One thing that I’ve noticed is that the plant spacing in Brazil does not seem to be very good. I’ve had a look at a couple of scientific papers on the subject, and there isn’t a definitive answer, but some trials do find quite significant yield losses from poor spacing within the row. I do wonder whether this is an area with some room for improvement, and it’s fairly low-hanging fruit. In one field I saw four plants on top of each other but I didn’t want to seem rude by photographing it on front of the farmer. No wonder I’m renowned for my diplomacy.
My car is quite often looks a bit like this, the difference being our mud is a boring browny/grey colour. I am obviously a lot less cool than this guy.
In the afternoon we visited another guy farming the usual suspects. What made it interesting was that he had a 50% pasture system, and his neighbour was entirely cropping. I like this sort of setup as you can jump over the fence and see if anything looks different. Here we have three slices of soil taken from very near each other. On the left is from the neighbour’s farm (no-till & cover crops, but no grazing). In the middle was the farm I visited (no-till, same crops, but 50% pasture). On the right was from permanent grass on the roadside. It’s a very unscientific test, but the samples did follow the expected pattern. The left hand sample was the lightest of all, which is a basic indicator of lower SOM levels. It also did not crumble into as many pieces, and had more horizontal fracturing, maybe indicating a bit of compaction? The sample on the right was noticeably darker, and much more crumbly. The middle sample was in between the others (literally and figuratively!). What does this tell us? Possibly nothing at all, but it’s interesting to see a difference in the soil that, maybe, was caused by a change in management.