09 November 2014

Soylandia from above

Today is my last day in Luis Eduardo. It's been an interesting, sometimes fun, sometimes boring, time here, but I think I've spent my time pretty well and I'll be going home with a lot of data and stories to think about. I won't address here the fact that stories are also data and data is also stories... From here I'll be going to Brasilia to relax for a few days and conduct an interview with the Foreign Agriculture Service (the branch of the USDA that collects agricultural statistics around the world) and then I will go to Rio Verde to introduce myself to potential research subjects, and then spend another week in Brasilia, before coming home in December. I've managed to save one of the best research experiences for last here in Luis Eduardo, a farm visit by plane.

It's not incredibly unusual for large scale farmers here to have personal planes, or to have their own sprayer planes, neither is it the norm. It's a way to save a few hours for farmers who live in town and have farms far outside of town. It's also a way of scouting crops from a new perspective. For purposes of keeping my two blogs distinct and also to better manage the information that I'm putting out, I'm not going to say much about the farm visit or my conversations with the farmer here. I hope to publish something soon on my other blog about some general thoughts, but I'm happy to post some photos here.

Below you can see where there is irrigation. There isn't much irrigation here really, but more and more as you move east.


Here you can get a feel for the scale of farming here as well as the scale of the farm machinery. Go ahead, count the planting units.


The reason there isn't much irrigation in the western part of the region is that this escarpment and the rapid change in altitude associated with it induce more rain nearer to the escarpment. So, the closer you are to the edge, the more rain you get. It seems in addition to more rain, it's also more consistent rain.


Here, another view of the escarpment.


It was a pretty wild experience, very cool to see. It also gave me another indication of how different farming here can be from our family farm in South Dakota.

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