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:*. ....Issued March 15, 1917.
.: :... .' ".
A:ORTO RICO AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION,
D. W. MAY, Agronomist in Charge,
.' Mayaguez, P. R.
Bulletin No. 21.
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PROFITABLE AND UNPROFITABLE
T. B. McCLELLAND,
UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF
STATES RELATIONS SERVICE,
Office of Experiment Stations,
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
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D. W MAY Agonomst n Chrge
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PROFITABLE AND UNPROFITABLE COFFEE LANDS
Introduction--------------------- 3 Investigations of the soils--------- 9
Specific instances of profitable and Discussion----------------------- 13
Sunprofitable coffee lands--------- 4
: The yields of coffee in Porto Rico as a whole are regrettably small.
. Estimating the local per capital consumption of coffee at the same rate
as that of Cuba and adding this to the coffee exported would give
ian average annual production of about 316 pounds of cleaned coffee
Super acre for the 10-year period covered by the fiscal years 1905 to
For this small average yield many causes are to be found, working
-both singly and together. Coffee trees, even in a fertile soil, some-
times become unprofitable through the ravages of insect and fungus
.; enemies, and the planter, considering his poor and sparsely foliated
trees the result of a poor soil, treats his soil to remove an entirely
Unrelated trouble. In other cases, however, his unprofitable plant-
i. ings may be the result of an uncongenial soil. Frequently soils not
adapted to coffee have been planted to this crop, while soils better
40adapted to the purpose have been left unplanted.
SUnder favorable conditions a coffee tree is very productive. Any
Coffee planter can tell of plantings of limited extent which yield at
the rate of from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds or more per acre. Occasionally
Sa single tree may be seen which is producing, under ideal conditions,
as much as 10 pounds of coffee. To grow each tree under ideal con-
ditions is impossible, but where there is a choice of sites for new
plantings, as is nearly always the case on Porto Rican coffee planta-
Z tions, a knowledge of the suitability or unsuitability of different loca-
Stions and the factors influencing them is necessary in making a selec-
S" A soil or location which is favorable for one crop is by no means
P necessarily favorable for others. Conditions which are well suited to
:: sugar cane or to pineapples may be entirely unsuited to coffee. For
j each crop the particular conditions which are essential to the best
| development of that crop must be sought.
i; The report given in the following pages of studies extending
0| through a number of years deals with specific examples of a definite
C-OUN ovt, ty
duceon te loei sope
unil th pe oe wrtb iu:
grwh -Ti odfo i elt oe
viint an no oteeeato desag
dooee ta i hi ittil ofe,'desb
1,0 ormr etta ts ee.TiErit
an oiino hesoei yn masuiesl
cofelnsmn A h aut'n*ar rdciet
a odto ofeunl ncutrd'st eads
a Ad netgton h ad hihi nrftal o]CP
sens barn si so a en'oee yavr iP
incudn trerffi rlrgsz.Fe i
so1 nntb osdrda ie. i fe V6f&l i
in pparnc ad i amot ntrey lckigM lim
M99 n th sttion. gound clarly deon'Aate
9 whmd b ofe nte'p- n oe
SPEIFI INTANES F PKOFTABE A, T
A il qit tpia d te an feqetl panedto in
at a anle, of.25 C to300 nd ` P~parntly- v
approlimately every other month, the trees being cultivated 27 times
March, 1910, to the time at which the last reported measure-
were made, November, 1914.
1 beginning with the spring of 1910, the manured trees received
Stable manure twice yearly. The first year the manure was put in
Stretches above the trees, each application being at the rate of 5 tons
.per acre. After that it was spread as a surface mulch around the
.."J[.!:7 ... "..:.. .
...troe, each tree receiving a 5-gallon measure of manure at each appli-
r. .. :=.... ..R
p recent loss ofysoil through the frequent cultivation of certain
Srows and to furnish a level surface from which the manure would
t be washed away by the heavy rains, each of the cultivated and
manured trees had an individual terrace or planting table made
tor ^^itr by cutting away the soil at the upper side and placing it at
tlalKower side of the tree, thus making a small, level platform.
'The check rows were given no treatment other than that necessary
to prevent growth of weeds and pruning, which all received.
