Weather monitor leads to Brazil agchem use cuts
The monitoring of weather using a new model over four months to last February had led to a 42% reduction in the use of pesticides on tomatoes in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, the official news agency, Agencia Brasil, reports. The model was provided by the state agricultural research office, the Pesagro. Its equipment collects data on rainfall levels, relative air humidity, and the average period in which vegetation remains wet; it then processes and sends them to tomato growers every 15 minutes via the Internet. The system remains in its early stages and has ten “stations” each with the capacity to monitor a radius of 5 km. Pesagro director Silvio Galvão says that the idea of equipment in the field is unique. The current focus is on tomatoes, but that should be extended in 2014 to beans, cauliflowers, coffee and cotton. The cost is “considered high” at an annual R$24,000 (US$12,000) for data analysis and the equipment, and some “R$2,000 [US$1,000] for maintenance”.