Irrigation: The Fourth Agricultural Revolution in Brazil

“Electricity infrastructure is a significant challenge for the adoption of irrigation in rural areas, as many regions still lack this service…”

Rodrigo Christofoletti Bernardi is a product specialist at Lindsay Latin America, a company focused on solutions for irrigation, infrastructure and industrial technology. Bernardi is an environmental technician and agricultural engineer graduated from the Federal University of Lavras.

Rodrigo Bernardi, product specialist at Lindsay Latin America

AgriBrasilis – How important is irrigation for Brazil?

Rodrigo Bernardi – Irrigation can be considered the “fourth agricultural revolution” for Brazil due to its ability to increase yields, to make agriculture more resilient to climate change, expand the cultivated area, promote the efficient use of water resources and to better the positive socioeconomic status in rural regions.

AgriBrasilis – What is needed to achieve this revolution? Why do farmers irrigate so little in Brazil?

Rodrigo Bernardi – Electricity infrastructure is a significant challenge for the adoption of irrigation in rural areas, as many regions still lack this service. Furthermore, obtaining environmental licenses and permits for water use is an important step in ensuring the environmental sustainability of irrigation projects.

Regarding financing, strengthening credit through private banks can boost the development of the agricultural sector, allowing more farmers to have access to resources to invest in irrigation systems. In the specific case of Lindsay, DLL’s role as a strategic partner has been fundamental in facilitating negotiations and facilitating farmers’ access to irrigation equipment.

“Electricity infrastructure is a significant challenge for the adoption of irrigation in rural areas, as many regions still lack this service”

AgriBrasilis – What technologies are being developed for irrigation?

Rodrigo Bernardi – Lindsay is introducing the first high-performance “Corner” center-pivot in Brazil, a piece of equipment designed to expand the irrigated area of farms, reaching areas that standard center-pivots cannot reach. Additionally, the new FieldNET Next Gen platform makes it easier to use technology in irrigation, allowing farmers to monitor, manage and control their irrigation equipment from anywhere through an easy-to-use app with real-time information.

An important new occurrence is Lindsay’s global partnership with Pessl, the company that supplies Metos meteorological stations. These stations provide up-to-date weather information, helping farmers to manage their irrigation systems more efficiently to increase yields.

AgriBrasilis – How do corner center-pivots work and what are their benefits?

Rodrigo Bernardi – The Corner is an intelligent extension of the center-pivot, allowing for an increase of up to 90 meters in radius, and it is adjustable to the area where it is installed. In places where the presence of roads, power lines, forests and other obstacles would make it impossible to install a new center-pivot part, the Corner adapts to this uneven terrain as necessary. This results in an average increase of 25% in the irrigated productive area in projects carried out in Brazil.

In addition to the increase in irrigated area, the benefits of the Corner center-pivot include the optimization of agricultural operations, such as planting, cultural treatments and harvesting, which previously required many maneuvers on tractors (increasing the cost). This improvement in efficiency is accompanied by uniformity in water application, as well as management, through the FieldNET platform, the same used for the center-pivot.

AgriBrasilis – How has the expansion of the irrigated area in the country evolved? What projects exist to expand the irrigated area?

Rodrigo Bernardi – The Brazilian government has dedicated itself to the modernization and expansion of irrigation infrastructure, promoting the construction and improvement of power transmission systems, in addition to approving legislation for the use of dams. It is also reviewing water licensing and environmental licensing processes, which are often considered antiquated and outdated.

The adoption of advanced irrigation technologies, including remote monitoring, has played a crucial role in the more efficient use of water resources, contributing to expanding the irrigated area for various crops. In several regions, harnessing groundwater sources such as aquifers has become a key strategy, especially where the use of surface water would not be viable.

Lindsay, for example, has expanded its distributor network, allowing access to previously unserved areas, which is essential for the advancement of irrigation in different regions.

AgriBrasilis – Do high temperatures require changes in irrigation management? Why?

Rodrigo Bernardi – High temperatures require changes in irrigation management due to an increase in the rate of plant evapotranspiration, which leads to faster water stress and greater water loss through soil evaporation. It is necessary to provide adequate water for plants to face the heat, adjusting the schedule and amount of irrigation. Maximizing the efficiency of water use is essential, avoiding both waste and scarcity.

Another important factor in irrigation is climate control: during the application of water, a microclimate is created in the center-pivot area. High temperatures not only cause evapotranspiration, but can also cause physical damage to the plant.

AgriBrasilis – What are the yield gains and costs of irrigation for large crops?

Rodrigo Bernardi – Irrigation enables a controlled supply of water to plants, resulting in a significant increase in production per hectare, especially in regions with water scarcity. With irrigation, plants have continuous access to water, minimizing the risk of losses due to drought and ensuring more consistent and predictable harvests. In some regions, irrigation allows for cultivation to happen throughout the year, increasing land use and enabling multiple annual harvests (5 harvests in 2 years). The use of automation technologies, such as FieldNET, which helps farmers to enhance the use of irrigation, increases yields and reduces labor costs and input costs, such as electricity.



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