SBy November 1910-that is, within a year from setting-the
three upper sections had lost 15 trees, the other sections 3 only. By
-Nvember, 1911, 31 trees more had died in the three upper sections
til .Ad only 2 more in the four lower sections, making a total of 46 trees
II lost from the upper slope and 5 from the lower planting. This indi-
|: cated very clearly the unsuitability of this upper slope for coffee
-:In 1911 the different treatments showed no effect on the percentage
-of trees bearing. Of the check trees 29.3 per cent were in bearing,
I while of the manured trees 30.2 per cent and of the cultivated 30.7
per cent were producing.
'In 1912 the percentages of trees bearing were as follows: Check,
86.0 per cent; manured, 67.2 per cent; and cultivated, 71.2 per cent.
iThe average yield per tree, including nonproducing trees, was for
the check 0.21 quart, for the manured 0.40 quart, and for the culti-
V6 vated trees 0.18 quart of fresh coffee cherries. These yields were all
Svery small, but the manure here seemed effective in increasing the
.The most striking point, however, about this crop was the relative
t ,position of bearing and nonbearing trees. Of 71 trees still living in
Sthe three upper sections, only 30 trees, or about 42 per cent, pro-
9t ;duced coffee, while of the 153 trees surviving in the four lower sec-
. tions, 141 trees, or about 92 per cent, bore coffee. This, again, would
Liz indicate the unsuitability of the upper slope.
In 1913 the average yield per tree was for the check 0.93 quart,
!for the manured 1.07 quarts, and for the cultivated trees 0.66 quart
of coffee c. In 191 herries. tn 1914 the average was for the check 0.37 quart,
for the manured 0.50 quart, and for the cultivated trees 0.45 quart.
ou t a e ,b h io t ,-11' ,e 1 f
Tabl -1 e h b 4trteFil 4
TA~i L verge. eigtofipofee ree se
Dao. Qeo Mmr4 vte Dt& C
"WP ras. :P
Noeie 354 4. 6
iT1.. I 1 2 NQv1
AOII*10V DIAT V 4
iiiiA W B
w i .
460 VS 1011
near lkl |
Bul. 21, Porto Rico Agr. Expt. Station.
I M = I "' V
FIG. 1.-MOCHA COFFEE ON UPPER SLOPE, CHECK TREES (DIVISION 2, SECTION 3).
FIG. 2.-MOCHA COFFEE ON LOWER SLOPE, CHECK TREES (DIVISION 2, SECTION 7).
Fie. 1.-COLUMNARIS COFFEE ABOVE FOOTPATH. Fie. 2.-COLUMNARIS COFF ri E E ow FOOTPATH.
r ~ w w S
Accounted for by the close proximity of a giant "algarobo" tree
F .igure 2 shows the height of the trees in November, 1914, plotted
: ai curve for each treatment given, divisions 1 and 2 being taken
These curves fail to show any very material increase in growth
produced by cultivation or manuring. They show, however, under
S,:At -treatments a favorable condition for growth near the valley
i.bwttom and on the lower slope, and uncongenial surroundings above.
r chx i growth demonstrates
ttt" all available space on
^___ 3 4 ^p7-v5* _* _
Wi1elwer slope or near the /2__ 4 |
t@6 should be utilized /20
1:4! fee plantings, and //0
i: ensive treatments, /10 -- /
"as frequent cultiva- /00 -
Sin and frequent appli- --- -- /"-"
..... .i.i s of manure on un- -______/-___ /__
ble upper slopes 0 ""
w..i:: result in financial -- --
** ~ JUWI COFF--EE -- -- -- -
runnu:::nn k4 "" -ip a.if__ fi-___
K"t ? ^ USW7Ef3~?~f~l~.trJir
: .. '.. .. .. :.
:. A. other example of the
"' :"': *":: '"'..;:::'. :.::':'. -I .y ^ __ ^ ^ ^ ^ -_ ^ ^ -
....:::., *:,: "., *, % :::5j N 'II N G .t ^7 ^ ^
pen^^, difference in pro- ________
4' lucti ty of closely adja- ____
S' nt parcelses of land in re- 25-
tsation to their position on _0 -
S.the lpe is shown ina a -
plaEting of Columnaris /-
c0ee. set in 1909 on the __
oe of 'a hill at some FIG. 2.-Growth of Mocha coffee trees as af-
distance from the Mocha fected by cultivation and manuring. The un-
broken line shows the height of the cultivated
coffee planting described trees; the broken line, that of the manured
e- '.b The inclination of trees; and the dotted line, that of the check.
e slope in this case is Elevation same as in previous figure.
