THE Brazilian cattle herd is geared up for further expansion to reach nearly 178 million head by early 2007 due to higher investments in animal genetics
(particularly through cross breeding programs) and improved pasture and management practices, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The expanding herd and lift in productivity will boost beef production, which is expected to increase by 5pc in 2006, in response to strong domestic and export demand.
Exports are predicted to rise by 15pc by 2007 on 2005 levels, to 2.2 million tonnes, due to aggressive and strategic marketing campaigns, competitive export prices and continued opportunities in the wake of BSE outbreaks in beef exporting countries.
Major target export markets for Brazil in 2006 are likely to be China, the Middle East, Russia and Chile, although the EU is expected to remain the largest
destination for Brazilian beef.
A number of constraints may temper the projected increase in beef production in the short term, including the continued appreciation of the
Brazilian currency; higher domestic interest rates (currently 19pc); uncertainties and reduced consumer confidence associated with the political crisis; funding deficiencies for government sanitary and inspection programs; lower cattle prices; and lower economic growth in 2006.
The USDA report discussed the status of the Brazilian System of Identification and Certification of Bovine and Buffalo Origin (SISBOV).
The Animal Health Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture estimates there are more than 50 million animals in the program, which is approximately 30pc of Brazil¹s cattle herd.
Progress appears to have been made with eradicating foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Brazil.
An estimated 84pc of the country¹s cattle herd is FMD-free with vaccination.
The government expects the country to be entirely free of FMD by the end of next year.