Rain coming down in buckets, sweeping valuable topsoil away and causing erosion, was the main motive for crop farmers in Brazil to rethink their soil cultivation methods and obsolesce the ages-old share plough (or even more modern mouldboard plough) The development of skills and the necessary equipment for no-till was the incentive for putting this huge country on the road to conservation tilling.

Jumil is one of the companies which made this about turn possible. In South Africa Valtrac is the distributor of the Jumil range of no-till planters (drills) and spreaders. A group of SA farmers undertook a journey to Brazil in October, accompanied by representatives of Valtrac and Jumil, and spent some time on a number of farms in Brazil. They returned with burning enthusiasm and fresh knowledge.

“Brazil is an unbelievably big country. One only realises exactly how big when you have to travel for a full day by bus between farms for a ‘quick’ inspection trip to see the results when no-till is practiced on a large scale,” says David McCall of Viljoenskroon, one of the tour members.

He says you begin to understand why 18 metre wide planters is necessary on certain farms. “In one instance 20 000 hectares are planted twice a year! They also plant with row widths of 45 cm or 50 cm compared with the South African standard of 76 cm. On the other hand, they are reasonably sure of 1 500 mm rainfall per year. Their problem is rather too much rain than too little!”

David also found it interesting that they use far less fertiliser and plant/pest control chemicals. “They plant a ground cover between the mealies to conserve moisture and serve as green manuring.”

“A week after harvesting the soybeans, mealies are planted. This means that the natural Nitrogen in the soil is utilised immediately. Because of the huge distances to transport liquid fertiliser, farmers try to avoid it. That is why they developed and follow farming practices to deal with the situation. Their average yield is from 6 to 7 tons per hectare – equal to our better harvests,” says David.

A visit to the giant Jumil factory in Batatais, São Paulo, was the highlight of the tour. Two previous Jumil factories were combined recently into one plant of 15 000 square metres. The tour party was taken through the whole factory to see how the manufacturing process works. It begins with an idea to meet farmers’ challenges head-on, and then moves smoothly to the final assembly of implements and eventual dispatch to local and international clients.

Designs for equipment are developed with the aid of 3D technology. Jumil also manufactures the basic components required for the equipment with steel coming from their own steel processing plant, up to advanced precision components. David says the new precision technology is a real wonder, but in the end nothing can make a planter better when the basic construction is not sound. Jumil is a stickler for doing that correctly and quality control is an integral element of the production process from the raw material level.

A group of South African farmers visited the Jumil factory in Brazil with some Valtrac representatives and also made use of the opportunity to tell the Jumil management team what South African farmers need.

Jumil listens to the farmers

Jumil stays at the forefront of technology because the company relies on input by farmers, not only in Brazil, but also from other countries. The South African tour party was amazed when the Jumil management created a special opportunity to discuss problems and agricultural conditions in South Africa; and to elicit hints on adaptation of equipment to make it even more suitable for farming at the southern tip of Africa.

One proposal that found favour was the addition of a ‘poison box’ on new models that are due to be launched. The idea was mentioned on the Monday and by Friday Jumil already had possible solutions and preliminary prices available! Gustavo Oliveira, Jumil’s strategic marketing manager, says: “We operate in an intelligent, strategic market. We have to keep pace continually with all developments in the industry to ensure our production capacity can meet the demands of the farmers.”

Here the hinge action of the Terra JM8090 can be seen, enabling it to follow the contours of the land.

New Technology

Jumil now also provides, as part of the planter package, control over the exact placing of seed and fertiliser according to data derived from combine maps and soil analysis.

“The move towards precision technology was the best Jumil could ever do. We now don’t have to rely on an external party for the satellite technology and there are no problems with compatibility,” says David.

The new technology planters are fitted with their own GPS systems which can analyse the soil requirements with the aid of precision maps and adjust seed placing accordingly. The operator can see everything on a screen in the tractor cabin and control everything from his comfortable seat.

The new technology is built into the impressive Terra Exacta JM8090 planter, which was demonstrated to the touring party. It is expected that the planter will be launched in South Africa soon.

This is what the sturdy planter units look from close up. Note the high flotation tyres making less soil compaction possible.

The planter has special features such as:

• Higher planting efficiency;

• Foldability for transport and storage (it folds from 17,8 m to 6,3 m);

• Shorter waiting time after order placement;

• Higher industry productivity;

• Modern design;

• Robust structure;

• Can be used for no-till or conventional planting; and

• Available with mechanical or pneumatic seed placing.

Farmers were impressed with the fertiliser bin that can fold up/open within seconds.

The Terra JM8090 is available with the ability to plant a maximum of 29, 33 or 39 rows. Each of the models offer a choice of 45, 50, 76 and 90 cm row widths. With a row width of 76 cm, it will be possible to plant 17 rows with the 29 LS, 19 rows with the 33 LS and 23 rows with the 39 LS. With a row width of 45 cm the 39 LS can plant 39 rows.

The planter has three hinged trailing units that enable it to follow uneven terrain and ensure that planting will be 100% accurate and even. In Brazil farmers have to cope with hilly terrain and varying contours and, if a farmer wants to plant so wide, the planter must be able to follow the sloping terrain.

No matter what the terrain looks like, the seed-placing remains uniform and exact. The biggest planter requires 232 kW (315 HP) towing capacity; that is a very low 5,8 kW per row. A convenient working speed is 8 km/h. Under good conditions the Terra 39 LS can plant up to 133 ha in an hour!

David said the Terra JM8090 is for sure on his bucket list for next year. About 40% of his crop farming is already done on the no-till system. He says he is spoiled with Valtrac’s good service and the excellent quality of his Valtra tractors and Jumil planters.

Good news for SA vegetable growers is that the new precision vegetable planter, the Jumil Perfecta with double-row pantographic sowing units, is also on its way

This is what the sturdy planter units look from close up. Note the high flotation tyres making less soil compaction possible.

The Jumil story:

Jumil was founded in 1936 by four brothers and a friend and they soon took the lead with mechanisation at a time when animal power was still the norm. In 1992 Jumil was the first company in Brazil to build a pneumatic planter with a system known as Exacta Air. The Exacta JM3090 machine established Jumil as a world-class manufacturer. Today the company exports equipment to 36 countries, including South Africa, where the local Jumil support service is provided Valtrac.

For more information about the Jumil range of Valtrac, contact Attie de Villiers on 083-261-9863 or 056-817-8006, or alternatively you can send an email message to attiedev@valtrac.co.za. Also visit the website www.valtrac.co.za.