Saturday, February 28, 2009

One Year Ago Project

We boarded our tour bus and headed north-east of Brasilia into the country on our way to the neighboring state of Bahia and the farming town of Luis Eduardo Meghalles.  It was named after a governor's son, hence the interesting name!

There was so much to see along the way - 

one of the suburbs of Brasilia- 

a big grain handling facility.  Farmers don't store grain on farms like we do here - it's trucked to the grain company right from the field and the facilities are huge.

Along the way we followed this ridge of 'mountains' for several miles.  You can see the road to a farm on the side.  Government builds highways but individuals build roads in to their own property.   Infrastructure, as we know it, is not provided by the government.

New farmland was being opened up all along the way in this area.  There are very strict guidelines for environmental standards, including a 20% green space reserve.  The cerraido (brushland) is cleared, worked and pre-treated to bring it in to agricultural production. 

Brahma cross cattle were grazing along the highway but cropland definitely dominated. 

After a six hour ride on the bus, we arrived at our destination - and almost immediately headed to the local Case IH dealership to check out the machinery.  Such a typical farm thing to do in a new town!  

In volume of sales, this dealership was the biggest one in the world!!!  This combine (minus the cutting header) was the only brand new piece of machinery on the lot as the demand for machines is so high, they are usually sold before they arrive.  This also means that used equipment moves off the lot quickly too.

Inside the shop all kinds of repairs were being carried out but the most interesting to me were these cotton picker headers which were being retrofitted with new teeth.

Here's the drive unit and you can see the 'bin' at the back.  The cotton is picked, comes up the chute and is packed into huge bales in the back compartment and then dumped out when it's full. 

Workers were re-assembling some machines out in the yard.  The picker spins at a high speed and 'combs' the cotton bolls off the bushes as it moves along the rows.  We didn't get to see one in action as the cotton was just in the blossom stage.  Next time!!

Brian Willmot (in the yellow shirt) is an American farmer from Missouri who is managing a farm here and he was an excellent interpreter for our group.  The guy beside him in the white shirt was the manager of the dealership.  Of course all the men in our group had lots of questions, which they willingly answered.

These were beside the building - not sure if they were for sale or owned by the workers.  

This was a great start to the agricultural part of our trip - the whole reason we'd come!

Tomorrow - some sights around town and a trip out to a cotton gin - stay tuned!!

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