This year, the Agri Benchmark Beef Conference (an annual event that gathers researchers to compare and discuss zootechnical and economic data regarding cattle farming from several countries) indicated that the Brazilian cattle farming continues in the spotlight in global terms. It is important to mention that Cepea and CNA (Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock) represent Brazil in this event.
Brazilian farms (for both calf raising and cattle fattening) are once again on the list of the most competitive facilities in the world, with the lowest production costs.
Therefore, Brazil reinforces its role as an important beef supplier, helping to guarantee food security. In general, the cattle farming in Brazil has been improving in four major aspects: genetics, pastures, health and nutrition. However, Brazil needs to improve some zootechnical indicators, which would increase productivity, reducing costs as a consequence.
The Agri Benchmark Beef report, which has results from 2019, indicates that seven out of 10 calf farms with the lowest production costs are in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay). Among all countries considered, the lowest cost is verified in a farm in Kazakhstan.
Considering calf farms in South America alone, the lowest cost is observed in Argentina (80.95 USD per 100 live weight kilo). In Brazil, the most competitive farm produces one calf at 98.30 USD – the country participates with data from six typical farms in important regions, with costs ranging from 98.30 to 216 USD per 100 live weight kg. The lowest values are attributed to lower costs to produce animal feeding, based on pastures (a Brazilian characteristic) and availability of land.
On the other hand, considering the highest calf production costs, nine out of 10 farms are in Europe, with values ranging from 537 and 2,120 USD per 100 live weight kg. The highest values are registered in Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. A farm from Tunisia is also among the 10 highest production costs, at 611.39 USD.
As for the animal fattening, the scenario is the same: lower costs in South America and high values in European countries. Costs vary from 141.47 USD in Argentina to 3,182 USD per 100 live weight kg in Switzerland.
Among 10 typical farms with the lowest production costs, eight are in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay) and two of them are in Africa (Namibia and South Africa), with costs between 141.47 and 257.83 USD per 100 live weight kg. Brazil has two typical farms (out of 10 with the lowest costs), varying from 211.08 to 234.48 USD per 100 live weight kg.
Considering farms with the highest costs, 10 of them have values higher than 800 USD per 100 live weight kg, ranging from 841 USD in Czech Republic to 3,182 USD per 100 live weight kg in Switzerland. Land and silage costs help to explain high costs. One farm in Morocco and another one in Australia also register high costs.
As for cattle fattening, Brazil participates with data from eight typical farms, with costs ranging from 211 and 711.5 USD per 100 live weight kg. This wide gap is attributed to distinct production factors used in Brazilian fattening systems and to the region.
It is important to mention that among Brazilian fattening farms there is one that uses pasture (211.08 USD per 100 live weight kg) and another farm that is based on feedlot (234.48 USD per 100 live weight kg), with a small difference of costs, highlighting the efficiency of feedlots in Brazil.
Among all fattening farms in the world that are based on feedlot considered in Agri Benchmark, only three of them (Argentina, Colombia and Namibia) present lower costs compared to Brazil. As for pastures, only two farms (Argentina and Colombia) are more competitive than Brazil. It is worth noting that the Argentinean herd is slightly higher than 50 million animals and in Colombia the number is roughly 25 million, according to the USDA. The Brazilian herd, in turn, is estimated at 214.7 million animals – IBGE data.