The Seasonal Assessment of Water Needs In The Irrigation of Coffee

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Pereira H. C.
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In the areas of unshaded Kenya coffee east of the Rift, planters realize very keenly how dependent are their crop yields upon the vagaries of rainfall. Every coffee planter can do a certain amount to help himself out of these difficulties. The Coffee Research Station at Ruiru, Kenya, has shown what substantial increases in yield can be obtained by securing full penetration of rainfall and its subsequent protection by the use of grass mulches, and this practice is being widely followed. Improved weeding efficiency with implements specially devised to leave a rough cloddy surface which can effectively absorb rainfall, has been shown at the Coffee Research Station to be another profitable way of securing a better share of the rainfall for the coffee (Pereira and Jones, 1954); the encouraging results reported by Robinson (1956) suggest that the supplementing of cultivation by weedkilling sprays may soon become routine practice. The third method of assistance to the coffee is the most direct but the most expensive, that of supplementary irrigation. This has been pioneered by enterprising planters, encouraged by the high coffee prices of recent years, and striking responses have been obtained from water applications.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 22, p. 188-196