Issue No. 36

With two new general formulations, FNC facilitates fertilization to coffee farmers

August, 2018

Product and Innovation

With two new general formulations, FNC facilitates fertilization to coffee farmers

Producers can save about COP 1 million per hectare/year.


In order to reduce production costs and increase crop profitability, Cenicafé, the scientific arm of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), developed two general fertilization formulations that will allow producers to properly nourish their coffee plantations.

This important contribution to profitability of Colombian coffee farmers is the result of an in-depth work by Cenicafé, which studied over 300,000 soil analyzes from all coffee departments in Colombia over the last 27 years (1989- 2016). With this information, a final database of over 255,000 soil samples was constructed.

After analyzing natural fertility of the country’s coffee soils and the expected response of coffee plantations to different doses of nutrients, two degrees of general-use formulations were identified.

“These degrees, in physical mixes, can allow coffee farmers to save between 990,000 and 1.1 million pesos per hectare per year compared to the same amounts of nutrients if they used a chemical complex. In practical terms, they would be fertilizing over 1.5 hectares at the cost of one,” said Hernando Duque, Chief Technical Officer of the FNC.

According to researcher Siavosh Sadeghian, from the Soil Discipline of Cenicafé, the first proposed degree is 26-4-22 (26% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus and 22% potassium), for coffee soils where magnesium is normal and composition is balanced. “With 1,164 kg per hectare per year of this formulation, the coffee plantation would be nourished at the highest levels, where there is response of coffee to fertilization,” Sadeghian noted.

The other degree proposed is 23-4-20-3-4 (23% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, 20% potassium, 3% magnesium and 4% sulfur), for soils low in magnesium and sulfur. “With 1,300 kg per hectare per year of this degree, the coffee crop would be nourished at the highest levels, where coffee also responds to fertilization,” the researcher said.

“These two general formulations will be a great alternative to all those coffee farmers who, for some reason, do not have soil analysis, which will always be the tool par excellence for an ideal and balanced fertilization of coffee crops,” Duque emphasized.

Soils nationwide feature low organic matter content

According to the Cenicafé study, in 80% of departments, soils with low organic matter contents (less than 8%) predominate, a condition that suggests application of the highest dose of nitrogen, that is, 300 kg per ha. per year, to give an example.

A coffee plantation with balanced nutrition is more productive and therefore contributes to increasing profitability of producers.

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