Farming, Photography

Mato Grosso Soybeans Harvest Pictures and Early Numbers

The fun has started.
Firts fields, planted around September 25, are being harvested this week and yields have been great, particularly from new varieties that are resistant to multiple breeds of cyst nematodes. Numbers are few and I should not mention them yet(excitement mode on hold), but if confirmed on other areas they might mean a truly yield revolution in the west of Mato Grosso, a region where cyst nematodes have been causing yield losses of 10-20%(or even more) and are a bigger problem than on the rest of the state.

2014/01/10 - Sapezal, Mato Grosso, Brazil.

31 combines waiting to act in a seed field from Bom Futuro Group. Sapezal, Mato Grosso, Brazil. 2014/01/10

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Farming, Photography

Helicoverpa Caterpillar Update

These pictures were taken yesterday morning and I think summarizes the scenario across all Mato Grosso.

Helicoverpa is here, everywhere, but easily under control. We have been more vigilant than usual, true, and spraying wherever is needed(some fields are on its 5th), but even the fields from some more reckless farmers are looking fine. This is quite unexpected and my guess is that it’s probably related to the high moisture conditions present in Mato Grosso, conditions that didn’t happen in Bahia last year, when this plague took control over there. Still, we should be aware that a dry spell(+15days) on january, in Mato Grosso, isn’t a rare event and would certainly make things harder, even though most of the potential loss is gone given soybeans late growth stage. Something odd, is that the Soybeans Looper(Pseudoplusia includens), a regular caterpillar, is the one causing problems this season.

Anyway, soybeans are looking great, much more than last year.


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Farming, Politics, Soybeans

Helicoverpa Caterpillar – An Ongoing Fight

Three months ago, just before planting, we were scared on how the now famous Helicoverpa caterpillar would behave in our crops…

This motherf****r goes right in the pods

…scared because we knew that the pesticides currently allowed in Brazil do not control helicoverpa effectively. According to research and previous farm experiences in Bahia, they are only efficient until helicoverpa reaches about 0,5 inch. After that, they look more like vitamins to the caterpillars. Half an inch is a risky threshold and there wasn’t a safeguard, a last minute weapon, so we urged to the approval of emamectin benzoatean effective inseticide available in more than 77 countries, including Australia, Argentina, USA, and Europe, but still under the stuck-in-the-mud brazilian government studies, who apparently judges itself much better than its international counterparts.

Meanwhile, and knowing that this approval could take months to come(or never come), Mato Grosso’s institutions and companies acted quickly to intruct farmers on how to monitore, recognize, and control this plague.  Constant monitoring has been the order since then and fortunately it has worked. We are now in the middle of 2013/14 soybeans season in Brazil. Early fields will start to be harvested next week and by now everything is under control in most places. Costs are higher but yields are not being affected.

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Links

Some good readings

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt 
fascinating NPR interactive documentary on how a single T-shirt is made
Why do so many people hate QE ?
Farewell QE, you have been a magnificent success
The most important charts of the year 
by Business Insider
Sun’s Current Solar Activity Cycle is Weakest in a Century
None of us alive have ever seen such a weak cycle. So we will learn something
– US land prices drop for first time in four years
Salubrious
– Why Do Forecasters Keep Forecasting?
You are advised to ignore them with extreme prejudice
Man Buys $103K Tesla Model S With Bitcoin
the most modern deal possible
– 
The Most Important Economic Stories of 2013—in 44 Graphs
by the Atlantic
 Warren Buffett’s Meeting with University of Maryland MBA Students and Warren Buffet On the Ovarian Lottery
Buffett talks
 Brazil Crushing Sugar to Ethanol With Caps on Fuel Prices
A story of how Brazil’s government subsidies for gasoline reduced domestic demand for biofuels and compounded a global surplus of sweetener
Soybeans: brazilian producers, eighth years of positive income
positive for the eighth consecutive year
The global food supply has a demand problem
Changing diets, not population growth, is the dominant driver of food demand
– 
Robert Shiller’s Favorite Financial Innovation: An IPO For The USA
The governments of the world should issue shares in their GDPs
– 
Genetically modified crops – Fields of beaten gold – The Economist
Greens say climate-change deniers are unscientific and dangerous. So are greens who oppose GM crops
– The Fed Throws Out a “Taper” Feeler….
testing the market’s response
– For global warming believers, 2013 was the year from Hell
Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the cause of global warming
– 
Investors should abandon long-term commodity bets – FT
now a consolidated view
– 
Robert Shiller on Brazil’s House Bubble
“Brazil right now feels like the US in 2005″

