; Managing a Production Risk for Coffee Growers in Hawaii | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Managing a Production Risk for Coffee Growers in Hawaii

Stuart Nakamoto, Andrea Kawabata, and Shannon Sand


The Kona coffee root knot nematode (CRKN), Meloidogyne konaensis, is a major threat and production risk for the coffee industry in Hawaii. Producers should harvest 10,000 lbs/ac of coffee cherry but per USDA NASS, most recent statewide yields are 3500-4000 lb/ac. At recent farmgate prices of $2.25/lb, this represents a $14,000 loss per acre. There is no treatment for infected trees which slowly deteriorate as their root systems are destroyed, and many eventually die. Replanting with trees grafted onto nematode resistant/tolerant rootstocks is the only effective management technique.

Coffee is one of the few crops in Hawaii covered by crop insurance, but orchards infested by CRKN are not insurable. The majority of farms and nearly half of the crop acreage is known to be infested. Although the pathogen was identified over fifty years ago, many growers and especially beginning farmers are not aware of the problem much less know how to manage it. As a result, new acreage continues to be infested. Using grafted trees presents its own set of challenges, including availability of rootstocks and training on grafting techniques.

We present the history and status of CRKN, the challenges, and our ongoing efforts to help farmers address this production risk. Hawaii was designated as a Targeted State, and most of the growers are beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers.