Meet Paolo, a 70-hectare coffee grower at 1,200m in Campos Altos, MG. He has held off selling his crop, wanting higher prices to cover rising costs. He is willing to see how production and prices are in 2023/24 but if he can’t meet expenses he will convert his farm to corn or soybeans.
Boots On The Ground in Campos Altos:
Paolo put off skeletonizing some of his trees hoping to have better luck with the current crop, but a combination of drought stress and even the colder temps (too high an altitude for actual frost) caused losses.
He has had more than ample rainfall and has some fungal disease on his trees plus caterpilllar holes on the leaves. Although growth for 2023/24 is very good, he thinks reduced photosynthesis also slowed it. It could have been better. The only area of his farm with abundant cherries is on young trees that were not impacted as much by the drought.
There is some evidence of phoma with some portion of branches blackened and little to no coffee compared to closer to the tree trunk where there is considerably more fruit and what one would expect for a positive year in the crop cycle.
He considers himself fortunate compared to neighboring farms that are not at as high an altitude and suffered far worse.