Brazilian Company Saves US$ 16.6 Million With Digital Agriculture

“Sensors embedded in agricultural machinery identify weeds and apply herbicides in real time…”

Ronei Sana is a digital agriculture manager at SLC Agrícola, graduated in agronomy from the Federal University of Santa Maria, with an M.Sc. degree in soils from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Ronei Sana, digital agriculture manager at SLC Agrícola

AgriBrasilis – How does SLC Agrícola save inputs through integrated technologies?

Ronei Sana – The rural connectivity project is based on 4G technologies and is present in all of our units, with the support of the main Brazilian mobile phone operators.

Cell phone technologies were essential for the digital transformation journey in agriculture, facilitating the extraction of telemetry data from agricultural machines, meteorological sensing, digital pest records and automation in agro-industrial processes.

AgriBrasilis – How much was saved in 2022/23?

Ronei Sana – The net gains from the use of new technologies, many of them supported by connectivity in the field, represent approximately US$ 16.4 million. This data is public and available in company reports.

AgriBrasilis – What is a “localized application”? Why is it possible to save on pesticides with this practice?

Ronei Sana – This involves the use of sensors and digital agriculture software that allow real-time management and, through early and accurate diagnosis of pests, enable the efficient use of pesticides in specific areas.

Sensors embedded in agricultural machinery identify weeds and apply herbicides in real time in specific locations. As a benefit, there was an average reduction of 78.4% in the volume of products applied when compared to previous periods.

“The lack of connectivity is still a problem in rural Brazil and is a barrier to entry for many farmers

AgriBrasilis – What data is essential for the monitored management that the company carries out on its farms?

Ronei Sana – The data can be divided into five main groups:

a) Machine telemetry, which enables the management of efficiency and operational performance;

b) Climate, which allows the prediction and recording of climate data;

c) Phytosanitary, which allows the management of pests, diseases and weeds;

d) Soils, soil analysis data;

e) Inputs: the plan and record of application of products, doses, and times of application.

AgriBrasilis – Is the lack of connectivity in rural areas still a problem for the company?

Ronei Sana – The lack of connectivity is still a problem in rural Brazil and is a barrier to entry for many farmers.

The technologies available for use on the farm have existed for some time. The sources that led to this transformation occurred through greater internet coverage in rural areas and the adoption of specific frequencies (such as 700Mhz), which allow for a greater area of wireless coverage in SLC Agrícola’s remote farm plots, for example.

AgriBrasilis – You said that digital agriculture is present in all stages of the company’s production cycle. What steps are these? How is digital agriculture used in each of them?

Ronei Sana – The main steps are:

1) Soils and management 2) Sowing 3) Crop care and 4) Harvesting.

Step 1: soil sampling and variable rate application of fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Step 2: using systematization projects and variable seed rates.

Step 3: the use of sensors and drones to identify weeds, map pests for localized application, quality control of agricultural operations of land equipment and agricultural aviation, use of satellite images, and monitoring plant development.

Step 4: mapping crop productivity and quality.

AgriBrasilis – What new technologies are being adopted to save even more?

Ronei Sana – The use of connectivity through the internet and 4G technologies has allowed the social and digital inclusion of many families living in the countryside. Digital access allows study even far from large cities and professional training centers. Interviews for recruitment and filling jobs are facilitated through videoconferences. The real-time view of the farm and countryside brought a universe of opportunities, many yet to be explored.



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