Brazil Raises 2017 Coffee Crop Estimate to 45 Million Bags

By Jeffrey T. Lewis Features Dow Jones Newswires

Brazilian crop agency Conab increased its estimate for the country's 2017 coffee crop, as productivity in the country's main coffee-growing states improved.

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Brazilian farmers grew 45 million 132-pound bags of coffee in the 2017 season, Conab said Thursday. In September, the agency had forecast a harvest of 44.8 million bags. Growers produced an average of 24.1 bags per hectare, Conab estimated, compared with its estimate of 24 bags per hectare three months ago.

The country produced 34.3 million bags of the arabica variety of coffee this year, Conab said, after forecasting a crop of 34.1 million bags in September. The agency's forecast for robusta was unchanged in December from three months ago, at 10.7 million bags.

In 2016, Brazil had a harvest of 51.4 million bags of coffee, with 43.4 million bags of arabica and 8 million bags of robusta. The arabica variety has a two-year growth cycle in Brazil, in which odd-numbered years usually produce less coffee than even-numbered years as the coffee plants recover from the previous year.

Brazil's main robusta-producing state of Espirito Santo suffered through a drought last year that hit the harvest of that variety. The state's farmers are recovering from the drought this year, and the crop increased.

Brazil is the world's biggest coffee producer and exporter.

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Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

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December 21, 2017 06:20 ET (11:20 GMT)