For the actual research part, I flew from Rio to Sao Paulo, where I met up with a team from WWF USA/Brasil, to join them on a field trip through the state of Sao Paulo, visiting sugarcane plantations, co-ops, mills, etc. It was a great experience, as well as being educational, it was also just great to get out in the Brazilian countryside.
Brazilian countryside - Lots of great weather and beautiful pastoral rolling landscapes
Sugarcane as far as the eye can see
Peanut harvesting (ish?) - tractor turning the peanuts out from the ground. Peanuts are used as a rotational cover crop with sugarcane. Funny enough, they only grow them for one season and not longer, because the market for peanuts, well, earns them 'peanuts' (not much).
Deep soil management - some new and experimental-ish stuff
Freshly planted (uncovered) sugarcane
Sugarcane mill - we were there in the off-season, when the mill wasn't running, so less interesting
WWF USA team - investigating and asking about sugarcane
Young sugarcane crops
Experimental sugarcane transplanter
Antennae tower for precision agriculture - planting the rows along the topography of the fields
Sugarcane harvester - modified for harvesting billets (short stocks of sugarcane used for planting)
Explaining roughly which part is used for billets
Sugarcane seedlings - in the nursery, ready to go for trial planting
Cachaça - the whole cellar, that's all it was