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Current Category » Production Technology Plantation Crops

Production Technology of Coffee

Botanical Name :        Coffee arabica, Coffee robusta
Family             :        Rubiaceae

Coffee of commerce consists of seeds of coffee which when roasted, ground and soaked in hot water yields a fragrant stimulating infusion used for preparing the beverage called Coffee.

It is native of America and introduced in India in 1936 near Chimanglur in Karnataka.    Mainly    grown    in    the~ countries    like    Brazil,    Central Venezula, Colombia, Central America, West Kenya, East Africa, Jawa, Sumatra, India etc.

Soil and Climate:

Coffee arbica comes up well in high altitude from 800 to 1650 meters but -C. robustq adopts well to lower elevations. At high altitude the crop is often late and susceptiable to frost and high winds.

Evenly distributed rainfall of 2250 mm is essential. Heavy rainfall is not counducive as it encourages rotting of leaves and plants are easily susceptible to fungal diseases.

The temperature range is 50 to 80°F. It can also be grown at higher provided shade is there. In India, coffee is grown in hilly areas. There is a distinct dry period of about 90-100 days or from the Dec. March-April which is best for harvesting and processing and also for maturity of flower buds.

The shallow soils with little organic matter to virgin soils on steep mountain slopes or almost flat lands are suitable for coffee. In Karnataka where Coffee arabica is grown on commercial scale the soils are red loamy and deep. Soils of "coffee estates are generally richJn' aluminum and iron content.. The nitrogen percentage is also fairly high and low in lime per cent. The soils.are acidic with pH of 6.0.


Propagated both by seeds and cuttings Seeds are collected during December. Seed should be heavy broad and boat shaped. Pulp of the seed is removed by hand: The fruits are rubbed with ash to prevent sticking of seeds and dried in shade and sown at 2.5 cm apart 4000 seeds are required5 for one ha Seeds germinate within 4 to 5- weeks. Then the seedlings are uprooted and transplanted in bags or in nursery bed at 25 cm apart.                                 

Vegetative Propagation:

Cuttings have to be selected from bushes of outstanding performance and made to root in the propagation chambers or in specially laid out nursery .beds. The cuttings root within.4-5 months. Rooting can be hastened, by employing growth regulators like IBA or by dipping the cuttings in cows urine.


Pits of 45 to 60 cm cube are dug during Jan.-Feb. at a spacing of 2.5x2.5m or 3x3 m depending on species to be planted. For C. arabica spacing of 2.5x2.5m is recommended and for C. robusta spacing of 3x3m is adopted. Planting is done during June-July. In the initial stage staking is done for giving support to the; seedlings.

Provision of Shade:

Coffee: prefers a subdued light i.e. partial shade where, sunlight is intense... , The general practice, in East Africa-is to provide shade to the plantations grown below 1600 in- and: to grow coffee without shade above this altitude. Shade, is.-necessaxy to. prated? the; soil moisture and soil temperature. In Brazil coffee is grown without any slade. In India the environmental conditions are entirely different. The severe sna-oftem scorches the leaves and dries up the soil resulting in the loss of soil moisture and increase/ in soil temperatures which, adversely affect the coffee bush.

Advantages of Shade Trees:

1. They protect the bushes from Torrential rains.
2. Provides a heavy mulch for the bushes.
3. Prevent soil erosion.
4. Adds organic matter to enrich fertility status of the soil.
5.Increase.nitrogen content of the soil.

The following are some of the shade trees commonly used in coffee plantations, species of Ficus, Terminale sp. Arfocarpus heteophytius, Greviied robustai (Silver oak), Albizy, Lebback, Erythina tillthesperna; Gliricidia maculate and Deucaene glauea

Though the shade trees shed leaves and add humus to the soil, they compete for the nutrients with cofFee.bushes.


The recommendations are based on the results of experiments, the nutrient removal and the productivity of coffee bushes under the different conditions of soil., climate and culture. The following fertilizer recommendations are given as the minimum requirements.

Fertilizer requirement of young plants from 1st to IIIrd year.







Muriate of potash


Single super phosphate


These fertilizers are applied in four split doses each of 106 kg in Feb./March, May/June, Aug./Sept, and Nov ./Dec.
The following fertilizer doses are recommended for mature bused of over three years age NPK 45:34:45 Kg/ha.

Foliar sprays of nutrients mixtures containing nitrogen, Phospheric acid, Potash, Magnesium and Zinc may be applied along with regular spray" programme.

Foliar sprays of nutrients during the break in monsoon in July-Aug. have also been found to arrest fruit drop in coffee considerably. In problem areas where roots are unable to absorb sufficient nutrients from soil due to very low soil temp, lack of moisture of a resitricted injured or diseased root system, foliar feeding is very effective.

Training and Priming:

Arabica coffee is grown in India on single stem. The verticle growth of the plant is checked at two stages with the object of having good lateral spread and to secure a semispherical bearing surface. This object is achieved by topping and contering. The young tree is allowed to grow until it develops afcrown wood on the main stem and on the primary branches. When me stem mature, it is topped at a height of one meter.   Timely topping of the young plant helps to develop a good framework on the bush. Centering is done in the 2nd or 3rd year to strengthen the stem and the primaries. Centering provides sufficient aeration to the lower region of the plant. Criss - cross and overriding shoots and unproductive wood are periodically removed, unproductive wood between all primaries and secondaries are also to be removed and only healthy vigorous growth is alone encouraged. These operations are generally carried in June - July and Sept. Oct.

Reuvenation Prurning:

This consists of part of pole pruning generally done once in 4 or 5 years to bring back old coffee to shape again & control unwanted shoots. This is needed for the production of healthy vigonous cropping wood after heavy bearing or heavy defolation due to disease or debility. This type of pruning include removal of dead, exhausted, dried and worn out branches. This operation is taken up- immediately after harvest so that the plants will have the benefit of summer showers after prunning for the production of new flush.

After Culture:

Digging and forking open are usually done during Sept. Nov. and again in Feb - March. This may be done annually but it is a costly item and also detrimental to feeding roots of the bush. Therefore, some plantor do digging once in 4 to 5 years weed control is done in intial years. Chemical weedicides like Dalapon (for controlling grasses and amino salt of 2, 4 - D (for controlling broad leaved weed are used.

Mulching and cultivation of green manuring plants are done with the object of adding D.M. to soil Mulching also controls and check the weed growth.

Cropping and Harvesting :
Bearing commenes from 3rd year onwards. Good yield sectres from the 5th year onwards and continue to yield upto 50 years.

a) Fly Picking:
Small scale of picking of ripe berries is made during Oct. and continnued till February.

b) Main picking :
Well formed and dripened barriers are harvested During December. Bulk of the yields are obtained during this period.

e) Stripping :
Picking of left berries irrespective of ripening.

d) Cleaninas
Collection of fruit dropped druing harvesting.

Average Yield:  Arabica 400 to 650 kg/ha

Robusta 350 to 725 kg/ha.

Current Category » Production Technology Plantation Crops