Brazil Coffee Harvest Update | July 2021

Harvest in Brazil is on and we’ve received a comprehensive update from our sister co, Volcafe Brazil.

•• Fruit Maturation
The overall fruit maturation has been slow this season which stems back to late 2020. At that time, the blossom in October had a poor fixation due to adverse weather (limited follow up rains) followed by below average rains in March and April which reduced the cherry filling potential. Those two weather episodes resulted in a delayed harvest, in what is already considered an off-cycle crop. The lower than usual amount of cherries reduce the pressure on farmers and their facilities to quickly harvest and process the coffee.

•• Pandemic
Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is, on the whole, not affecting the harvest activities in the countryside and people can move freely. Unfortunately, the sanitary rules are not always respected by harvest workers, as they face strong economic pressure. In their opinion, the sanitary rules would reduce their productivity / mobility and result in loss of income. However, when harvest workers show signs of flu symptoms, they generally stay off the working site and quarantine.

•• Quality
At this stage, with the harvest being delayed, it is a bit early to fully evaluate quality. What has been delivered to coops and warehouses so far tastes promising. And the bean size has been good — better than average.

•• Water
São Paulo and Minas Gerais have saw lighter rain in late May / early June. The potential negative impact on the new lots is still unknown, but we expect very minor quality issues if any. Light rain typically occur this time of the year, so this is not such an abnormal phenomenon.

The lack of water and below average rains since the start of the year however is becoming more problematic in many growing areas. Farmers now have to start thinking about building irrigation systems in the arabica growing regions. Current estimates suggest that only about 30% of total arabica growing regions have irrigation systems. Implementation will take time and will be a big change. Farmers from Cerrado and São Paulo seem more inclined to this new technology as in other regions. It’s also worth noting that irrigation systems are not an option for many farmers.

Many farmers accumulate a mulch layer on soil to retain more water, some try new techniques that boost the growth of the coffee tree roots…. In general, coffee farmers try to maintain good husbandry so that the trees would be better prepared to face adverse weather ahead.

• New variety
We are seeing a strong demand for the Arara variety, a great tasting cross between Catuai and Abata. The Arara is a yellow fruit coffee with high resistance to rust and good productivity. While its ripening cycle tends to be late, it is also more resilient to water-stress than the traditional Catuais and Novo.

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Copyright Genuine Origin 2021 — Original story published by Volcafe Select

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