Skip to main content

The economics of post-harvest loss: a case study of the new large soybean - maize producers in tropical Brazil

Abstract

Reducing post-harvest loss (PHL) allows farmers to keep more of their crop and increases grain supplies, which are critical in a world where resources are scarce and rural developing economies struggle. While the policy goal is well understood, the micro-economics of loss are not. Little research focuses on the role managers play in reducing loss. Using economic theory and field research, we built and tested a conceptual model of farmers’ loss problem. We modelled a tradeoff where the opportunity costs of loss mitigation were sufficiently high to motivate managers to increase rather than reduce PHL. The setting was the fast growing tropical maize and soybean region of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Results showed that harvest losses of 6 % and short-haul losses of 2 % in soybean, as an opportunity cost, might be insufficient to cause farmers to be as aggressive in reducing loss as policy makers would expect. This is because delay in harvesting soybean may delay the planting of maize as a second crop (safrinha) on the same land, causing risk of loss of this valuable crop owing to drought and inhibition of pollination. Hastening of the harvest of soybean (and consequent loss) can be achieved by desiccation and increased harvesting speeds. The results provide insights, which may be applicable elsewhere, into the complexities of tropical grain production where high moisture environments, large spatial contexts and poor infrastructure promote tactics, such as those described, in order maximize the benefits of double cropping.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Aprosoya, Personal Communication. 2013.

  • Arvor, D., Jonathan, M., Meirelles, M. S. P., Dubreuil, V., & Durieux, L. (2011). Classification of 2 MODIS EVI time series for crop mapping in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 32(22), 7847–7871.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowling, A. (2002). Research Methods in Health. In Investigating health and health services (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Broch, D.L., & Ranno, S.K. (2011). Fertilidade do Solo, Adubação e Nutrição da Cultura da Soja. Tecnologia de Produção: Soja e Milho 2011/2012. 39 p.

  • Campos, M. A. O., Silva, R. P., Filho, A. C., Mesquita, H. C. B., & Zabani, S. (2005). Perdas na colheita mecanizada de soja no estado de minas gerais. Engenharia Agricola Jaboticabal, 25(1), 207–213.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cepea. (2012). Custo de Produçäo de gráos em Guarapuava, PR. Retrieved from: http://www.sistemafaep.org.br/arquivos/safra%202011.2012/Gr%C3%A3os%20Guarapuava%20PR%202011.2012.pdf.

  • CONAB. (2013). Acompanhamento da Safra Brasileira. Retrieved from: http://www.conab.gov.br/OlalaCMS/uploads/arquivos/13_04_09_10_27_26_boletim_graos__abril_2013.pdf.

  • EMBRAPA. (1999). Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Soja, Londrina/PR. Recomendações Técnicas para a Cultura da Soja no Paraná 1998/1999, EMBRAPA—CNPSo. Documentos, 1019, Londrinha, 201 p.

  • Fundação, M.T. (2013). Milho safrinha e a maratona 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.fundacaoms.org.br/artigo/milho-safrinha-e-a-maratona-2013.

  • George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for windows step by step: a simple guide and reference. 11.0 update (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldsmith, P.D. (2008). Soybean Production and Processing in Brazil. Chapter 21, Soybeans: Chemistry, Production, Processing and Utilization, AOCS Press, Champaign, Illinois. 773–798. (Published also in Portuguese, 2009. Producao e processamento da soja no Brasil. Boletim de Pesquisa de Soja- Fundacao Mato Grosso, January: pp.77–91.

  • Goldsmith, P.D. (2011). Corn and Soybean Production in Brazil: The Safrinha Miracle. The Soy and Grain Trade Summit, St Louis.

  • Goldsmith, P.D., & Montesdeoca, K. (2015). The efficiency of tropical grain production. Agricultural Economics, under review, July, 27 pages.

  • Hair, J. E., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hodges, R. J., Buzby, J. C., & Bennett, B. (2011). Postharvest losses and waste in developed and less developed countries: opportunities to improve resource use. Journal of Agricultural Science, 149(S1), 37–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IMEA. (2012). Boletim Semanal de Soja. Retrieved from: http://www.imea.com.br/publicacoes.php?categoria=4&subcategoria=2.

