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Background last update:6 Mar 2019

Precision ag to fight soil compaction in Brazil

The demand for soil sampling and compaction measurement is growing fast in the Central-West of Brazil.

The Central-West of Brazil struggles a lot with climate issues. There is an increasing need to take better care of the soil, since good soil fertility can help the plant overcome a period of climatic stress.

Demand for soil sampling and compaction measurement

Therefore, the demand for soil sampling and compaction measurement is growing fast and the use of modern equipment is well accepted. Thanks to the good results the demand for precision agriculture is growing rapidly, according to service companies.

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Several companies are cultivating tens of thousands hectares each and one controls an area of over 300 thousand hectares. This scale of operation requires investments in technology. - Photo: ANP
Several companies are cultivating tens of thousands hectares each and one controls an area of over 300 thousand hectares. This scale of operation requires investments in technology. - Photo: ANP

Agroexacta and Geosafra are 2 service providers in the region. Both make use of equipment from Falker. This company has specialized in the development and manufacturing of equipment and software for precision agriculture.

Soil compaction

In a recent interview Marciano Lourenço Santos, representative of Geosafra, highlights the tools of Falker with which he works, such as a the ‘SoloStar’ and the ‘ClorofiLOG’. The first is an automated system for the measurement of soil compaction in large areas.

Also read: Investments to unlock Brazilian agtech potential

Soil compaction can be a serious form of soil degradation. It can result in increased soil erosion and decreased crop production. Compaction of soil is the compression of soil particles into a smaller volume, which reduces the size of pore space available for air and water.

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The SoloStar indicates, at various depths, the pressure value corresponding to the soil compaction in that layer. The SoloStar can be connected to vehicles for automated sampling of large areas.
The SoloStar indicates, at various depths, the pressure value corresponding to the soil compaction in that layer. The SoloStar can be connected to vehicles for automated sampling of large areas.

Soil compaction profile

By measuring the resistance to penetration of the metallic cone in the soil, the SoloStar indicates, at various depths, the pressure value corresponding to the soil compaction in that layer. The set of these values forms the soil compaction profile.

Using a connection with GPS, storage of the coordinates where measurements were made is possible. This data can then be exported to specialized mapping software showing the compaction zones. The SoloStar can be connected to vehicles for automated sampling of large areas.

Special commission for precision agriculture

In Brazil, the application of precision agriculture is only recently taking off. However, the word of positive results is spreading fast and the demand for consultancies and equipment is rising rapidly. The ministry of agriculture promotes the use precision agriculture through a special commission called CBAP.

With an advisory and proactive nature, the CBAP aims to strengthen the set of actions among the branches of research, education and development of technologies directed to the sector.

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The penetroLOG - Electronic Soil Compaction Meter – to identify areas with compaction and avoid losses of productivity in agriculture.
The penetroLOG - Electronic Soil Compaction Meter – to identify areas with compaction and avoid losses of productivity in agriculture.

Brazilian Association of Precision Agriculture

In 2016 the private sector established the Brazilian Association of Precision Agriculture (AsBraAP) with the aim to further develop the scientific and technological development, innovation and diffusion of precision agriculture.

The results of the use of precision agriculture on production fields of thousands of hectares in the Central-West of Brazil have proven to be very positive. This has convinced many other producers to apply precision agriculture as well and take decisions based on concrete data and not only on impressions.

Large-scale farms

The Central-West of Brazil is composed of the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and the federal district or Distrito Federal (DF) in Portuguese. Brasília is the capital of the DF and also the national capital of Brazil.
The Central-West is the least populated area of Brazil and covers an area of 1,6 million square kilometres. It is the home of cattle farmers and large scale agricultural companies. Main agricultural products are soy, corn and cotton.
Several companies are cultivating tens of thousands hectares each and one controls an area of over 300 thousand hectares. This scale of operation requires investments in technology.

Also read: Taranis sees huge potential in Brazilian agriculture

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