K* -thhe slope i- this case is
I' much the same as in the other.. During the rainy season a brook
runs at the lower side of the planting. About half way up, 40 to 50
feet- above the brook, a footpath divides the planting into two sec-
tions, one of 65 trees above the path, and the other of 61 trees below
it. (P1. II, figs. 1 and 2.)
In 1914, the crop from above and below the footpath was picked
separately. Of the 61 trees below the path all produced coffee, while
* .y. X.. "...i
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IN~~~~~~ ~ ~ abvII AtTlYdl 61
quart of cofechrisaf
nearthevaley ottm, -noir puitng in th ro
.. ... .. .....
lro .-qt fGaeopecfe re fetdb *il,
thn- yer l ttetm h esrmnswre'-kn
digason nfgr i ae ndaafrm6r w 4
a unt ahrwrnigdw n sd ftevle n ptil
poie ahrwhdbe etwt 1tes o ov
refrenetheros my e tougt f a- iviedint 7
each3 tees eep- Ths a poit 'n th digramis eteL__w
tre ecp weetre avdid hemdlescion J
H ^ "; .... ^
PMP UrINVESTIGATIONS OF THE SOILS.
:: "..r:.milations^ of the particular soils on which the above plantings
4re made show browner soils on the lower slopes and redder soils
al'bove, indicating the presence of more organic matter in the soils of
.... the lower slopes, which constantly receive leaves, loose surface soil,
'and washings from above. In the Mocha planting, on both upper
S...nd lower slopes, the layer of darker surface soil is 7 to 8 inches
.ii- de.. ep, with a redder soil under this. The soil of the lower slope,
6! ioweer, is much darker than that of the upper slope. In the
SColumnaris planting, the soil of the upper slope is very red and any
line of division between surface soil and subsoil is difficult to see,
t.pough the top 3 inches may be slightly darker. The lower part
ll'.; .pllanted to Columnaris trees has 12 to 15 inches of brownish-red soil
n iu.derlain by a slightly redder subsoil. In the Guadeloupe planting,
Y t",e upper slopes have 3 to 4 inches of soil over a very slightly redder
.subsoil. The section in the valley bottom has a browner soil about
i inches deep with a redder subsoil.
S As a general thing the most apparent differences between the upper
:and the lower slope are in color and depth of soil, the lower slope
I. ....having a much richer and deeper soil layer.
Avi, .... g a u
ri In each of the cases noted, the land near the valley bottom has
4h ^^..own itself thoroughly adapted to coffee, while in none of them
ha. the land farther up the slope shown itself at all comparable to
.... .. e. lower land.
SIn the first planting discussed, cultivation and manuring failed to
Overcome the unfavorable conditions of the upper slope.
: In the Columnaris coffee planting, in plats crossing both sections,
leguminous cover crops have been planted one to several times each
year since 1910, but a very satisfactory stand has never been obtained,
Probably owing to the shade, as cover crops were planted which were
known to do well in similar soils when unshaded. The average yield
i per tree of the cover crop and check plats on the poor soil above the
ppth for the combined 1914 and 1915 crops was identical. The
r establishing of a heavy cover crop as a means of improving such
F lands, shaded by both the coffee and the coffee-shade trees, is a diffi-
EXPERIMENTS IN LIMING.
S That liming is not the solution of the problem of lower produc-
I tions on the upper slopes was shown by some experiments begun
K. in 1910.
S-i Figure 4 shows the height in inches of some limed and unlimed
; coffee trees four years after setting. Their height is very clearly
| governed principally by their position on the slope.
il ..: ....'" 1 *' -
r ... ...... :
FIG. 4.-Growth of coffee as affected by liming and by pot- i ....... .
tion on slope. A .. *w
includes 22 trees and the limed rows 17 trees..: '.f, ilj,:i.
planting is considered the average height df ,th S C it
50.1 inches and that of the limed trees 53.3 inche, a iM
.. ... ....'. m ,.: -k' ':;. L m
inches for four years growth. :;
in p l ... -n : .. "FA R."-;:.:. i'.:..i .
