Adoption and use of technology in beef production in the south of Brazil : a multiple-case study investigation of farmers' attitudes : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science in Agribusiness
In the last decade, the agricultural sector in Brazil has been undergoing significant structural changes as a result of the economic situation of the country and the modernisation process required by globalisation. The South of Brazil, after achieving status as a "zone free of foot-and-mouth disease", has enlarged its export market and faces new productivity requirements. It is assumed that increases in the rate of adoption of technologies in beef production can promote improvement in productivity and quality. The research aim was to identify farmers' attitudes towards adoption and use of technologies in beef production and their reasons for using/not using them. The purpose is to assist the increase in the rate of adoption of technologies in the Brazilian beef sector by the adequate formulation and recommendation of new technologies. The study was conducted in the South of Brazil, using multiple-case study and qualitative analysts. Nine beef farmers were interviewed in Rio Grande do Sul, concerning the use of five technologies: artificial insemination, use of salt/urea, use of fertilisers and soil correction, parasite and disease control and soil testing. Rogers' five attributes of innovation were used as a framework for analysis and compared with farmers' perceptions of the technologies. The research findings suggest that Rogers' attributes of innovations, although not all of the same importance, exert influence in the adoption decision. Farmers' very positive attitudes towards the adoption of new technologies was also identified. However, adoption and use of technologies are limited by financial constraints. It was concluded that further research and extension should focus on the financial and environmental circumstances of the farmers when developing and recommending the use of technologies, in order to increase the rate of adoption. Further research on this subject is suggested to confirm the study findings and to assist improvements in the sector.