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Investment in Irrigation Helps Brazilian Operation Become the Global Leader in Organic Sugar Exports

With more than 20 percent of the market share, Brazil’s Jalles Machado Group is one of the world’s largest producers and the leading exporter of organic sugar. It ships nearly 65,000 tons per year – with almost half of that going to the United States. 

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“We supply more than 20 countries on four continents,” said Henrique Penna de Siquiera, sales director for Jalles Machado. “Our great partner in the USA is Costco. We started selling sugar to them in 2012 – starting with about 1,500 tons. In 2015, they asked us to increase the exported volume and to market the sugar with their brand. While we did not want to give up our own brand, they expected to triple the volume, so we decided to accept the proposal. It was a good decision.”

Located in Goianésia in Góias State, the operation includes two industrial facilities - Jalles Machado and Otavio Lage - generating approximately 3,700 jobs and making sugar cane the main economic driver in the area. In order to meet the increasing demand for its product, the group invested in an irrigation system that gives them the ability to cultivate the crop all year.

“Sugar cane does not thrive in our region unless irrigation is used,” he said.  “From April to October, we spent almost 180 days without seeing a drop of precipitation. We start harvesting the product on April 1. If we don’t irrigate the area the plants do not grow again and will die."

Lindsay South America, based in Mogi Mirim (SP), worked with Jalles Machado to install an irrigation system that includes center pivots, laterals and towable machines. For added efficiency, they installed FieldNET® remote monitoring and control technology. 

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“Since 2012, we have been utilizing this tool to the fullest,” Penne de Siquiera said. “It gives us a very positive benefit of optimizing our time and helping us ensure the pivots are running. When there is a problem, we are advised immediately. The intelligence of the tool has helped us a lot. The speed with which we receive the information generates operational improvements and reduces costs.”

Using advanced technology, the operation crushes approximately five million tons of sugar cane – conventional and organic - each year. It also produces ethanol, electricity, yeast, hygiene and cleaning materials. 

"Investments in technology and innovation have been in our DNA from the start,” he said. “Despite several industry crises, our small family business has grown into a global supplier.”