Summary of Crop Survey
There were signs of severe productive and/or moisture stress in the majority of the coffee areas visited, and it was possible to observe trees in many regions with a large number of dried branches and in poor condition after carrying such a large crop in 2020. These trees also had poor to medium leaf coverage and will have low yields in the 2021/22 crop year due to it being an off-year in the production cycle and the weak fixation of the flowerings. The extremely high temperatures in September and October increased evapotranspiration, adding to the detrimental impact of moisture stress and the heavy leaf loss suffered by the coffee plants. Production in the 2020 crop year was extremely large and this had a negative effect on the tree condition after the harvest, so that a large part of the coffee area had to be pruned down. Some areas were pruned when farmers observed they had low cherry loads after a very poor fixing of the flowerings, so the trees were cut back after the optimal period for pruning. The vegetative growth of the pruned area has been extremely slow due to the lack of good, consistent rainfall between July and November. The lack of rains meant that there was a delayed start to the on-growth for the 22/23 crop. It is an open question whether the on-growth can catch up after the delayed start, even with more rapid growth in the period to April 2021, it is very possible that there could be significant damage to future production. The puzzles around the early development of the 22/23 crop can only be answered by further detailed field research. Bison Luxley Commodities will therefore undertake a second crop tour as we move from the rainy season and back into the dry period in the coffee area. Coffee farmers will be hoping for good rains from January to April, an important period for building up water reserves to withstand any long dry spells that occur in the period of reduced rains between May and August. We currently estimate a 21/22 arabica crop of between 28.65m and 30.5m bags – this number will be refined as harvest approaches.
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