Day 66 – Coffee

Don’t hold your breath, this is a short post. I’ve never seen Coffee plants before, so this is a very brief description of how they work.

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The young plants are grown in a nursery field until they are 6 months old. They then get transplanted to a pivot irrigator which has been modified to put water on the on the plant rows, spaced about 3m apart. This plant is 7 or 8 months old

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Flowering time can be carefully controlled by starving the plant of water for two months during the dry season. When the irrigation is finally turned back on, the relieved crop sends out all its flowers at once. It takes around nine months for the flower to become a fruit ready for picking. The first harvest is done by hand when the plant is a year and a half old, and the yield will be very small. These plants are two and a half years old, and will soon be harvested with a mechanical picker

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After four or five years the coffee bush reaches 3m in height. At this point it will be cut to stop it growing any taller, because the harvesting machines won’t fit over the top, and the sprayers don’t work as well. Yields in this irrigated land should average about 4.5t/ha, but will go from 3t on year to 6t the next. This farm will soon have 900ha of bushes, which is about half of the entire state’s Coffee area. They also have a pretty substantial factory for colour sorting and grading the harvested beans