Brazil's Cut Of The World Beef Market Grows

BRAZIL - Driving across his 3,000-hectare ranch near Cuiaba in central Brazil, Arno Schneider pulls over his pickup truck and points to a stretch of pasture of an almost luminous green.
calendar icon 24 July 2007
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"We can put up to 10 cattle per hectare on land like that," he says. "That's the richest pasture we have today, but we have the techniques to go further. The sky's the limit."

Brazil is now the second-biggest beef producer in the world after the United States, producing more than 9 million tons, up from 6 million a decade ago, compared with about 12 million in the U.S.

While the U.S. is a net importer, Brazil's new productivity has been directed mostly at export markets.

From a lowly sixth place among beef exporters 10 years ago, with a little more than 300,000 tons, Brazil has shot to world leadership, exporting more than 2.4 million tons last year.

The transformation has its roots in the 1970s, when farmers like Schneider began migrating from the traditional farmlands of the south of Brazil — where the soil is among the most fertile in the world. They moved farther north to the formerly semiarid cerrado, a low scrub.

The soil was acidic, high in aluminum and low in nutrients. The farmers solved all three problems by adding limestone.

Source: Los Angeles Times
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