Two big yield limitations in coffee are:
Years of applying acidic fertilizers in conjunction with leaching have caused many soils in coffee growing areas in Kenya to become very acidic. Low soil pH affects the crop in two ways:-
At low pH, fertilizers like Phosphorous (P) get bound into the soil complex. At low pH the microbial activity that drives nutrient availability in the soil is reduced. Sometimes the cost of the lime application is paid back in just one year of savings due to better fertilizer uptake and higher yields.
Fertilizer Efficiency vs soil pH
The pH of the soil determines which nutrients are available, at low and high pH certain nutrients become unavailable. At low soil pH, in high manganese soils, manganese becomes toxic to plants and causes a yield reduction, this is very common.
Micronutrients deficiencies, especially at flowering, can cause huge yield and quality reductions in your coffee. Old coffee soil tends to be high in phosphorous and copper and low in other micronutrients. The phosphorous and copper can reduce the uptake of the other micronutrients.
Taking a leaf analysis pre-flowering will guide you in the correct foliar sprays to apply to the crop to boost your yields and discover any hidden deficiencies in due time for corrective action to be made.
Always pick the leaf samples in the region between the top most leaves and the bottom most leaves. 4-5 leaves per tree are always recommended. Always look for the most recent matured leaves.
Wise farmers invest in their soil – submit your soil for annual soil analysis to balance the pH and the nutrients.
Coffee soil sampling & analysis helps in achieving the following:
Sampling depth of 20-30 cm is recommended. Soil sample should be taken just between the tree and the furthest coffee branch.
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