SpillingTheBeans welcomes the recent focus on the rain issue in Brazil, after all the extensive weather damage both to the current 2013-14 crop as well as the next 2014-15 harvest has been plainly in sight for the past 10 months, and this is why we published a report in Australia’s Global Coffee Review as far back as September entitled “Rains And Drought Leave Brazil Coffee Crops In Doubt.”
We just came across this report from our friends at Bloomberg:
Brazil’s Somar Cuts Estimate For 2013-14 Crop By 3M Bags To 51M Bags, Predicts Rain Damage In 2014-15
Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) — Brazil’s coffee belt, known as Zona da Mata, got as much as 650 millimeters (25.6 inches) of rain in December, the most for that month in 90 yrs, Celso Oliveira, a meteorologist at Sao Paulo-based Somar Meteorologia, said today in a telephone interview.
* Somar cut its estimate for this year’s crop to ~51m bags vs a previous projection of 54m
* The rain amount compares with the historical average of 200mm
* The “deluge” may have damaged 30%-40% of the arabica crop in the region, which includes areas in Minas Gerais, the top grower of the arabica variety, and in Espirito Santo, the leading producer of robusta beans
* Rain distribution has been irregular this season, making it more difficult to assess crop losses for the robusta variety
Thanks for yet more updates Maja, which we as usual have found thoroughly realistic, if not challenging, and again highlights the unusual and unpredictable weather changes globally which is showing consistent manifestations of itself upon every part of the globe. The 2014 harvest season in Australia came earlier than anyone can remember it coming before; that is mid September, as opposed to mid to late October, running through November. In fact all harvesting was basically finished before the middle of October, when it would otherwise be quite usual with the slow ripening cycle we have here to be harvesting into December . Fortunately, flowering was prolific in 2012 owing to drought like stress on the trees, so yields were comparatively good in 2013. Quality in the cup has been compromised however because we rely on slow ripening to build and develop on those nice organic sugars and acids in the bean for our distinctive smooth, sweet and pleasant fruit cup. Results were even and quite acceptable, but not understanding in any way. What sped the ripening was an unusually warm and wet winter, followed by a sudden uninterrupted dry Spring. A similar occurrence happened in 2012, but was not as pronounced. According to meteorologists, given the stage of el nina la nina cycles we are in at the moment, this type of unseasonable winter rain should not be happening at all, nor should the quantity of higher than usual summer and autumn rainfall. With the added growth we are seeing in our already vigorous trees, we have basically decided to do away with pruning existing trees and just replant to make full use of what seems an ongoing increase in rainy years.
So, again, it comes as no surprise to us to hear of something similar occurring in Brazil and other parts of the world… no surprise at all. Thanks for continuing to aid with your keen and reliable research and analysis, which barely falters nor loses any integrity in its way from farm to blog.
Bernie, Production Manager, MT Top Coffee. Australia
Thanks so much for you comments and kind words Bernard. The summary of the harvest, processing and quality challenges at Mountain Top – even though Australia is a tiny producer in terms of volume – perfectly match what we are seeing and hearing from producers across the world with no exemptions. Your insight into these habits from the other side of the world is much appreciated and I am certain many other readers keenly will welcome to hear this. Good luck to you in 2014, Maja