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Field update #3 - June 2022

Field-Update #3 - Juni 2022

The beginning of the harvest season

The drought and the frosts of last year in Brazil, especially in Minas Gerais, Paraná and São Paulo, have weakened the plants and impaired the production performance of the coffee cultures.
It is expected that Arabica coffee will be most affected by the unfavorable weather conditions, since it focuses in the regions that are most affected by the low temperatures and the lack of water. It is expected that production will recover from last year and possibly reach 35.7 million sacks of processed coffee. However, higher production potential was expected because it is a cycle with a positive two -year rhythm (on year). Compared to the harvest 2020, this means a decline in the estimated total amount by 23.6 %.

The development of the plants shows that despite the good flowering through the rain, the beans are not well advanced due to the physiological conditions of the plants.

Mechanical harvest in Brazil

In the past, an abundance of available workers has contributed significantly to the overall growth of the coffee sector in Brazil. Nowadays, however, reality looks very different, since the farmers are faced with higher harvest costs due to the high demand for workers during the harvest season. Hiring workers for the coffee harvest can increase the operating costs by up to 40 % (depending on the region), but fortunately there are now some technological options in Brazil to increase productivity and efficiency. Thanks to these technical innovations, Brazil is today one of the most innovative and modern coffee growing countries in the world.

Many farmers report that the quality of the picked coffee has improved since they started harvesting mechanically and that they achieved a much faster and more homogeneous result. From the point of view of the farmers, it is of course in their interest to harvest the coffee as soon as the cherries are ripe to avoid overripe coffee and fermentation problems. As soon as the coffee is picked, it is brought to the wet mill, where it is cleaned, sorted and (if necessary for the respective process) is crushed.

The most important harvest techniques

Selective hand picking:

The pickers selectively pick only the red cherries. With this method, pickers may have to go over the harvest 2-3 times during the harvest time.

Strip picking:

The pickers remove all cherries from the branches, but there is no clear separation between the maturity degrees. With this method, the farmers wait until most cherries are red on the trees before they free the trees from their fruits. The strip picking is suitable for drier climate zones in which the maturation is more even.

Mechanical harvest:

With this harvesting method, a tractor is used with forks on both sides (or one -sided) rotating forks, which picks the coffee cherries from the branches through vibrations. The speed of the mechanical harvest machine and the length of the forks (as well as the way they are positioned) as well as the rotation speed and the degree of vibration can be adjusted to ensure that the harvest is carried out without damage to the cherries or plants.

The harvest on the Fazenda Ipiranga

It all started around May 15th. We are harvesting the youngest plants by hand, they are only 2.5 years old. Coffee cultivation is a long-term investment, it takes a lot of patience to the first harvest!
Immediately after the harvest, we wash and sort the cherries by quality before we lay it out to dry on our terrace.
In the next few weeks we will start with the machine harvest, which will increase the quantities quickly. We can hardly wait to try the new beans and will patiently accompany this beautiful and enriching season. We will keep you up to date!

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