In the first instance, before filling the planting hole;Wi
1 pound of lime was scattered in it. In the secd,
was scattered in the hole. The rest of tlie "W:s a1i
: .: "ii:. i :! i **: : i E
to the surface. '.. ::.......,,,
The results of this experiment indit that '.the upriI
,of the upper slopes can not be overcome bt the tplia i:o
as some have thought and suggesed. ..... ...:. :.:.:::. .:
__ .. -. i.:i: ...:.* :.!:*, -. : .... *.. .:. ..: .... :, ........ .....
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MOISTUIE cosTn orN T flOS ,I, A011
.. ... .. .. .. ... .,. .. ... : .'
,, contr4,4,, A,
.. .2 .. ": :" ":.. i: ". e : .. .:.: :':::. ":w"':!;r =.. .... ... .."":...
To investigate the relation e moisture
ness, determinations- of :th P.l mQsture W.e i I...
,. "" ^ "s, i!'! : ''.. .*'i. .. .. .*E E. I.' .......
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S. .... .. .: .
.. .: :14
I, the dry season of 1914-15 in the upper and lower portions of the
..areas planted to Mocha and Guadeloupe coffee.
Approved methods of soil sampling and drying were followed.
T^!"-he soil samples were taken to a depth of 12 inches by means of
a small brass tube cutting a column of soil three-fourths inch in
S diameter. After thorough mixing, 100 grams of each sample was
dried in an oven to a constant weight.
S The soil moisture, expressed as percentage of the original weight
|7, of the sample as determined by the loss in weight in drying, and
iP the dates on which the samples were collected are shown in Table II.
II TAmBLz II.-Moisture content of soils of Mocha and Guadeloupe coffee plantings
III- throughout a dry season.
i Lower Upper Lower Upper
: Date.. Guade- Guade-
i Per cent. Per cent. Per cent. Per cent.
.O;. 25,1914................................................... 28.0 26.9 30.4 31.9
Dc.W 9, 1914-------------------------------------28 29.4 3052.
9, 1914 .................................................... 29.8 29.4 30.5 32.5
ee.23,1914 ................................................... 30.4 29.3 31.4 33.1
SDec.30, 1914----------------------------------------------................................................... 29.3 28.7 30.9 30.1
H Jan.6, 1915 ..................................................... 27.6 26.8 29.2 30.7
Jan.13,1915 .................................................... 27.5 26.5 27.7 28.7
Jan.20,1915.. ----------------------------------------------26.2 26.4 27.3 28.1
Ha u. 2. 7,1915 ................................................... 253. 1 26.2 27.7 27.0
S Feb.3,1915.................................................... 28.2 26.2 28.6 29.9
.Feb.10,1915..... ........................................ 26.1 25.1 28.8 27.4
| eb.17,1915.......................... ......................... 24.3 25.4 27.4 25.9
*. reb.24,1915................................................... 24.2 24.8 26.0 25.5
Mar.3,1915.................................................... 23.6 24.4 25.1 25.9
Mar. 10,1915................................................... 24.7 24.1 25.7 25.2
I:,.: Mar.17,1915........................... .................. 23.8 23.9 26.9 23.9
Mar. 24,1915................................................... 23.2 22.7 25.1 23.7
Ma 31, 1915... .......................................... 20.8 22.0 23.7 23.2
SApr. 7, 1915.................................................... 27.9 26.9 28.8 29.7
TotalO -..................................... ... ...... 470.7 465.7 501.2 502.4
Average moisture content ..................................... 26.2 25.9 27.8 27.9
SIn accordance with the method described in a bulletin of this de-
partment,1 a chart was made showing the seasonal variations in the
S soil-moisture content of the upper and lower slopes of the Mocha and
Guadeloupe plantings. (See fig. 5.)
The rainfall recorded was as follows: October, 12.86 inches; No-
vember, 2.39 inches; December, 6.82 inches; January, 0.60 inch;
February, 0.12 inch; March, 0.48 inch. The drought was broken by
3.92 inches of rain falling the first week of April.
SA careful examination of the chart shows the soils on the same
slope to be surprisingly alike in their moisture content. That the
Guadeloupe soils contained more moisture than the Mocha soils is
S explained by the fact that the former slope has a northern exposure
|: alo is more protected from the sun than the latter, which faces the
|y| t. In several instances in both plantings the curves representing
S he moisture content of the upper and lower slope intersect, but in
'1ho instance do the curves of the separate plantings touch.
