Coffee Leaf Rust or CLR (Hemileia vastatrix), the world’s most devastating disease of coffee, was discovered affecting Hawaii’s #2 agricultural commodity late in Oct. 2020. This occurred just as the industry was beginning to cope with another destructive introduction, the Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei). The State of Hawaii is the largest producer of coffee in the US with a farmgate value of $48.4 million according to USDA NASS. Whole farm management of CLR is possible though costly and challenging with limited fungicide options. Crop losses due to CLR are covered by coffee cherry crop insurance. Poor management of this disease can lead to extensive yield losses and tree death. However, crop insurance currently does not cover the long-term solution of tree replacement and enhancement with CLR-resistant varieties.
To manage damage by CLR, Cooperative Extension has partnered with industry and other government agencies to disseminate risk management strategies for disinfestation, monitoring, field sanitation, spraying, and other best management practices recommended by other coffee-producing countries. Research continues to search for additional solutions including integration with management strategies for CBB and that address Hawaii’s unique environment, growing conditions, and high industry standards.
We present the status of coffee leaf rust in Hawaii, the challenges, our ongoing efforts to help farmers address this production risk and the impacts of those efforts. Hawaii was designated as a Targeted State, and most of the growers are underserved, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.
|Conference||2022 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|