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Brazilian agriculture: Six days on the road

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This week we are looking at Brazil’s farms and methods of transportation through the reporting of DTN’s Chris Clayton.

Trucks are the centerpiece of Brazil’s transportation of agricultural products. It sounds simple, but these vehicles have to drive three days south with their commodities on a two-lane road, then load a back haul of fertilizer or other inputs and drive three days home. They get one day off and then do it again.

We could imagine that would get old, and it is unsafe.

The Brazilian government is stepping in to limit the hours of service and truckers have taken it into their own hands by striking.

Brazilian farmers use straight trucks to haul to and from their farms. They fill with soybeans, corn, cotton or other commodities and point them south down BR 163 to the ports on the Atlantic. Chris Clayton, Ag policy reporter for DTN and Progressive Farmer Magazine, says it is likely to stay that way for the next 10 years.

“It’s costly for them, certainly, but they have their trucking system down. Even though the roads are really bad, they can be almost terrifying, heavy rain. Some of these roads that we were on, are basically, compacted clay. But along the highways themselves, they have that system down with their trucking situation,” Clayton said. “It’s going to be a long-term challenge for them to establish rail and I have looked at a few articles out of Brazil recently. I asked a lot of questions on that as well. They’re just now beginning to look, to try to bid out a rail project or two across the country. That might take 10 years to develop, coming in through Moto Gross up to one or two of the main ports along the Amazon, a tributary to the Amazon. So just from that, they’re going to be relying on their trucking infrastructure for at least the next decade to get them to where they need to be.”

Tomorrow, a final look at farming in Brazil.

If you want to see it first hand, it’s a great trip into a landscape you will not believe until you see it.

AUDIO: World of Agriculture