Coffee is one of the most traditional and economically important agricultural commodities in tropical countries, especially in Brazil, the world’s greatest producer. Typically, site preparation for planting coffee stands includes deep furrowing, which allows for better mitigation of soil physical and chemical limitations and thus stronger and deeper root development. However, the practice of deep tillage prior to planting coffee seedlings strongly disrupts soil aggregates and thus affects negatively the physical quality of soil. Thus, after these deep tillage operations, some management practices must be employed to improve soil aggregation and thus enhance the sustainability of coffee production. In this chapter, we review evidence of improved soil aggregation in planting furrows promoted by application of gypsum and grass biomass residues, favoring a better organization of the soil porous space for coffee roots. Other innovative techniques are also discussed, such as the use of organomineral fertilizers associated with plastic mulching in soil aggregation.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production