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More sheep and fewer cattle

27 November 2006

URUGUAY - Heading for a record year of beef exports, over a billion US dollars, Uruguay’s cattle herd is experiencing the impact of the efforts and it’s doubtful it can sustain in the coming years such a level of production.

According to the annual Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries 2005/06 livestock survey, Uruguay currently has 11.7 million head of cattle and 11.2 million sheep which represents an overall 2% decrease and 3% decrease compared to the previous census.

With a record extraction level of 25%, (almost 3 million head), cattle in the different categories experienced declines with the exception of calves that increased 3%. Another positive side in spite of the record beef production, (over 600.000 tons) is that half the cattle stock is made up of cows in breeding condition which makes current production sustainable in the medium term.

The current boom in Uruguay’s beef industry with live cattle prices the highest in the region and comparable to Chicago, plus an excellent sanitary condition, has also been helped by neighboring (competitor) countries’ problems.
In Argentina limits and bans on beef exports have been imposed to contain inflation and in Brazil several states have proved to have endemic foot and mouth disease.

Of the 11.7 million head, 4.5% are 3 year old steers; 7.6% steers between 2 and 3 years; 10% between 1 and 2 years; calves 23% heifers 15%.

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Source: falkland-malvinas.com



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