Strategies for replacing animals in beef cattle

Breeds beef cattle.  Photo: José Maria Matos.
  1. Challenges in Strategies for replacing animals in beef cattle.

In the article Animal replacement: How can we profit from this movement? we observed some critical challenges for maintaining activity growth, among them:

  • The increase in the relevance of the replacement cost in the rearing and fattening activity.
  • The challenges of increasing the calves’ supply in an activity that has a natural inefficiency to produce less than one calf per cow per year.
  • The dispute for land-use efficiency with other cultures and activities.
  • Difficulty opening new areas of expansion.
  • Need to increase the productivity of rearing, fattening, and the following links in the chain to support the increase in replacement costs.

These points lead us to an important question.

2. How to support the tendency to increase the cost of replacement in production systems?

One way to overcome the increase in replacement costs is to increase productivity in the chain’s following links. This increase in productivity helps to dilute the increase in the cost of replacement through the gain of more arrobas with a lower cost or greater logistical efficiency and lower taxes.

However, they all depend on an increase in technology in the sector. When technologies already exist, and change depends on simple adoption, the transformation is faster. When it depends on investments, culture change, or technological innovation, the change is slower.

In the Webinar, the speaker demonstrates how simple management tools and market intelligence can help the producer take advantage of market fluctuations.

3. Management tools to improve the commercial efficiency of beef cattle.

With information technologies and databases, we can create tools that help producers find the moments to market their products and raw materials better. These can be implemented with a very high-cost benefit for the producer.


  1. The use of Intelligent Platforms that help identify market trends and guide the producer to identify buying and selling opportunities throughout the year can generate impacts of 83% in the operating result.


As demonstrated in the challenges, the increase in livestock production is related to the intensification of production systems. The intensification of production requires an increase in the capital invested and, consequently, an improvement in risk management.

On the other hand, the increase in the global population and the demand for food have increased the number of countries that import food and reduced the number of countries with a surplus. This change in relations has increased the relationship between chains and global problems in the formation of commodity prices, causing greater volatility.

The greater complexity of the forces that influence price volatility requires more complex data analysis. In this line, the database analysis tools, through market intelligence, can bring significant changes in risk management and commodity profitability.

Why is pasture fertilization so important?

Cattle in the Pasture.  Photo: JM Matos.

The second-largest herd of cattle in the world and the largest meat exporter in the world! Who of us is not proud of such titles ?! 

We have as production characteristics, a herd mostly kept on pasture, in freedom. This is also the most economical and natural way of offering food for cattle. However, despite our international prominence, Brazilian cattle breeding still faces many challenges at home, within a business called “producing cattle on pasture.” One of these challenges is precisely related to the animal’s primary fuel: the supply of pastures and their quality! And it is on this subject, pastures, and how we can maintain them sustainably, that we will address in this text below!

Livestock farmers, farmers, entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, the great truth is that everyone is bald to know that our pasture areas are degraded! Our situation is unfortunate and really out of step with what we initially stated in this article about our representativeness before the animal protein trade.

Do you know what Productivity levels are?

  • Potential Productivity
  • Achievable Productivity
  • Real Productivity

According to Embrapa, we account for no less than 130 million hectares of degraded pastures. This represents 65% of the total available grazing areas. Is this normal? 

The answer is no!

Honestly, this result only saddens and confirms the neglect with which we manage our workspace, our field, the environment, and demonstrates all the care that we cultivate in this matter.

Different reasons may be involved in pasture degradation. These can be linked from agronomic aspects of production to the forage plant, the type of soil, the climate, the management itself, and the animal. As well as about economic issues and the competence of the producer.

There is also another great reason behind all this, and it is intrinsically related to that old and traditional format of production that we have here in the country: extensive systems of creation articulated in the prevalence of the law of the minimum. When we refer to the minimum, we mean minimal investment in technologytechnique, and even labor. This is somewhat natural in human nature. After all, the majority desires to enhance a business that primarily provides them with profit and minimizes costs. The detail is that this strategy, and the mentality associated with this practice, do not work for long, especially if there is no parallel plan for reinvestment, maintenance of the productive machine, practically in business models based on biological exploration

It is known that the degradation process does not happen overnight, but that it occurs continuously, that is, gradually. The lack of management in the pasture, the overcrowding of animals, for example, the constant extraction of nutrients from the soil coupled with the lack of a plan for fertilizing the pastures to restore the soil fertility in the long term, all this contributes to the weakening pasture. And the consequences of this whole process are evident. In addition to the loss of productivity, we make room for the emergence of other subsequent problems, such as establishing invasive plantspests, and diseases.

Have you ever heard of a soybean farmer planting without worrying about the soil? Do not perform the necessary corrections, liming, plastering? Have you ever heard someone plant corn, ignoring the plant’s nutritional requirements, forgetting to predict nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, micronutrients, etc.? Probably not.

Historically, the fertilization aspect of grasses has never been treated as a priority pillar by the rancher. What we observe in practice in most of the properties, except those that are already aware of their importance, is the eventual correction of the soil pH through liming, and rarely, fertilization of pastures.

The big problem is that the producer does not analyze the matter holistically to see that the benefits, both due to the gain bias in the profitability of the business and the aspects of the acquisition of value in equity (property), are much more significant and justify the cost of investing in the soil.

From an agronomic perspective, when fertilizing, we contribute to maintaining fertility and balance in the environment (soil-plant relationship). We are also increasing the potential of that space to provide higher yields per area of ​​plant biomass and offer better quality food for the herd.

Another point, analyzing the breeding system, the benefit of grass production, also allows the producer to increase the capacity to support animals on his farm significantly. And we do not stop there, gaining in the increase in the stocking rate (UA / ha), we accelerate the average weight gain (GMP) of the animal due to the more generous supply of food, a systemic effect that in the end reverts to the more significant turnover of animals and income for the activity. 


Considering our current situation, changes in the rancher practices and management about the theme “fertilization of pastures” will be required, sooner or later. To say that fertilization is the solution to all problems related to pasture is undoubtedly a mistake. But the change in mentality about it and seeing pasture as a crop is a good start. The demand for us to be more efficient productively speaking through the areas we already have is an absolute fact even more with the increase in demand for food globally and the pressure of environmental restrictions regarding the opening of new areas. The knowledge we have, space to work, and what we lack is common sense and will power to change this pattern of conduct.

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