Blogs from Brazil – Part 3 by April Hemmes

Guest blog by
April Hemmes, Hampton, Iowa

Franklin County farmer April Hemmes is traveling through Brazil with a group of Iowans. You can get a sneak peek at Brazilian culture and agriculture here. Read below for a daily account of her journey.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

These are the places we have been so far. Brazil is about the same size as the U.S.

What a trip so far! We started the day at a John Deere dealership where we saw new tractors and combines. New combines cost about $100,000 more in Brazil than in the U.S.

Next we stopped at a chemical and seed dealership that works directly with Syngenta.  While their costs are similar to ours for chemicals, seed corn and seed beans, tech fees are different.  Brazilians have two options to pay tech fees: (1) either pre-harvest at the cost of 1% of an 88-pound bag of seed beans or (2) post-harvest at 2% of the crop that is harvested.  The tech fee on seed corn gets figured into the price of the corn.

This facility held 3 1/2 million bu.

Farmers here also believe their soybeans will run 2-4 bushels/acre less than normal at yield of 49 to 52 bu/A.  It’s extremely dry in southern Brazil and Argentina.  Our guide said, “Whatever you have heard about how dry it is, double it.  It’s that bad!”

After lunch, we visited a newly formed farmer-owned, co-op that serves farmers in a 60-mile radius. Sixteen million dollars has been invested in the facilities; 80 farmers bought in for $40,000/year.  The day ended with supper in a pizza parlor where we had fun telling each other stories and doing what we do best, talking farming!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eucalyptus in wide rows so cattle can graze

Today we traveled about 70 miles on gravel to the Girassol do Prata farm, which is owned by a state senator. This operation is very diverse and includes beef, eucalyptus, seed soybeans and seed corn.

Our first stop on the tour was a beef feedlot and a nice, new loading facility.  They buy feeder cattle, put them on pasture for a year, and then feed them some grain. It takes 30 months for them to get to market weight, which is around 1,200 pounds.

That's a lot of seed!

After lunch, we visited their seed bean plant. It was HUGE! They were bagging Roundup Ready Soybeans, so Monsanto’s Dave Tierney was happy to pose for a photo beside the state senator.  Next, we walked to the cotton gin. The gin is 20 years old and needs a lot of maintenance.