Adoption and use of precision agriculture technologies in the sugarcane industry of São Paulo state, Brazil


Precision agriculture (PA) technologies are being applied to crops in Brazil, which are important to ensure Brazil’s position in agricultural production. However, there are no studies available at present to indicate the extent to which PA technologies are being used in the country. Therefore, the main objective of this research was to investigate how the sugar-ethanol industry in São Paulo state, which produces 60% of the domestic sugarcane, is adopting and using these techniques. For this purpose, primary data were used, which were obtained from a questionnaire sent to all companies operating in the sugar-ethanol industry in the region. The aim was to determine to what extent these companies are adopting and using PA technologies, and also to promote a more in-depth discussion of the topic within the sugar-ethanol industry. Information was obtained on the features of the companies, on sources of information that they use for adopting these technologies, on their impacts on these companies and on obstacles hindering their adoption. The main conclusions of this research suggest that companies that adopt and use PA practices reap benefits, such as managerial improvements, higher yields, lower costs, minimization of environmental impacts and improvements in sugarcane quality.

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    LMC International is a privately owned company, with offices in Oxford, New York and Kuala Lumpur. In Latin America LMC international works closely with a partner organisation, Canaplan, in Sao Paolo. LMC International is the leading independent economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector around the world.


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The authors would like to thank Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for the grant that made this survey possible. CAPES is a foundation linked to the Ministry of Education whose mission is to support Brazilian graduate-level education activities.

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Correspondence to Márcia Azanha Ferraz Dias de Moraes.

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Silva, C.B., de Moraes, M.A.F.D. & Molin, J.P. Adoption and use of precision agriculture technologies in the sugarcane industry of São Paulo state, Brazil. Precision Agric 12, 67–81 (2011).

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  • Ethanol
  • Sugar
  • Sugarcane
  • Survey
  • Brazil