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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Coffee (Coffea arabica)
Crop Management

Training and Pruning

Grass and other weeds should be eradicated in the first year itself by digging or using appropriate weedicide depending on the nature of the weeds. The soil around the seedlings should be mulched properly and shade has to be provided to individual seedlings to protect against direct sun.

The plant is trained either on single stem or multiple stem system. Under South Indian conditions periodical handling and pruning are essential. The type and frequency of pruning have to be decided based on a number of factors like the type of vegetative growth, incidence of pests / diseases, pattern of blossom showers etc. Centering and desuckering are to be carried out for about 5 or 6 years after planting. Removal of the dead and whippy wood is essential during the early years. Mature plants may require medium to severe pruning once in four years.

Usually coffee, both arabica and robusta, is trained on single stem. When the plants reach a desired height of 75 cm for arabica and 105-120 cm for robusta, they are topped i.e., growing apex of the stem is severed. Low topping (60-70 cm) is advocated in areas of severe wind and exposure. Under certain circumstances, multiple stem system is also adopted as in the case of replanted fields or when under-planting is taken up keeping the old plants under multiple stem system.

Fruit Drop

During the developmental stage of berry, 10 to 50 per cent premature fruit drop occurs due to insufficient carbohydrate, auxin-carbohydrate imbalance, nutritional disorders and water-logging. Many growth regulators have been tried to increase the fruit set and for controlling the pre-mature fruit drop. Following growth regulators could increase the yield when they are given as foliar application 10-15 days after blossom (first spray) and during last week of May before the onset of southwest monsoon (second spray).

Growth regulator In 200 ml of water Dose/ha (for 1.5 l)
Planofix 50 ml 375 ml
Hormonol 50 ml 375 ml
Agrona 50 ml 375 ml
Miraculan 50 ml 375 ml
Atonik 50 ml 375 ml
Cytozyme crop 60 ml 450 ml
Ascorbic acid 20 g 150 g

Fruit Ripening

Hastening of fruit ripening in coffee could be achieved by spraying ethephon (Ethrel) on mature berries when 10 % natural ripening is observed. By this, ripening can be hastened by 2-4 weeks and in two rounds about 96% ripe fruits could be harvested. The following concentrations are standardized for arabica and robusta plants.

Arabica: 100 to 120 ml per 200 litres of water per 400 plants
Robusta: 40 to 54 ml per 200 litres of water per 267 plants

Lower concentrations are to be used in lower elevations and thin shaded places, whereas higher concentrations are to be used in higher elevation and thick shaded plantations.

Dieback

Dieback refers to death of younger tertiary branches starting from apex progressing downwards as well as dieback from below the tip of branches and proceeding forward and backward from the point of defoliation. The occurrence of dieback is mainly due to adverse climatic and edaphic factors such as higher temperature, higher light intensity and low moisture status of soil.

Control

  1. Removal of dead and whippy wood
  2. Providing judicious shade by both temporary and permanent shade trees as 70% of daylight is found to be optimum
  3. Conservation of soil moisture with thick mulch
  4. Foliar application of nutrients
  5. Correcting the soil acidity by application of lime

Shade and Shade Management

Dadap (Erythrina lithosperma) is generally used as a lower canopy in India. It is always planted along with coffee in new clearings. When stakes are planted in June they grow quickly since sufficient moisture will be there in the soil. In areas where the establishment of dadap is difficult due to poor rooting, application of rooting hormones and manuring have been found useful.

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