Agricultural economists at the University of Illinois wanted to learn more about the productivity of grain production in this tropical area. In a study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Management, they examine input and output factors for several large-scale farms located in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
"Mato Grosso, where this research is set, is by the far the largest geographical state producing soybean in the world," says Peter Goldsmith, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at U of I and lead author of the study. "They far surpass Illinois or Iowa as a state, and the yields are the same as in the U.S. But nobody 20 years ago thought you could produce soybean in the tropics."
Tropics - Degrees - Latitude - Degrees - Latitude
Historically, the tropics -- defined as approximately 20 degrees north latitude and 20 degrees south latitude -- has been one of the poorest parts of the world, with the lowest agricultural productivity, and some of the highest incidence of malnutrition, Goldsmith says. "The thought is that the 'bread basket' was outside that region and these regions would forever be food-importing regions. And, up until the late-1990s -- not that long ago -- nobody thought of the potential for the tropical world."
But because of the phenomenon of these large-scale, high-producing farms in central Brazil, Goldsmith says it was important to look at these "new-age" farmers and how they behave in terms of producing soybean and maize. If, after all, tropical Brazil now produces 64 percent of the nation's 114 million metric ton soybean crop, according to a 2018 study, how do they do it?
Sort - Agriculture - Paper - Point - Production
"It's a very different sort of agriculture, which we describe in the paper, but the real point is that they have proven that you can engage broad-land production, just like we see in the Midwest...
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