Using Center Pivots, Brazilian Grower Harvests Three Times a Year
Mar 8, 2021
Thanks to the team at Lindsay Brazil for sharing this feature on Cabeceira 5 and Ana Clara Gatto!
Located in Ipiranga do Norte in the mid-north of region Mato Grosso, Brazil, the Cabeceira 5 farm is a model property for its management and efficiency in land use. With the help of technology, farm operators can harvest a variety of crops – more than six different varieties – on the 1,650-hectare (4,077-acre) operation three times a year.
Currently the largest national grain producer, the Mato Grosso area has a 28.9 percent share - responsible for more than 66.9 million tons during the last harvest. However, the succession of corn and soybeans year after year has resulted in major problems, including nematodes, pests and diseases - but not in Cabeceira 5.
“With the cultivation of chia, sesame, rice and beans, we have an efficient and profitable rotation with soy and corn. As they are cultures different from other families, pests do not attack,” said Ana Clara Gatto, a producer and agronomist who is responsible for administration, and buying and selling on the farm.
The cultivation of chia and sesame on the operation takes place in partnership with other companies in the region. These companies supply the seeds and make the production purchase contract.
“This agreement is very interesting for us, as we are guaranteed to see these crops in which the sale is more restricted,” Gatto said.
According to Gatto, who is the daughter and granddaughter of the first producers in the state, this diverse cultivation is only possible with the implementation of technology - including center pivot irrigation. Currently, two center pivots operate on the property, irrigating a total of 320 hectares (790 acres).
“The pivots allow us to optimize the use of the soil, which is why we are able to plant and harvest up to three crops a year,” she said.
Another advantage, Gatto said, is being able to plan and anticipate the planting of soybeans. While most Mato Grosso producers are delayed in harvesting their oilseeds and their productivity is compromised due to the excess rain at this of the year, Cabeceira 5 is already finalizing its harvest.
“With the pivot, we have a much more relaxed service,” she said. “Everything is not concentrated in one season, thus making the time management of the whole team better.”
Gatto currently maintains an almost daily presence on the farm, but her routine will soon change. That’s because she is pregnant, and will need to slow down to prepare for the birth of two daughters. With the help of technology, she will be able to keep up with the day-to-day activities on the operation.
One of the tools she will use is FieldNET - a remote management solution for the farm’s two pivots. From a computer, smartphone or tablet, this tool makes it possible to create variable rate irrigation (VRI) irrigation plans angle-by-angle, which defines stops and movements, creates usage reports, monitors performance and gains throughout its operation. It also sends updates and alerts in real time.
“We are starting to use this tool. We still have a lot to learn and adjust, but I’m sure it will make irrigation management even easier, especially when we are off the property,” she said. “This remote monitoring facilitates the irrigation check and the progress of the service. The entire team is integrated into the platform – the general manager, managers, and technical assistant.”
Gatto is an active defender of women’s rights and has raised the flag mainly in the countryside, on her farm, but also at meetings, events and fairs.
“The prejudice against women, especially in the countryside, has improved a lot, but we still feel that structural distrust, as if the women’s world had less strength and credibility,” she said. “For this reason, we have to prove our knowledge constantly, and this needs to change. We need to be treated equally with men, whether in credibility or in the quality of work performed.”
Opportunities like International Women’s Day, Gatto said, are always a chance to debate the important topic.
“Everyone has to be treated equally,” she said. “Regardless of their gender, people must be chosen for their ability. We have seen more women in leadership positions. This is a good thing and should happen more and more.”