The application of pesticides on Brazilian sugarcane fields is negligible and use of fungicides practically nonexistent. Major diseases that threaten sugarcane are fought through biological control, introducing natural enemies to fight pests and advanced genetic enhancement programs.
Brazilian sugarcane growers apply relatively few industrialized fertilizers, especially when compared to other crops. Brazilian sugarcane needs fewer chemicals due to the innovative use of organic fertilizers created during sugarcane processing. For instance, sugarcane mills recover residues called filter cake (which is rich in phosphorus) and vinasse (loaded with potassium, organic matter and other nutrients), which they use in place of traditional fertilizers.
These residues were a problem after the prohibition of burning as a pre-harvest method, but researchers found a way to incorporate it in the process. With the fertigation process, vinasse can be used either as fertilizer and for irrigation purposes. This is used following current regulations and it is in line with our commitments to promote biodiversity, improve soil health and reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers.