective of ripening.

Cleanings: This is collection of fruits that have been dropped during harvesting.
Unripe fruits should be scrupulously sorted out before using the fruits for pulping. They may be dried separately as cherry.

750 – 1000 kg dry parchment /ha.

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