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Farming, Politics

Amazon Deforestation – A Farmer’s View – The Environmentalists Pretense

Last month, the Brazilian government released its annual figures for deforestation in the Amazon. Interestingly, this one number, despite being a good new, generated a great number of negative headlines around the world. The likes of “Huge increase in Amazon deforestation rate” in the Telegraph, or “Amazon destruction on the rise again” in the Greenpeace, and “Amazon deforestation up by one-third” on a countless eco blogs spreaded around the web. None of them seems to take into account the whole historical series, and on doing that, they induce the reader to misinterpret the data as a calamitous number. 

Let me make it clear.
The chart below shows the numbers since 1988, when mensurations began. You can see the ugly data from a decade ago and beyond, when no one was watching. Then, since 2004, after a series of government measures, rates have fallen drastically. The 2013 figure, 5.843km² is the second smallest deforested area ever in absolute terms. A 78% fall from the peak and just 2% points from the country’s commitment to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% up to 2020.

2013 deforestation

Amazon deforestation rates since 1988 in square kilometers

A broader look and there is no huge increase or spike in 2013. The actual number indicates the estabilization of a long-term objective and it is where the rate will fluctuate for years to come. Brazil has now the most rigorous environmental legislation in the world. It requires that farms in the Amazon biome must preserve 80% of their arable land. The 20% left, is where deforestation happened this year, and where it will occur on the next. And because private properties comprehend a minority 24% of the Amazon territory, it means only 4,8% are legally suitable for agricultural use. An outrageous number in a world where we desperate need more food.

Anyway, outrageous or not, we can discuss that later. At this moment, what we can say about it, is that is already a great achievement. One that has not yet ceased as international NGOs, the environmental lobby and poor journalism, forces to highlight. What is even more intriguing though, it is that such requirements on private lands do not exist in any other country in the world. Argentina, Europe, Canada, and the United States, have already cleared most of their arable land. Yet, brazilian farmers and ranchers have been sold by environmentalists to the world public as villains of the environment.

Around here…We know we are doing our part. Better than your country, better than anyone else.

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Humor, Videos, Weekends

Commercial video that shows girls dancing on top of a Self-Propelled Sprayer makes success in Brazil

Stara, a brazilian agricultural implements and machinery factory produced this very interesting videoclip from its last self-propelled sprayer, called “Imperador”.

…a funny fact is that Stara’s factory is located in a city with one of the weirdest names in Brazil, it is called “Não-Me-Toque”, that in english literally means “Don’t-Touch-Me”.

13:48 update
Some twitter pearls of wisdom:
“beats a free hat”
” I’m opening Iowa distributor store deal”
“Think someone should tell John Deere that they need to up their game on their sprayer advertising.”
“who cares what fields looks like if they are riding along…. Hell who cares if we r even spraying”
“Here in ‘Merica we’d have big pie eatin wimin fighting over a chikin wing under the training seat.”
“well I’m screwed, I don’t need an 90 foot boom for 10 acres of pumpkins”

2013/12/15 update
my bad…I forgot this was a machinery ad.
…should have placed a link to their website somewhere.
Here it goes:
http://www.stara.com.br/web/index.php?menu=home&language=en (english version)

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