Planter's Diary

Lifescapes

November 11th, 2011 by Mr. Achayya Mukattira

Caring for Robusta…

Robusta coffee is grown in Coorg, especially in its southern region. The more vigorous of the two commercially cultivated varieties, it is also less expensive to retain. It continues to crop economically for over half a century, and is an extremely popular variety. A unit area of an acre usually consists of 400 to 550 plants.

Saplings are planted in the monsoons each year, after the land chosen is carefully prepared. Once planted, Robusta continues to sustain a particular farming family for at least two generations.

 

Robusta coffee just over a decade old

Robusta Coffee Just Over a Decade Old

New planting of Robusta coffee on existing farming land is a rarity these days taking into account the exorbitant cost of opening up new clearings. Farming families clear and plant only a certain percentage of their holdings, with the intention of replacing economically unsustainable parcels of coffee on their land.

Care of fully mature Robusta plants, essentially means providing adequate nutrition and light conditions, proper pruning, and minimal preventive methods against pests and diseases as also ensuring sufficient moisture is provided to the plant at the time it blossoms.

 

A pruner ready to ply his trade.

A Pruner Ready to Ply His Trade

The farmer in Coorg is well aware of the fine distinction between good and average practices in the care of the Robusta plant.  Ensuring a Robusta plant is well cared for, is the only guarantee for a good harvest and the economic well being of the farmer.

Nutrition is physical application of fertilizers to the base of the individual plant. The farmer chooses between uses of organic or inorganic fertilizers depending on individual preference. Most will use a combination of the two to ensure an adequate harvest whilst looking for the long-term care of the soil conditions.

Pruning of the overhead shade trees ensures proper light conditions. Excessive shade does not support a good harvest. Excessively open conditions can leave the farmer with an overexploited coffee plant. Through practical experience, the farmer is able to decide the kind of light conditions best suited to his farm.

 

Desired shade pattern for growing Robusta coffee

Desired Shade Pattern for Robusta

The coffee plant requires shaping annually, in order to retain the amount of desirable wood growth as well as to ensure it’s not carrying branches that are ornamental with little crop bearing capacity. Experienced pruners are a joy to watch as they trim and shape the Robusta plant, and are a much sought after lot.

 

Properly Pruned Robusta Coffee

Properly Pruned Robusta!

Finally, adequate moisture provided to the plant at the time of flowering ensures healthy blossoms, which eventually decide the quantity of crop harvested, and economic returns for the farmer during the following year’s harvest.

Caring for Robusta…
Mr. Achayya Mukattira
Mr. Achayya Mukattira is a planter engaged in Corporate farming in South India for about a decade. He has worked with crops such as Tea, Coffee, Pepper, and Cardamom and possesses sound knowledge regarding landscaping and ornamental plant culture. He has been a farmer since 1996, tending a small ancestral coffee plantation in a village called Arapattu, in South Kodagu. He spends a major portion of his time on his farm and feels ‘one’ with nature during these occasions.



This entry was posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011 at 9:43 AM and is filed under Culture, Farming, Flora, Plantation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Caring for Robusta…”

  1. Nikhil Says:

    Why is Sidapur coffee such a blend?

  2. admin Says:

    Sidapur, a fine coffee from the House of Ramapuram is indeed a blend of different grades of Arabica and Robusta. This blending gives it its unique flavour :).

  3. Karan Says:

    Awesome !!! 1st photo shown at the top depicts the robustness of the Robusta plant you have maintained. Simply stunned by looking at the healthy plant.

  4. admin Says:

    Great to hear that, Karan!

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