Nutrient budget of coffee plantations in Brazil


02 Jun 2018

2017 Annual Interpretive Summary

Coffee in Brazil occupies 2.2 million ha, with a total production of 2.7 million t and an average yield of 1.45 t/ha. In 2017, Brazil exported 1.85 million t of coffee and this crop ranks 4th in fertilizer consumption after soybeans, maize, and sugarcane. Despite its importance, coffee plantations generally show low nutrient use efficiencies, presenting removal-to-use ratios of 0.14, 0.10, and 0.20 for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), respectively in a recent survey.

This project aims to evaluate long term nutrient budgets of coffee plantations, considering yields from both high and low years in response to the biennial nature of the crop. Brazilian coffee production has undergone major changes in recent years, with one of the main changes being the significant increase in crop yield. This increase was due, among other factors, to the improvement of coffee tree nutrition knowledge in Brazil. To calculate the nutrient budget, information is being collected from plantations in different regions in São Paulo and Minas Gerais states regarding crop management, nutrient application, and yield. Previous results have showed an average of removal-to-use ratio of 0.26, 0.09, and 0.36 for N, P, and K, with great difference between high and low yield years: 0.36, 0.14, and 0.50 for NPK in high yield year versus 0.09, 0.01, and 0.10 for NPK in low yield years.

In 2017, 15 more sites were added to the project and are under evaluation, showing preliminary results of removal-to-use ratio on average of 0.14, 0.07, and 0.15 for N, P, and K.