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Brazil Coffee Crop To Fall 13 Pct, Remain Weak Next Year -Procafe

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GUARUJABrazil, May 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's 2014/2015 coffee crop is expected to drop to 40.1-43.3 million bags after a drought early this year, more than 13 percent below the government's January forecast, the non-profit coffee research groupFundacao Procafe said on Wednesday.

The hot, dry spell that sent coffee prices up 80 percent since January will also hold production of arabica beans back next year, Procafe agronomist Jose Matiello said at the International Coffee Seminar in Guaruja.

Matiello's research, based on surveys of half a million hectares worth of farms across Brazil's 8.5 million-hectare coffee belt, showed the worst-hit regions to be at the heart of the world's largest coffee belt.

"South Minas will show average losses of about 30 percent, with the greatest impact felt in the larger screen (size) beans," Matiello said.

The government's crop supply agency Conab forecast a coffee crop of 46.4 million to 50 million 60-kg bags in January before data on the effects of the drought could be gathered.

Conab is due to release a revised estimate of the crop on May 15, and there is little doubt it is going to be reduced.

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