Brazil's cattle ranchers are embracing change

BRAZIL - Brazil's herd, conservatively estimated at 170 million head (the nation's beef export association figures 204 million), is the world's largest - there are about 97 million U.S. beef cattle - and there is every indication that Brazilians like De Muzio will make it an even bigger ranching country.
calendar icon 12 December 2006
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In 2004, Brazil became the world's largest beef exporter by volume, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Disease, sanitary issues at slaughter plants, and the sale of lower-priced cuts account for why it still trails Australia in export value.

Incidences of highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease in some parts of Brazil prevent exports of fresh, chilled and frozen beef to some key markets, including the U.S. and Japan.

But with exports to 150 other countries, "losing a few hasn't had a discernible impact on the numbers," says Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly, based in Petaluma, Calif.

Russia and 55 other countries stopped imports from Brazilian states affected by foot-and-mouth disease last December but removed the ban on major producing states like Mato Grosso deemed clear of the infection in August. Nonetheless, Brazil's exports from January through September 2006 rose 17.6 percent in cash value and 3.8 percent in volume compared with a year earlier, according to the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association.

Source: Star Telegram

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