PARAGUAY – Feeding grains and tubers to beef cattle increases the agricultural value of the crop three-fold, Paraguay's cattle industry has heard.
Forage worth $3-4 million can be converted into animal protein worth $13-14 million, said sector leaders at a recent meeting.
Agriculture Minister Jorge Gattini rallied Paraguay’s cattle sector last week by demanding that raw materials be fed to cattle and other livestock.
“This is one of the paths for the development of our country”, he said. Presently, Paraguay’s beef sector is going through its ‘best moment’, the conference heard.
This is on message with analyst forecasts of record exports to strengthen and break records this year after significant advances in 2014 saw Paraguay overtake Uruguay as the world’s fifth largest exporter of beef.
Paraguay’s beef exports to Europe have been consistently high, helped in part by the Hilton quota, which brings tariff benefits on an annual consignment of 1,000 tonnes, according to the government.
European shipments are breaking $50 million per year, a landmark notably surpassed since 2011, said animal health and surveillance body SENASCA.
Delegates also heard about Ecuadorian interest in live cattle shipments as the country looks to strengthen its national genetics.
Situated close to Ecuador, Paraguay’s cattle are well suited to the production conditions. A total of 12,000 head of cattle are expected to pass into Ecuador in 2015 with around 40,000 head planned for 2016.
A small shipment of Brangus and Braford cattle docked yesterday and are expected to boost farm productivity and earnings.
Hailed as a ‘real livestock revolution’, the superior cattle have better forage conversion, according to Deputy Minister of agriculture, Luis K Valverde.
“All the food they consume is converted into muscle,” he said. “This will allow our farmers to improve their productivity levels, reproduction, and thus generate a good living in the Ecuadorian producers.”