Managing a Kona coffee farm can be very lucrative, but if it isn't set up for optimal production and convenience, you may find it tough to carve out a living as a coffee farmer. Here are a few things you can do to make caring for your new Kona coffee farm easier and more productive:
Install Electric Valve Actuators
If you have multiple watering systems on your farm, consider installing electric valve actuators on them to make watering your coffee trees easy and convenient. With electric valve actuators in place, you can open and close your water valves remotely or automate them, so they open and close based on specified time periods throughout the day. This will allow you to water one group of trees in the morning, another in the afternoon, and yet another group in the evening without having to lift a finger if you don't want to. You can install valve actuators on all of your water valves, even those that pump water from your water catchment tank into your home or personal gardens.
Set up a Netting System for Sun Protection
With less than 12 inches of rainfall in Kona each year, the area sees less than 70 percent of rain than the rest of the nation sees. But the sun is out almost every day, which makes for excellent weather but dangerous conditions for your coffee trees. To protect your trees from the hot sun and keep them from drying out too much between watering, consider setting up a netting system above them. Cement ten foot pipes into the ground around your trees, so they stick up above them every two feet or so around the perimeter.
Then get black netting that is used to protect foliage from birds and animals, and lay the netting over all the pipes, so the trees are covered. Secure the netting to the pipes with clamps, so it doesn't sag down onto the trees. You can leave the netting there for consistent protection, and pull the netting over to one side when you want your trees to get direct sun exposure.
Create Golf Cart Trails Then Buy a Couple Carts
Make it easy to get around your coffee farm by creating golf cart trails to drive golf carts on. Rent a bobcat and use its bucket to scrape and clear a trail. Then put a layer of gravel on the trail and compact it with a handheld metal compactor. You should be able to drive your golf carts on the trails at this point. It's a good idea to keep a pile of gravel in a corner if possible so you can repair holes and runoffs as they happen.
Create trails that go to your coffee trees, to the driveway, and through your personal gardens. This will allow you to carry coffee cherries and other equipment around on the back of your cart, so you don't have to carry anything manually. And you'll be able to deliver several bags of coffee cherries to customers at your driveway with ease.
Hire a Few Cherry Pickers During Harvest Season
Another effective way to make work on your farm more convenient and productive is to hire a few cherry pickers during harvest season. You'll find that with a few helpers, harvesting gets done in a fraction of the time it would if you were to do it yourself. In Kona, cherry pickers are typically paid by the bag which makes it easy to manage costs and eliminates the need to hire actual employees, as they'd be a contractor. Many people put together their own team of cherry pickers for hire – working with these groups ensures that you only need to deal with one person as opposed to each individual picker when working for you.
Implementing these tips and tricks should help turn your Hawaiian coffee farm into a productive facility that's convenient to oversee.