Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kauai Coffee Visit

So back to the Hawaii about the field trip to AgroLiquid customer: Kauai Coffee.  This has always been a favorite stop for the samples of delicious coffee from the largest coffee plantation in America.  And even more so since they have been using AgroLiquid on an increasing number of acres each year. 
This year would be different as we actually went out into the field on some of the 3000 acres of coffee to see what it takes to manage coffee growth.  By now it was nearly a month since harvest was finished.  They had a great growing season in 2016 and a virtually rain-free harvest.  So there was a record harvest, and everyone was in a good mood.  Especially since drought and rainy harvest in 2015 caused a low-yielding  harvest.  Here Orchard Manager Jon describes the seasonal growth of coffee to the group.

 This is an early flower.  But soon they will be covered in flowers and the coffee cycle begins again.
 Part of coffee management involves total removal of all branches and stems, an operation called stumping.  Irrigation Manager Bronson describes how and why this is done.  The goal would be to have all branches be the same size and age.  That leads to uniformity.  When they get too big with old and young branches, it can lead to uneven production.  So cut it down to the stump and let them regrow. Different varieties have different stumping requirements.  Some can go for many years and some need it more often.  Who knew?  (Notice that the drip tape has alrady been strung out ready to be hooked up and deliver Liquid fertilizer.)
Here is a look at the stumped field.  It takes a lot of good planning to schedule all of this over the entire farm.  I wondered how long it takes to re-grow.

 Well this field was stumped a year ago, and now look.  It varies by variety, but I was impressed at the rapid regrowth here.
In addition to stumping, coffee plants must also be hedged from time to time to keep branches from growing into the row middles.  Shorter branches are stronger too.  This machine is a beast as those are rotating saws that do the job.  This one had just come out of a row and was turning around to go back on the other side.  For some reason they wouldn't let us get too close.

So you may recall from last year that I reported that a field treated with AgroLiquid through the drip lines produced the highest yield fr that year.  Well it happened again with the 2016 crop.  This 96 acre field produced around 12,000 pounds of coffee per acre.  Impressive.  I have shown this one in the blog in the past since it is pretty next to the ocean.  The sun wasn't in the best place at the time,  and it has been recently harvested, but wanted to show it.  They are impressed since this is right next to the ocean and is subject to salt spray.  Sounds like low-salt fertilizer is the key.   

After the field tour, time for a coffee break.

Always a good time at Kauai Coffee.  Look for it in your grocery store.  If it's not there, ask.  Or send an order to AgroLiquid.  It's sold in our store.  We help grow it, so we can certainly help drink it.  But now we will think about all the work that goes into growing the beans for each cup we drink.  No wonder coffee is so good.