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Crop Cultivation Guidence



Coffee (Coffea arabica and c.robusta ) cultivation is mainly confined to the States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and on a limited scale to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Sikkim, Tiruprua and West Bengal. Coffee cultivation is confined mostly to the hilly tracts of Western and Eastern Ghats.

Climate and soils:

Climatic requirements for arabica and robusta are as follows

Arabica can planted at elevation1000-1500m from mean sea level and annual rainfall requires optimum temperature 15-250C and relative humidity 70-80%and needs medium to light shade. While robusta can planted at elevation 500-1000m from mean sea level and annual rainfall requires optimum temperature 20-300C and relative humidity 80-90%and needs uniform thin shade.
Soil should be deep, friable well drained, slightly acidic in reaction (PH 6.0-6.5) porous and rich in organic matter content. Soil should be moisture retentive..


S.795 (Sin.3), Sln.7 (San Ramon hybrids), Sin.8 (Hibrido-de-Timor), Sin.9, Sin 10 (Catura crosses), Cauvery

Land Preparation

The land should be divided into blocks of convenient size with footpath and roads laid out inbetween. In steapy area, terracing and contour planting may also be adopted. Spacing for arabica and robusta coffee is 2-2.5m and 2.5 to 4m respectively on either way. Pits of 45cm are usually opened after the first few summer shower and seedlings of 16to18months old are planted during June or September-October. The seedling is placed in the hole with its taproot and lateral roots spread out in proper position. The soil around the seedling is packed firmly and evenly in such a way that 3-cm high above the ground to prevent stagnation of water around the collar. The seedlings are provided with cross stakes to prevent wind damage.

Management practices

Single stem systemWhen the plant reaches a height of 75cm in Arabica or 110-120 cm in robusta, is topped. This facilitates lateral spreading and increases the bearing area. In this system, a second tier is also allowed sometimes depending upon the soil fertility and plants vigour.

Pruning in Coffee is done immediately after harvest and till the onset of monsoon. Pruning involves: -
A centering - removal of the vegetative growth upto 15 cm radius from the center and upto the first node of all primary branches
Desuckering - removal of orthotropic branches arising from the main trunk
Handling - removal of small sprouts arising from the axis of the leaves which otherwise grow towards the inner side and cause shade and become unproductive wood and
Nipping- growing tip of primary branches is removed to encourage secondary and tertiaries.

Soil management

In the new clearing, the field is given a thorough digging to a depth about 35-45cm towards the end of the monsoon. Once the coffee plants have closed in, annual digging is not done,.

Scuffling or soil stirring
In established coffee fields, scuffling or soil stirring is done towards the beginning of the dry period. In controls weeds and also conserves soil moisture.

Trenches and pits are dug or renovated in a staggered manner between rows of coffee along the contour during August-October when the soil is fairly easy to work. These are 50cm wide and 25cm deep and can be of any convenient length.

Mulching young coffee clearings helps to maintain optimum soil temperature and conserves soil moisture and acts as an effective erosion control measures


The peak periods of demands for nutrients are at the time of flowering, fruit set and development and maturation of the crop. Based on all these factors. For coffee, fertilizer schedule is as follows:

ArabicaNitrogen: Phosphorus:Potash 
Young coffee 1st year after planting45:30:45
2nd and 3rd year 60:45:60
4th year80:60:80
Bearing coffee 5 years and above for less than one tonne/ha.140:90:120
Crop for 5 years one tonne/ha. and above160:120:160
Robusta  Nitrogen: Phosphorus:Potash 
For less than 1 tonne/ha. Crop80:60:80
For 1 tonne/ha. And above120:90:120


Sprinkler irrigation is mainly used as an insurance against failure of good blossom or backing showers.

Weed control

During the monsoon the weeds are slashed back. Another weeding is done towards the end of the monsoon. Clean weeding is generally done during the post-monsoon period.

Shade and its management

Under the climatic condition existing in India, coffee is being cultivated under shade. It comprises of two canopise-lower or temporary and upper or permanent. Dadap is used as a lower canopy shade in India. When stakes are planted in June, they grow quickly using the moisture available in the soil. Silver oak is the most commonly used tree for temporary shade. Permanent shade trees are generally planted about 12-14 metres apart. The trees have to be regulated in such a way that they have their canopy about 10-14 metres above the coffee. Shade trees require constant attention by way of pruning and lopping to provide the required filtered shade to coffee. The Dadap are lopped 2-3 times a year to regulate the light requirements according to season. Dadap is lopped at the commencement of the south west monsoon to allow more light and regulated during winter when the dry weather begins. In north east monsoon area, it is lopped during August-September.

Plant protection

Mealy bug
Serious foliar parasites, attack starts from a few isolated bushes and then spreadto others
Prune the affected bushes, spray with folithion 50 EC @ 300ml or lebaycid 1000@ 150ml in 200 litres of water.

White stem borer
Plants show unhealthy signs like wilting and yellowing of leaves.
Provide good shade, burn the infested plants in situ and swap with heptachlor 50Wp @ 2kg in 100 litres of water padding with monocrotophos (1:2)

Shoot-hole borer
Attacked plants dry up, extensive tunnelling within the branches seen
Prune and burn the affected branches

Leaf rust
Pale yellow spots on the lower surface of leaves, later turn to orange yellow powdery mass, infected plant exhibit defoliation
Spray Bordeaux mixture (0.5%) four times a year pre blossom, premonsoon, mid monsoon and post monsoon months.

Black rot
Blackening and rotting of the affected leaves, twigs and developing berries
Proper shade regulation, centering and handling the affected bushes to prevent secondary spread, spraying with 1% Bordeaux mixture

Root diseases
Affected plants show gradual yellowing of leaves, defoliation followed by death of above ground parts.
Uproot the affected plant and burn, dig trenches of 60cm deep and 30cm width to isolate the affected bushes, keep fallow for 6 months, apply organic manures 10-15kg per pit.

Harvesting and Storage

Coffee fruits should be picked as and when they become ripe to get better quality. Arabica comes for harvesting earlier since they take 8-9 months for fruit development from flowering while robusta takes 10-11 months. Picking is done by hand. The first picking consists of selective picking of ripe berries and is called fly picking. Thereafter, there will be 4-6 main pickings at 10-15days intervals and final harvest.