ARGENTINA – Cattle must be fed higher quality forage, the ministry of agriculture has advised farmers.
This is if export tonnage and productivity are to rise and yield per animal is going to improve.
Last week, national leaders flagged up kilos per animal and calf weaning rates as key benchmarks to drive the Argentinian cattle industry forward.
Argentina’s cattle industry heard that a 14 per cent increase in beef available for export would result if 100 kilos could be added on to the finishing weights of the country’s steers.
This would lift the proportion of high value exportable beef by 40 per cent, government statistics show.
To achieve this, secretary of agriculture Gabriel Delgado said farmers must stop feeding cattle second rate forage.
Mr Delgado said: “When I was growing up in the countryside, cattle received scraps and waste products from other industries and today, while there are exceptions, this is largely still the case.”
“We have revolutionised arable production and we should be able to do the same with livestock.”
He added that farmers should not just think about stock but the ‘food reserves’ necessary for keeping that stock.
Citing high feed prices as a limiting factor, Mr Delgado explained that keeping cattle for longer to reach higher weights was made difficult on some farms by cost.
The end result is to peg exports against domestic consumption at a ratio of 20:80, up from its current market share of five per cent of Argentina’s beef.
He revealed that domestic meat consumption – at 114.7 kilos – is high in Argentina, with average beef consumption at 64 kilos per year.
Mr Delgado concluded: "If we increase the weight of each animal we will be producing more kilos of meat from the current stock, leaving more for export with good international prices and more meat on the bone for the domestic market."
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