Fungicides Save Brazil’s Coffee Crop

Coffee leaf rust is considered one of the most catastrophic plant diseases of all time. In the 1860s, coffee rust was largely responsible for destroying the coffee plantations of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), which had been the greatest coffee-producing country in the world. As coffee rust spread through Asia and Africa, coffee production increased significantly in Latin America where coffee rust was not present. However, coffee rust was detected in Brazil in 1970 and has since spread throughout Latin America, making fungicide use essential.

“In susceptible cultivars, chemical control has been the only option for decreasing the incidence of CLR on plants, and for reducing the harmful effects on the disease. The coffee growing regions in Brazil as well as almost all other coffee-producing regions worldwide are comprised of susceptible Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora cultivars (the latter is the second most widely cultivated coffee species). Preventive control of CLR in the main Brazilian coffee-producing regions consists from four to six applications of protective copper-based fungicides and two to three foliar applications of systemic fungicides.”

Authors: A. Fernando de Souza, L. Zambolim, V. Cintra de Jesus Jr., P.R. Cecon.
Affiliation: Federal University of Vicosa, Minas Gerais State, Brazil
Title: Chemical approaches to manage coffee leaf rust in drip irrigated trees
Publication: Australasian Plant Pathology. 2011. 40:293-300.

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