“Farmers without access to technology harvest around 40 bags per hectare of soybeans, while those with access take in 70 bags per hectare.”
Leonardo Afonso Menegatti is an agronomist and master in precision agriculture from Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz. Menegatti is the CEO of InCeres, a digital technology and intelligence company for soil fertility management and plant nutrition.
AgriBrasilis – How can software help agricultural management?
Leonardo Menegatti – Software has the great ability to multiply human efforts. Today we live in a situation in agriculture where only a small part of farmers has access to information and technical assistance, which are essential for their competitiveness. This generates great inequality in the market.
Farmers without access to technology harvest around 40 bags per hectare of soybeans, while those with access take in 70 bags per hectare. We believe that with the use of software we can increase farmers’ access to the technology needed to leverage their results.
AgriBrasilis – What is the importance of data in agriculture and how are they acquired?
Leonardo Menegatti – We see data as a new frontier of knowledge in agriculture and we are exploring this frontier here at InCeres.
The great difficulty in agriculture is the data generation itself, because by nature farmers are not data organizers. We believe that, with the support of technical science, it is possible to generate reliable data from the operation of the farm and this opens the frontier for algorithms, artificial intelligence, data analysis and leveraging results for the farmer.
AgriBrasilis – How is the interpretation and processing of data collected on the properties carried out?
Leonardo Menegatti – We developed a platform that follows the farmer’s journey from planning, through the operation of his farm and up to instruments for controlling and managing the operation. The information is processed by algorithms that understand the spatial dependence of the data and are interpreted by artificial intelligence, finding the best solution for each situation of each field of farmers.
AgriBrasilis – Which technologies should work together from data collection to variable rate application, for example?
Leonardo Menegatti – The farmer’s journey begins with good strategic planning, mainly regarding the nutritional issue of plants, but also genetics and the most appropriate technology for each of his different plots.
Technology used in strategic planning has always good returns for farmers. After drawing up a good plan, the soil collection operation begins and it is important to guarantee the quality of this operation, because a good part of the farmer’s budget, approximately 55% of the cost of planting and harvesting depends on this information.
Recommendations and positioning of the amount of nutrients and fertilizers to be applied in each land plot carried out in line with the planning to ensure that the farmer’s goals are achieved. Finally, field applications need to be monitored so that their quality or the adherence between what is recommended and what is applied is high, thus ensuring the execution of the plan.
AgriBrasilis – How does soil sampling for precision agriculture differ from conventional ones?
Leonardo Menegatti – Each technology was created to solve a different problem for the farmer. It is a mistake to apply technology like precision agriculture or conventional agriculture indiscriminately. Either of the two technologies applied in a place that does not have the issues they solve results in losses for a farmer.
Therefore, we created the integrated field planning tool, which analyzes the situation of each field on the farm and recommends the appropriate technology to solve problems, be it precision agriculture, conventional agriculture or management zones. All these technologies have different costs for the farmer and their inappropriate use affects their results.
AgriBrasilis – What services does InCeres offer to the market in this area?
Leonardo Menegatti – We offer a service of technology planning and crop nutrition to the farmer. We also offer a platform to organize the operation of nutritional management of crops on the farm, monitoring the quality of information collection, soil analysis and ensuring that the results are properly received through integration with laboratories. We also extend applications for tele-agronomy and organization of farmer data. A third group of solutions that we give is related to the farmer’s operation management and control, showing their farms in ways never seen before.