Brazil underlined the setback to its arabica coffee production fortunes this year from frost, drought and excessive rains, even as it nudged higher its harvest estimate, making a small upgrade to the robusta result too.

Conab, the official Brazilian ag bureau, lifted by 540,000 bags to 50.92m bags its estimate for the country’s total coffee output this year, taking the figure 3.19m bags above last year’s crop.

The revision reflected in the main improved thinking on the arabica crop, which was upgraded by 311,000 bags to 32.72m bags, led by an increase to the yield figure for Sao Paulo state.

Nonetheless, the bureau highlighted that the arabica result was significantly lower than that achieved in 2020, the last “on” year for Brazil, which has alternate higher and lower arabica-producing years.

‘Pessimistic picture’

“With harvesting… completed the pessimistic picture of productivity remained” for arabica, Conab said.

“The climatic adversities suffered, even before the beginning of the harvest, with long periods of water restriction and frosts in 2021…. contributed decisively” to the disappointing yield.

The bureau underlined too the blow from persistent rain in 2022, which caused “a large leaching of potassium, an important nutrient in the synthesis and transport of carbohydrates to the fruits”.

As a further blow, losses in processing were higher than had been expected, with a “greater amount” of coffee needed “to obtain a processed bag”.

Robusta ‘favoured’

Conab contrasted the disappointment at the arabica result with that for a robusta crop “favoured” by the weather in most growing regions.

“The good rainfall recorded, especially between December 2021 and February 2022, combined with the ideal temperatures recorded, favoured” robusta crop development.

Conab lifted its estimate for the 2022 robusta harvest by 229,000 bags to 18.20m bags, setting a record by a bigger margin than previously thought.