Preliminary assessment of the damage caused by Brazil’s frost expected to show bigger coffee losses

Preliminary assessment of the damage caused by Brazil’s frost expected to show bigger coffee losses 

August 13 - 2021 Coffee Geography Magazine

According to a preliminary assessment by the Brazilian government which is not yet released officially to the public, is expected to affect from 5 million to 10 million bags, or as much as 600 million kilograms (1.3 billion pounds) in final production, cited by a government official who asked not to be identified because the data is not formal. The loss can be measured as a third of what Americans drink in a year because of the heavy frost ravaged fields in the world’s biggest producer.

brazil frost

Frost has posed a threat to coffee trees ever since the crop was first brought to Brazil in the 18th century. Major producing states in Brazil, such as Minas Gerais, are more frost prone than growing regions in other major Arabica coffee producing countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia.

Sub-zero temperatures, around -3°C to -4°C (when ice crystals form in the plant's cells) are lethal, destroying flower buds, flowers and fruits, and causing frost burn on leaves, which in severe cases leads to complete defoliation of the coffee tree.

The severest form of damage is due to the formation of ice crystals, which puncture the cells within the affected plant parts, causing them turn black and die, ultimately leading to the death of the plant. Frost can be particularly devastating after a long period of drought, such as experienced this season, as leaves may have wilted already making them susceptible to low temperatures and frost.

The government is still assessing the damage, and once that’s finished in the coming weeks, an official estimate will be released, the person said.


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