At 7:30 a.m., the Nativ Farm outside of Primavera, Mato Grosso, it was buzzing with activity.
As we arrived for our tour, the farms’ spray plane roared off the grass runway. Three self-propelled sprayers zipped through yard. Fertilizer trucks groaned under the weight of ammonium sulfate as they rolled out of the compound.
Apparently, it is always busy on Brazil’s big soybean farms. They grow soybeans, corn, cotton and dry beans year round and they put on a lot of crop protection chemicals to control pests and disease, which are apparently relentless in the tropical climate.
The general manager of one of the farms said that they spray soybeans 10 times from planting through harvest. They apply insecticide eight times, four herbicides four times and fungicides three time.
On corn, they apply six insecticides, two herbicides and one fungicide.
On cotton, they make 22 insecticide, eight fungicide, six herbicide and four acaricide applications.
The Illinois Soybean Association directors that I am with got a big send off from the Nativ Farm. We had taken the bus out to a soybean field to watch the spray plane at work. The plane stayed well away from where we were standing. But by the time we said goodbye to our hosts, got loaded back up on the bus, and had started down the narrow dirt trail, the spray plane was coming back for another pass. At the last minute, pilot altered course and buzzed the bus. The farmers onboard cheered in surprise and approval.