The current demands of society require constant increased agriculture production per area unit, together with the minimization of the harmful environmental effects. In this context, the precision agriculture has been shown to be a system capable of meeting these assumptions. However, this technology was still inaccessible to small landowners.

By mobilizing the local actors by EMATER in Tupãssi, it was possible to make these technologies accessible, adapting them to the reality of family agriculture, prioritizing areas of up to 25 hectares.

 

A - General information

 

START: November 2013 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Parana Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension - EMATER

CO-EXECUTOR ENTITY: Municipality of Tupãssi – Paraná

PARTNERS: Department of Agriculture and Food Supply of State of Paraná – SEAB, Association of Farmers of Tupãssi – AGRITU

PRESENTED BY: Enio Antônio Bragagnolo

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Above $25.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Precision agriculture; Family agriculture; Technology; Productivity; Cost reduction.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Municipal

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT: Municipality of Tupãssi – Paraná

 

B - Description of the practice

 

1 - BACKGROUND

The municipality of Tupãssi is characterized by an intensive agricultural activity. The modern technological systems for intensive production of grains, such as precision agriculture, have not been developed for small areas of cultivation. The access difficulty of family farming to these systems was mainly on the grounds that even with greater field of technology, it was not feasible for companies to develop their work in these units due to high amount charged per area unit. This obstacle had direct impact on final production cost and precluded in the medium term the grain production in small properties.

However, some rural bottlenecks have been overcome over the years through collective action. Among the advances obtained, we can mention soil conservation system and community networks of water supply. Even with the adequacy of the properties to the conservation system advocated by integrated management of soil and water, aspects concerning the imbalance in soil fertility, especially due to the use of inputs without technical criteria became part of the agenda.

In the quest for adequacy of the properties of family agriculture to a sustainable model of production with adoption of rational use of correctives and fertilizers, the local actors, in partnership with the municipality of Tupãssi, decided to innovate through the pursuit of universalization of precision agriculture.

 

 2 - MAIN GOAL

Make available to family agriculture producers, through a fertility management program from the precision agriculture, new tools of rationalization in the use of inputs to improve the environmental and economic results of agricultural production.

Specific goals:

•Promote the universalization of access to the tools of precision agriculture;

•Provide to the producer a compendium of georeferenced information on the level of soil fertility of his land;

•Allow possibilities to make the indicated corrections using publicly available policies with PRONAF- State investment and calcareous program;

•Involve local technical assistance in the use of information in order to rationalize the use of inputs, enabling cost reduction in grain production in family agriculture.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

For the operationalization of the precision agriculture in small properties, two quads for soil analyses, specific software for the interpretation of soil analyses and the preparation of maps of fertility and application and even a truck equipped with GPS and variable rate distributor were acquired by the municipality of Tupãssi.

For the dissemination, training, motivation and involvement of beneficiaries, participatory meetings were conducted, taking advantage of the activities already planned by the rural extension team of EMATER.

For program management, coordination and viability of the works, the Association of farmers of Tupãssi-AGRITU was formed, giving legal backing to the administration of public funds transferred to implement the actions provided for. Producers when joining the program, assume part of the cost of execution of the services.

To carry out the work, first the property must be in compliance with terms of soil conservation. From this certification, the producer shall be officially registered in the project. After the georeferenced collection works of soil analysis, correction maps are prepared and delivered to producers so that they initiate the process of soil correction.

The operations seek correction of soil acidity, phosphorus and potassium using application with truck equipped with the variable rate system. The truck is regulated before each application to suit the characteristics of the correction used.

Producers who cannot pay for the correction cost, use of funding from the national program for family agriculture Support-PRONAF, as well as from the State program that offers up to 10 tons of corrective.

 

4 - OBTAINED RESULTS

The project, still in its first year of operation, brought noticeable results of producers income improvement, especially the rationalization in the use of fertilizers and correctives, as well as security in decision-making at the time of acquisition of these inputs.

In the first year of operation the program had the participation of 307 family farmers, making the collection of 2190 composite soil samples, preparation of maps for soil fertility in variable rate and discussion of these data with the farmer, showing the ways to rationally make the correction.

In this same period, it was also possible to correct in variable rate in 132 properties, using 2234 tons of correctives, correcting 1624ha and performing 263 loads. The average correction (calcareous) applied, in accordance with the interpretation of soil analyses, has been of 1.37 ton/ha, while the application of the municipality was 2.07 ton/ha. Following this reasoning, it is estimated that in the first year of operation in the municipality of Tupãssi, 1136,8 tons of calcareous stopped being apply without prejudice to the productivity of grains.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

Equipment needed: ATV equipped with automatic soil sampler for collection of soil samples and GPS; trailer for ATV transportation; truck equipped with GPS and corrective distributor with variable rate; office supplies, computers and software enabled for interpretation of analyses of soil and fertility maps; banners and folders for disclosure;

Labor: 01 Agricultural engineer (technical and execution responsibility and technical and operational strategies strategies), 01 Agricultural technician (responsible for field execution), 01 Truck driver (qualified applicator), 02 interns (ATV operation and operation of software);

Inputs: volume of calcareous and fertilizer varying according to the maps of fertilization and technical guidance.

 

6 - TRANSFER

Although there were no examples of replication of the program in other locales, much due to the recent results, the system of precision agriculture in fertility management in small property is good to be reproduced in other realities according to each local condition. Still, the technical discussions held with producers and local technical assistance has provided reference instrument of strategies with a view to replication of the model to other cities.

However, rural extension technicians in the region of Toledo are already being trained in the interpretation of soil analyses with the use of the software used in precision agriculture developed in Tupãssi.

  

7 - LEARNED LESSONS

The practice of precision agriculture is allowing the detailed knowledge of soil fertility of the assisted producers from the maps, the evaluation of the system of terracing and possible sources of erosion. This tool, through the management of the items concerning the fertility of the soil, may be an important facilitator for inserting practices such as crop rotation and the integrated management of pests and diseases, among other good agricultural practices.

As a positive factor identified by the end of the first year of effective implementation of the program, it was observed that the local technical assistance linked to the commercial sector started to discuss the topic of soil fertility and its implications in the process towards a more sustainable agricultural production, especially from an economic point of view. The adoption of uniform criteria of sample analysis and interpretation pointed out that the problems in the city were not just calcium and magnesium deficiency. It was identified that the main limiting was sulfur, showing a greater need for application of calcitic calcareous instead of dolomite calcareous, which was widely used in the region.

Another factor of extreme relevance is that from the adoption of precision agriculture, the producer starts to observe the soil management as part of the production system, no longer as a one-off and isolated action as was seen in the recent past.

One of the obstacles to implementation is the lack of technical knowledge to the definition of the criteria for nutritional balance of the soil, which requires specialized support.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

The practice of precision agriculture is widespread especially among large and medium-sized producers, but out of the reach of small family agriculture producers.

 

A visit to the practice is available at any time, with previous appointment, in groups of up to 40 visitors.

 

 

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