Monday, April 07, 2008

South American Highlights #5

Farming in Brazil - Part 1

We went to South America on an agricultural tour so I think it's time I showed you some of that part of our vacation. Let's start in Brazil. We left Brasilia and headed northeast about 475 km to an area that has become farmland in just the last 20 - 30 years. As we drove along there was lots to see.

The land is gently rolling but there aren't many rivers or big trees in this area.

There were some valleys and escarpments along the way.

This is the raw cerraido - land that is naturally covered with small scrubbrush and grasses - that is now being brought into crop production because the price of grains and oilseeds is so high. Brazil has very strict laws that include keeping 20 - 30% of the land in reserve in its natural state. The closer one gets to the Amazon jungle, the higher the percentage of land in reserve must be. The land here has never been jungle - it's much further south. Some road construction was happening here so you can see just how red the soil is.

The scrub brush is cleared off and usually used as fuel for worker's fires in their homes.

After the land is cleared, it needs lots of lime and phosphorus to be worked in to prepare it for crop production. You can see 3 tractors with applicators working in the background. The first year dryland rice is usually grown to increase the fiber content and then rotations of corn, wheat and soyabeans will begin. Seeding is done using zero tillage equipment to conserve the moisture and prevent soil erosion.

Field after field of soyabeans lined the highway. These would be ready to harvest in another 4- 8 weeks, sometime in April. This area has a very distinct dry season of 4 months so they produce only one crop each year. Some land is being irrigated, especially for coffee and fruit production.

All the big grain companies have these huge storage facilities dotted throughout the countryside. They would have grain dryers here, fertilizer and seed for sale and storage for soybeans, corn or wheat that's been purchased from farmers. There were no wooden elevators like we have on the prairies! Coming up next - Luis Eduardo Meghales - the town that had nothing but a gas station just 25 years ago.


  1. Just wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY (for Tuesday) Crystal! Hope you have a great day & eat lots of Cake!

  2. GORGEOUS SHOTS! WOW! I can't get over how red the dirt in Sedona but even richer and deeper in color! BEAUTIFUL! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo
    Love ya,