Monday, March 13, 2017

Taking to the Fields in Brazil

Today was a spectacular day of learning. We were able to get out into fields and pastures to experience Brazilian agriculture. We started the day out at Embrapa, which is a national agriculture research institution in Brazil. In the past this location has only focused on rice and edible beans, but just recently they are becoming more diversified as they are serving as a regional hub. They are incorporating a wider variety of crops and even livestock into their research. We began with a brief welcome and introduction to the facility before making our way to the labs, greenhouses, fields, and then pastures. We were able to see many crops including rice, beans, soybeans, sorghum, corn, and cotton. We had the great opportunity to learn about integrated crop-livestock systems and the Nellore cattle that they are working with. Here are some interesting facts from our Embrapa visit:
  • Environmental research is just as important as production research.
  • They have a gene bank with over 44,000 species.
  • They are the first public institution to breed transgenic beans.
  • The integrated crop-livestock system is improving soil and the environment.

We enjoyed lunch at the agriculture campus at the Universidade Federal de Goias (UFG) where we will visit tomorrow and visited with many students before traveling to PUDICA an organic farm. One of the owners of PUDICA is, also, a professor at UFG. We spent several hours exploring his farm. Many enjoyed checking out the numerous parrots as he works with a group to reincorporate parrots back to their natural habitats after injuries. We were able to see many different crops in production. One of his fields had banana's, papayas, peppers, and coffee all growing together. He did have crops we are more familiar with such as corn and soybeans, but he looks to produce specialized varieties for niche markets. They take the philosophy of health first followed by the environment, social aspects, and economics in that order.


After a long day in the sun and heat we enjoyed a steak dinner in an open air restaurant. We look forward to another great day on Tuesday.

6 comments:

McKenna said...

I know Brazil is still a developing country due to its low GDP and low living standards. They rely mainly on their farming to feed their population, so what kind of technology do they use for farming so that they can produce enough food to feed everyone? Is their steak dinner the same as a traditional American steak dinner? I had friends recently travel to Brazil for a vacation and they loved it. By the pictures they posted, the beaches and the environment looked amazing. Is that how the entire country looks? Are the cities similar to American cities? I have always wanted to travel to Brazil because of the culture and climate. It’s just far enough away where it would be different than the U.S. but be similar at the same time. What did you do to prepare for your trip like vaccinations, health and security? -K.P. Somonauk

McKenna said...

I know Brazil is still a developing country due to its low GDP and low living standards. They rely mainly on their farming to feed their population, so what kind of technology do they use for farming so that they can produce enough food to feed everyone? Is their steak dinner the same as a traditional American steak dinner? I had friends recently travel to Brazil for a vacation and they loved it. By the pictures they posted, the beaches and the environment looked amazing. Is that how the entire country looks? Are the cities similar to American cities? I have always wanted to travel to Brazil because of the culture and climate. It’s just far enough away where it would be different than the U.S. but be similar at the same time. What did you do to prepare for your trip like vaccinations, health and security? -K.P. Somonauk

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

In one of your previous blogs you discussed agroforestry, do many farms in Brazil adopt this practice as well? From the sounds of this blog, it seems that they plant a variety of crops in one field, and I was just wondering if that is the best option for them and how much it benefits them economically. Being a developing country, they are not 100% sound in all of their agriculture practices. Is this farming method something that you think they will continue to use in order to bring in some profit?

J.P. Somonauk

Brad Kinsinger said...

McKenna...Great questions! As far as technology in Ag it is all over the board. In one field they may be using precision agriculture technology and the farm next to them may be utilizing an ox and plow yet. Most of the times the farmers will tell us they are about 5 years behind the US in technology.

Steaks and meat in Brazil is very different. Here we have a lot of corn fed beef. In Brazil it is grass fed. Because of this we can feed a beef animal out in 18 months in the US where it will be 3 years in Brazil. In Brazil these use strictly sea salt to season meat. Part of the reason is the salt helps hold the moisture in the meat when slow cooked. Since it is grass fed it does not have a lot of marbling. Instead the fat is a cap on the top of the meat.

Brazil is very tropical, but no oceans and beaches where we are at. They joke with us that we visit the Iowa of Brazil. However I argue we don't have palm trees near our corn fields. There are many rural towns, but also large cities. We stay in cities of 5 million and 3 million.

As far as vaccinations when traveling to Brazil it differs in different regions of the country. For example malaria is an issue in some parts of the country, but not as much in the areas we travel to. Always check the CDC website for details.

Brad Kinsinger said...

J.P...Agroforestry is something they are doing a lot of research with. I don't believe that it is wide spread practice yet, but they are pushing for it more. They plant a lot of different crops together to diversify their operations and for soil health.

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