Weather: October and November were very wet months. We registered respectively 441 mm of rain vs 255 mm as historical average for October and 427 mm vs 193 mm as historical average for November. For the calendar year 2017, we already registered 1,000 mm rain above the 12 months historical average, and December is forecasted to be humid.
Nevertheless, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is announcing for 2018 the likely arrival of the opposite phenomenon for the region with El Nina event.
Sowing: Over 1,000 hectares have been sowed so far and around 250 hectares are in progress, delayed by weather conditions. Our target for this campaign is to produce 9,000 tons of paddy rice.
The planted area is developing very well as you can see, thanks to the heavy rains which irrigate naturally the fields (ie less artificial irrigation via pumping is required). What helps the development of the crop on one hand is hurting the end of the sowing.
Optimization of the irrigation system: As previously mentioned, we are performing some adjustment in the irrigation system in order to have a more efficient and secure use of water. Part of them have been completed like the direct connection of the main pump station with the Master channel, short cuts in some connections and aerial filling system of key channels, generating future efficiencies in maintenance.
Remaining adjustments are going to be performed after the harvest will be completed in February as we want to connect the Master channel to the artificial lake (Reservoir).
Rice cultivation performed at Salitre Cue is a step-by-step production until harvest and post-production activities took place. From the moment land is being prepared until harvest is taking place 9 months elapse.
Pre-planting stage which take around 4 months, is now almost behind us, expect in one block. We are late there due to the accumulation of bad weather conditions. To illustrate, we register 145 mm of rain for the single day of 7 November with intense lightning and electricity cuts. Activities like pre-sowing fertilization, herbicide application, taipas nivelation as well as sowing are impossible under those conditions.
Meanwhile, the 1st blocks sowed which amount to 850 hectares are in irrigation stage until January (nutrients have been applied). So far, the plants grow and develop normally even if incremental work is currently required given weather conditions to management water in the fields. After this stage, plants are going to enter in the flowering period (high brightness is required for an optimal development of rice grains) before rice grain achieve is maturity, and harvest stage begun.
We have begun to irrigate the 1st plots sowed in September to allow an optimal development and growth of the seeds.
To that end, water is pumped in from the river Tebicuary by the main station and redistributed to the master channel as you can see on the picture below. Secondary channels are then supplied with water to each individual plots.
Meanwhile, we continue to sow other fields. As of today, 845 hectares have been sowed with rice.
We decided to sponsor 31 students of the National College of Republica Oriental de Uruguay of General Artigas town by providing them customized t-shirts for the school Olympic games.
We are proud to support actions for healthy kids and school Olympics given all underlying values promoted (effort, sharing, authenticity, humility) which can help young people find themselves.
We are please to inform you that we started to sow our first plots with rice on 09/05/17. 240 hectares are already well under way as you can see.
We have currently optimal sowing conditions and hope they will remain unchanged.
During the maintenance period which follow production phase, we performed some readjustment of some pipes and connections in the irrigation system in order to have the most efficient use of water possible with minimum loss in pressure or in friction. At the same time, those adjustments are also going to reduce future maintenance operations and prevent soil from erosion.
Meanwhile, we have also prepared land for the coming sowing campaign. All inputs needed are at farm as you can see, and 1,300 hectares are ready to be sowed as of September.
As an extension of previous actions undertaken, we decided to refresh exterior painting of the school of the village of Arequita which is near Salitre Cue farm. In addition, we have renovated all electrical connections and panel of the school which were dilapidated and subject to concerns.
Those actions contribute to create a healthy environment for 9 children and their teacher attempting the school, and promote more favourable work conditions for them.
The harvest of our 1780 hectares sowed for this cycle is now completed so as the related drying process. Over 12, 500 tons have been produced of which half has already been sold and delivered to our clients. The remaining production is stored in our silo facility.
We are now starting with maintenance of irrigation channels so as with our artificial lake. First step here is to dry our reservoir to performance annual maintenance for next campaign.
Below you will find a general overview of operations where you can see each rice section, our silos and the river.
Over 1,300 hectares of rice have been harvested so far with an average yield of 7 tons per hectare. Harvest has been interrupted several times this month due to rainfalls, making access to machinery difficult.
For now, 500 hectares of IRGA 424 variety remain to be harvested. Subject to good weather conditions, the harvest should be complete shortly.
On February 11, we registered in particular heavy rainfall: 150 mm of rain was recorded that day vs 240 mm for the entire month of February. Delay in harvesting leads to decline in humidity of the rice grain given high ambient temperature which ultimately causes a decline in rice quality.
Rice cultivation: We performed humidity and impurities tests on our premium rice variety (Puita). Harvest of this variety has began (Puita) as you can see on the pictures below. Puita variety have been increased and represent a bit more then 1/3 of the surface sowed during this cycle.
As for our other main variety – IRGA 424, harvest should begging in February as the plots are still under irrigation. This variety is in particular more resilient to the climate of the area but for which the export demand to Brazil is less important than for Puita.
Rice sales: we have already initiated negotiations with our clients in order to pre-close some contracts as we expected to produce over 12 000 tons of rice for our 2nd campaign.
Soybean cultivation (test campaign for diversification purposes): even if the climate register in December was overall favorable for the development of the plants, excess rainfall registered previously could not been entirely offset.
As a results, we should expect that some plots sowed with soybean will have good yields. Some other, with only few beans as you can see on the pictures below.