  • IMEA. (2013). http://www.imea.com.br/publicacoes.php?categoria=4&subcategoria=3, accessed September, 2013.

  • Kulkarni, S. (2008). Importance of Minimizing Field Losses During Soybean Harvest. Agriculture and Natural Resources. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Retrieved from: http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-1048.pdf.

  • Lelis, M.B., Moura, A.D., Goldsmith, P.D., & Lirio, V.S. (2012). Características dos carregamentos de soja em termos dos principais defeitos de classificação: o caso de produtores selecionados da região de Sinop-MT. Post-Harvest Loss Workshop. Sinop, Brazil.

  • Martins, A. G., Goldsmith, P. D., & Moura, A. D. (2014). Managerial factors affecting post-harvest loss: the case of mato grosso, Brazil. International Journal of Agricultural Management, 3(4), 200–209.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mesquita, C. M., Costa, N. P., Pereira, J. E., Maurina, A. C., & Andrade, J. G. M. (2001). Caracterização da colheita mecanizada de soja no Paraná. Engenharia Agrícola, Jaboticabal, 21(2), 198–205.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mwebaze, P., & Mugisha, J. (2011). Adoption, utilization and economic impacts of improved post-harvest technologies in maize production in Kapchorwa District, Uganda. International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation, 2(3), 301–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Norton, R. D., & Scheifer, G. W. (1980). Agricultural sector programming models: a review. European Review of Agricultural Economics, 7, 299–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinheiro Neto, R. (1999). Efeito da umidade dos grãos e das regulagens e dos mecanismos de trilha nas perdas quantitativas e qualitativas na colheita de soja. (Doctoral Dissertation). Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu.

  • Schultz, T. W. (1964). Transforming traditional agriculture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shay. C. W., Ellis, L., & Hires, W. (1993). Measuring and Reducing Soybean Harvesting Losses. University of Missouri.

  • Silva Neto, W.A. (2011). Crescimento da pecuaria de corte no Brasil: fatores economicos e politicas setoriais. (Doctoral Dissertation). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba.

  • Stata. (2013). www.stata.com.

  • Staton, M., & Harrigan, T. (2011). Reducing Soybean Harvest Losses. Soybean Management and Research Technology. University of Michigan Extension. Retrieved from: http://www.michigansoybean.org/MSPCSite/GrowerResources/FactSheets/ReducingSoybeanHarvestLosses.pdf.

  • Tsunechiro, A., Oliveira, M. D. M., Furlaneto, F. P. B., & Duarte, A. P. (2006). Análise técnica e econômica de sistemas de produção de milho safrinha, região do Médio Paranapanema, Estado de São Paulo. Informações Econômicas, 36(9), 62–70.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vagts, T. (2003). Reducing Harvest Losses in Lodged Maize Fields. Iowa State University Extension. Retrieved from: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/nwcrops/reducing-harvest-losses.htm.

  • Vaccaro, C. M. (1981). A Review of Selected Research on Post-harvest Losses of Grains and the Utilization of Farm Level Storage in Developing Countries. (Master’s Thesis). Department of Agricultural Economics. Michigan State University.

  • Varian, H.R. (1990). Intermediate Microeconomics. W.W. Norton & Company. New York and London.

  • Wallace, M. T., & Moss, J. E. (2002). Farmer decision-making with conflicting goals a recursive strategic programming analysis. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 53(1), 82–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

This research was funded through a research grant from the ADM Institute for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss and support in-kind from Aprosoya, the Soybean and Maize Association of Mato Grosso Brazil.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter D. Goldsmith.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Goldsmith, P.D., Martins, A.G. & de Moura, A.D. The economics of post-harvest loss: a case study of the new large soybean - maize producers in tropical Brazil. Food Sec. 7, 875–888 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-015-0483-4

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-015-0483-4

Keywords

  • Post-harvest loss
  • Economics
  • Brazil
  • Mato Grosso
  • Soybean
  • Maize
  • Safrinha