Amid high prices, technology promotes fuel savings in the agribusiness sector

With planning, monitoring, telemetry and fleet management solutions, it is possible to reduce diesel costs by up to 10%.

truck and tractor in field

08 December 2022

Fuel is a fundamental resource for agribusiness: tractors, planters, harvesters, and cultivation and spraying machines depend on its consumption to ensure the progress of operations. In this scenario, the high prices, especially for diesel, have generated a great impact on the sector. According to an analysis of the Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Confederation (CNA), the higher fuel can make production costs between 70% and 93% more expensive than in previous harvests. 

"Even with the recent reduction of ICMS (Value-Added Tax on Sales and Services, in Brazil), the price of fuel remains very high, so that any saving can be significant for the producer or rural manager," says Bernardo de Castro, president of the Agriculture division at Hexagon - a company that develops digital solutions for the agricultural and forestry sectors. 

Currently, several technological tools can help in this matter. Aiming to increase productivity, they optimise activities and generate cost reductions for agricultural operations. Over the course of a year, for example, it is estimated that around 190 million liters of fuel were saved on farms around the world through the use of Hexagon equipments. Check out some of the technologies that can promote this cost reduction:

Monitoring and telemetry 
Telemetry technologies - which allow the remote measurement and transmission of data - are becoming increasingly popular in the Brazilian field. Today, many machines already have sensors and monitoring software that make it possible to track several factors related to efficiency, such as tracking the route traveled, start and end time of the work, average speed of the route, performance of stops and maneuvers, how much was planted or harvested, how much input was applied, and so on. 

With this information in detailed reports and graphs, managers can follow up on the performance of the machines and make more assertive decisions. "It is possible to evaluate if the equipment is making the most efficient routes, take measures to reduce idle times and check if some area is receiving more input than necessary, for example," explains Bernardo. Along with other precision solutions, Hexagon's monitoring system allows you to save up to 10% in fuel consumption in an agricultural operation.

Operations planning
Another technology capable of reducing this consumption is operations planning, which aims to improve resource management according to the existing demand. It works from a linear programming algorithm that simulates scenarios, tests options, and points out the one that represents the best cost x benefit for the production in question. The tool demonstrates how to allocate existing resources for the execution of agricultural activities with maximum utilisation. 

The use of this Hexagon solution on a sugarcane farm for one year led to a reduction of approximately 4.5% in fuel expenditure, which represented a savings of R$1.5 million for the company in question. In addition, the feature also reduces labor and input waste.

"Because of the number of variables and problems involved, in general, the available alternatives and their combinations are too complex for the manager to make a decision without the help of a specific tool. With this software, HxGN AgrOn Operations Planning, the assertiveness of the actions is guaranteed", reinforces Bernardo de Castro.

Fleet Management
To ensure that the costs of an agricultural business are as low as possible, it is also important to have systems to optimise, coordinate, and manage the company's support fleets. A support logistics planning software is capable of allocating and routing the movements of convoy trucks (responsible for the supply and maintenance of agricultural machinery) and transport trucks (such as planks and cranes) to meet all the demands of the machines in the field with the best routes. 

Later, with the finalisation of the local logistics cycle, the synchronisation between the machines and the trucks that will transport the harvested goods begins. The challenge solved by technological systems, in this case, is to organise the routes so that no time or fuel is wasted: at the end of the day, the idea is to have managed to transport the maximum amount of raw material with the least number of trips.