1:JU. S. Dept. Agr., Div..Agr. Soils Bul. 4 (1896).
the moisture, eortt4
senting the moisture of the low-or,
in each instance with that of, the
variation is so sm&14 a mu ch qlos'or'r
tween the curves of the two upper or, between, t
The data furnished in the tabJe show an. ave^p
moisture content between soils. of the same b- Usi
in one instance and 0.3,, per cpent in the other In tb
plant' where the samples were taken frommore al I
locations, the difference was less thanAm the Mocha Pla
the plats were-more widely aeptrated. In the former,
the upper slope, showed oh the whole 'a shightly greater
content, while in the latter instance the reverse was trae.' 'J
moisture content. of the:soil is considered to the depth of,-#,,
",VOP 045r., 4. A/. 41&. V/1
Via. 5.-Botl moisture content of Mocha and Guadeloupe plantWO. The two'
lines are of the Guadeloupe, planting; the two lower, of the Moqba Dqut,4,*'
represent upper slope; solid lines, lower'slope.
difference in moisture content between the soils of the uppe
lower slopes is seen to be so slight as definitely to show- tbo
other factor was responsible for the pronounced diflom-
growth as: shown in these two plantings.
This conclusion is borne out by the results of a series ofpott
Forty-eight 6-inch cement:tubes were filledmith soil. fro'm the,
and lower Mocha and Guadelope slopes 12 with soil from 4*
tion., The soil was dug to a spade's depth and thotougWy,
Coffee seed from a single' tree, were planted. in the pots ou4
ceived the same treatment for about three months, when 'N
had expanded thejx cotyledons, Of euh lot, 3, wem then
once, 3 twice, 3 four times,,,and 3 six times a, we*., *t ea&,
all pots receiving a, uniform amount of water. The
was varied from week 0 week in order to keep:the
watered pots as near saturation as possible and yet
Simulation of water in the tin holder in which each pot sat. At 7j
!'7 nthns from planting, while measurements showed that growth was
.k proportion to the amount of water supplied, they also showed
..warked variations on the different soils, the average growth in the
From the lower Mocha slope being 7.4 inches as compared with
Inches in that from the upper slope. The average growth on the
~ ~il from the lower Guadeloupe slope was 6.6 inches as against 5
ihhe in that from the upper slope.
O every large coffee plantation marked differences are seen in
Sthe productiveness of different tracts.
A type of hill frequently met with in the district extending from
~!:-:4the west coast of Porto Rico well back into the interior is one which
..iroduces vigorous and prolific coffee trees on the lower slope, but
';Apr the hilltop only trees of poor growth giving meager yields.
Studies were undertaken to determine, if possible, the cause of
e poor growth on the upper slopes. This had beer.attributed to
various causes, among others, a need of lime to correct the soil
....acidity, and a difference in moisture content between this soil and
that of the more productive lower slope.
The experiments with lime showed that liming was not the solu-
'. tion of the difficulty.
Determinations, throughout the dry season, of the moisture con-
Stent of profitable and unprofitable soils of the same hill indicated
that the pronounced differences in growth on the upper and lower
i slopes could not be attributed to a difference in moisture content, the
Greatest average difference in moisture content of soils of the upper
Sand lower slopes of the same hillside being only 0.3 per cent.
Frequent cultivations of the soil and moderately liberal applica-
tions of stable manure twice yearly, continued since March, 1910, to
i the present time, have each failed to produce a vigorous growth on
the upper slope.
The soil of these unprofitable upper slopes frequently closely re-
sembles the subsoil. On the lower slopes of the hills the soil layer
? has been deepened and enriched by deposits of soil washed from
Above for centuries. It is in these rich soils that coffee thrives and
Small of such land should be planted.
; The poorer soils on which coffee makes only a weak growth should
.: ..... be devoted to pasture or forest or some other crop for which this
Island may be better adapted.
I If such lands are to be used for coffee at all, large holes for
i future planting should be dug and left open until they can be filled
with leaves, soil washings, stable manure, coffee pulp, or any organic
3, material which, on decaying, will enrich the soil.
Hiiii i ii v
or UBLCAON &YBE IMOUUD 163
THE ~rERNTENENT N DOUMEN
HWHBBE N"NH H PRUMMG 0 HB BIM
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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