Researchers have perked up at the opportunity to brew some coffee-growing solutions.
Coffee is one of Brazil’s biggest crops. Brazil’s favorable climate helps coffee beans ripen and be ready for picking during a concentrated period of weeks. This makes mechanical harvesting an economically reasonable choice.
So much mechanization, however, comes with its challenges. Tiago de Oliveira Tavares is an agronomist at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil. He and his colleagues perked up at the opportunity to brew some coffee-growing solutions.
Up to 20% of coffee berries fall to the ground. This can be due to the mechanical harvesting process as well as other causes, including rain, wind, disease, and pests. This “ground coffee” is retrieved through a process of mechanical sweeping and picking.
But the machinery is heavy. Over time it compresses the soil, interfering with the trees’ root growth and their ultimate levels of production. In response, growers use a process called subsoiling to break up this hard soil. A long blade is pulled behind a tractor. It breaks up the soil very effectively but leaves an uneven soil surface behind.
Continue reading at American Society of Agronomy
Image via Tiago de Oliveira Tavares, Sao Paulo State University