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Our first humus production at ICFC has been applied in Jaramillo Region

Aug 20, 2018 | Coffee, Newsletter

Welcome back to part 4 in the series of articles on our Sustainable farming practices, from Valentina Pedrotti, our in-house Biologist and Value Chain Analyst.

In part 3, Valentina took you to our “worm hotel” and explained the vermicomposting system we have implemented.

Now, we are ready to analyze the results and to transfer the products to our farms.

Take it away Valentina!

As you already know and/or have seen, at ICFC we manage a vermicomposting system using worms to transform the coffee pulp and mucilage obtained in the mill into a more accessible and useful organic matter for the coffee plants. This material accounts for more than 60% of the total weight of the fruit (Calle, 1977).

Considering the above, in the cycle 2017/2018, we have produced a total weight of 101,058 pounds of mucilage and pulp that can pollute the environment if we don’t manage it properly.

All this organic matter is being transformed in our vermicomposting system during the last few months and finally, we have our first batch of humus ready to be used in our farms.

To know what our humus contains, we assess its chemical and microbiological composition. For this, we took samples of the humus produced in our vermicomposting system to a specialized laboratory in Costa Rica.

The results of our analysis shows that this humus has an important concentration of beneficial microbiota. As we can see in the table 1, the colony-forming unit of all the bacteria groups analyzed is higher in the humus than in the soil.

Which means that by applying this product in our farms, we are adding new life into the soil.

Table 1. Comparison of microbiota in humus produced from coffee pulp and soil.

Source: Results processed by Centro de Investigaciones Agronómicas in Costa Rica, April, 2018. Three different Humus samples obtained from vermicomposting coffee pulp and soil from Loma de los Cedros Farm.

Additionally, our results show that this stable organic matter called humus, is an important source of macro and micro nutrients and a pH soil enhancer.

Table 2.  Chemical analysis of Humus obtained from the vermicomposting of coffee pulp.

Source: Results processed by Centro de Investigaciones Agronómicas in Costa Rica, April, 2018. Three different Humus samples obtained from vermicomposting coffee pulp and soil from Loma de los Cedros Farm.

The humus itself contains a high content of worms and cocoons (eggs), that will lead to a bigger population of worms in the coming months. Therefore, by applying this product in our farms, we are promoting soil conditioning.

Remember that worms are an organism that play a crucial role in the soil by modifying its structure, in the accumulation of the decomposition of organic matter and the recycling of nutrients (Dominguez, Aira, & M., 2009). Another great reason to use our humus directly in our farms.

Fig. 1 Humus obtained from vermicomposting coffee pull and mucilage

Fig2. Cocoons from Eisenia Foetida.

Fig 3. Eisenia Foetida worms

As we mentioned a couple of reports in the past, we are working on strategies that can be implemented in the Jaramillo region in order to improve the soil condition. This definitely is one of the most important strategies we are developing.

References

Calle, V. H. (1977). Subproductos de café. Chinchiná, Ceniface. . Boletin Técnico N° 6., 84 pp.
Dominguez, J., Aira, M., & M., G.-B. (2009). El papel de las lombrices de tierra en la descomposición de la materia orgánica y el ciclo de nutrientes. AEET, 18 (2): 20-31.

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