Carla Mayara Borges

Carla Mayara Borges

Published on by Tiphaine De Fleurian - updated on

“Adopting a new perspective on unproductive land and converting it using cutting edge technology”  

 

Her credo

Achieve growth by converting land unsuitable for crop production and by structuring her organisation professionally.

 

The farm

  • Family-owned farm comprising 6,000 ha in Costa Rica and 8,000 in Brazil.
  • Today the farm grows crops on 11,000 hectares, producing cotton, soybean, fava beans, sorghum and maize using the following rotation patterns:
    • September – October: soybeans and fava beans are sowed, then harvested between the end of January and March.
    • During the soybean harvest, maize and sorghum is sowed (a sowing machine 50m behind the harvesters) which will then be harvested between June and August during the dry season. Cotton is gradually being abandoned due to high costs and low market prices.

 

Innovations

  • GPS steering on all machines using John Deere programmes.
  • Trimble equipment to measure fields and collect soil samples.
  • Mapping and monitoring of crops using infrared camera mounted on drones.
  • Extension of the farm in 2013 through the acquisition of grassland in poor and humid condition, unsuitable for crop production. This were converted without deforesting by means of drainage and targeted fertilisation.

A very large production area requires flawless organisation and excellent management. This is what led to the implementation of the following:

  • An arbitrage system for use on the financial markets to deliver optimal selling prices: connecting the dollar-indexed costs to prices and calculating margins in advance so as to sell produce on the market at the most advantageous time.
  • The family company was organised professionally, with a holding company and a specific job definition for each family member.
  • The introduction of a strategic plan, which is the basis for all action with staff and for all investments.
  • Precise and formalised financial reporting which enables permanent cost monitoring, margin protection and acts as a decision making aid.
  • Use of the Cloud to improve information sharing between distant farms.

 

Results

  • The use of cutting-edge technology has enabled a substantial increase in production:
    • Average annual yields amount to 3.6t/ha in soybean and 6.6t/ha in maize and sorghum at prices of €312/t for soybean, €110/t for maize and €86/t for sorghum.
    • All harvests are stored in three hangars spread out over the production areas.
    • This represents: 36,000 tonnes of soybeans, 6,500 tonnes of sorghum and 42,000 tonnes of maize.
    • Optimal use of original farm resources (equipment, qualified personnel and unused credit lines) to transform a farm in poor condition into a high-performance crop farm.
    • Doubling of farm revenue and better risk spreading.

 

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