A fresh cup of coffee.
Before discussing the best coffee fertiliser for your farm, it is essential to understand the rich history of coffee. Before coffee was introduced into the country, it was initially controlled by the Arabs, who enslaved Africans to work in their plantations.
The colonialists banned the Africans from growing coffee and introduced a colonial tax known as the hut tax. Africans were forced to move from their historical land to the city, which only created a monopoly controlled by the colonialists.
Popular Coffee Varieties Grown in the Country
Almost all varieties of coffee grown in the country are Arabica coffee. Our coffee is known for its sweetness and dry winy taste. It also has a black-currant flavour and aroma. Some of the popular coffee varieties grown in the country are:
The SL28 Variety
This coffee variety was introduced in the country by Scott agricultural Laboratories. This variety is known for its drought-resistant capabilities and large beans. So, how many coffee trees per Acre should you plant? We recommend having a plant density of around 1250 -1350 per hectare.
If you decide to plant the SL28 variety, keep in mind that it is susceptible to major coffee diseases such as bacterial blight of coffee and coffee leaf rust.
The SL34 Variety
This variety is also water stress-tolerant and is characterised by deep roots. The fruits are bigger than that of the SL28 variety, and that takes around 24 months for them to mature and start producing fruits. If you are looking for coffee varieties suitable for planting in high-altitude areas, then the SL34 is what you should consider.
Other coffee varieties grown in the country include the K7 coffee variety, which Scott agricultural Laboratories developed. The SL28 and SL34 varieties are resistant to coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease.
Another important variety worth mentioning is the Ruiru 11 variety. The variety is coffee Leaf rust-resistant and can be planted at all altitudes.
Best Coffer Fertiliserr to Increase Yields
Knowing the variety to plant is one thing, and increasing yield is another. Unlike a hundred years ago, when the soil was Virgin and fruitful, coffee farmers are now required to use fertiliser to replenish the nutrients lacking in the ground.
The biggest problem farmers make is applying fertiliser without a soil test. If you do not have a soil test done, you risk increasing the cost of production by applying unnecessary fertiliser. Other reasons why you should have a soil test done are:
- The farmer gains essential knowledge about the condition of the soil
- It minimises fertiliser expenditure
- A soil test helps the farmer avoid over-fertilisation
- It enables the farmer to know whether a fungal disease is in the soil
It is important to note that our coffee fertiliser recommendation is based on specific nutrients required by coffee plants. When you reach out to us for a soil test, we will be able to advise you on the best coffee fertiliser program based on the results that we will get from the laboratory.
If you already have coffee trees on the farm, then the best coffee fertiliser to use will be that which meets the specific needs of the coffee plants. You will know this by identifying nutrient deficiencies.
Coffee Fertiliser Recommendation Based on Nutrient Deficiencies
Zinc is essential because it helps the coffee plants be cold resistant. the nutrient promotes flower bud development and ensures that the fruits are produced on time.
You should add zinc fertiliser if the leaves become pale yellow. In some severe cases, the leaves might turn almost white and lose their sheen. Several factors can cause zinc deficiency; planting in soils with high organic content and high pH levels.
You should add more nitrogen to the soil if the leaves near the Shoot turn yellow or white. Another sign of nitrogen deficiency is stunted growth in younger trees and premature leaf fall. Nitrogen is important because it helps the plant produce many flowers, ultimately increasing yields.
Nitrogen deficiency is caused by planting the coffee trees in soils with low organic matter or when there is heavy irrigation. High levels of non decomposed organic matter can also cause nitrogen deficiency.
Iron deficiency only affects young leaves. The young leaves turn pale green, and in severe cases, they turn white. It is important to note that the veins stay green, and iron deficiency has the same signs as magnesium deficiency.
One main importance of iron is that it optimises the leaf quality, which increases yields. Iron deficiency is caused by several factors, such as high amounts of copper and zinc. Lack can also be caused by planting in water-logged soils.
Some plants struggle to absorb nutrients such as nitrate and potassium from the soil. To h lp with nitrate absorption, farmers should add a nutrient known as Molybdenum. You can tell that the coffee plant has molybdenum deficiency if the plant has bright yellow spots near the leaf margin.
In severe cases, the leaf margin can turn necrotic. Molybdenum deficiency can be caused by planting coffee in soils with low PH and low organic matter.
The best coffee fertiliser should meet the needs of the coffee plant. For example, if the coffee plant has zinc deficiency, you should only add a zinc-based fertiliser. If the plant has nitrogen deficiency, you should add a nitrogen-based fertiliser.
However, the best way to know for sure, especially if you are not a trained agronomist, is to give us a call, and we will advise you accordingly. If your soil is acidic we advise you get the safi biochar fertilizer