Background: The economy of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) relies majorly on agriculture; among the livestock production chains, cattle production has the largest economic, historical, and cultural importance in RS. The cattle industry is the main zootechnical activity in RS. Due to this, there is an actual need for updated characterization of the animal population, considering the population dynamics and the requirements imposed by the Official Veterinary Service (SVO) to meet certain characteristics. This would facilitate appropriate policies and measures to safeguard the health of the cattle in RS, as well as safeguard public health, and consequently avoid the economic impacts of possible health events. Materials, Methods & Results: Based on data from the livestock survey of 2013 from the Department of Animal Health (DDA), the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, and Agribusiness of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (SEAPA-RS), descriptive and spatial analyses of the cattle population were performed using software R and ArcMap TM 10, respectively. It was observed that the state has more than 13 million cattle distributed over approximately 346,000 farms. The majority of the bovine population consists of females over the age of 36 months. The predominant function of these farms is a complete cycle (breeding to fattening). Beef production is the predominant activity, followed by a mix of beef production and dairy production, and then sole dairy production. These characteristics differ depending on the state's region. Regarding the number of animals per property, 88% of properties are small having up to 50 cattle, and about 1% of properties have more than 500 animals. The general average in the state for the proportion of T:V (calf: cow) is 57 calves per 100 cows, and this is close to the national average. Discussion: About 60.62% of cattle herds consisted of animals aged over 24 months, and most of this group were females over 36 months of age (38.95%). About 50% of properties have up to 10 animals, demonstrating a large proportion of small farms. RS has an imbalance in its production system, with a large number of breeding females for the activity of beef production. The cattle in RS are mostly bred for the production of beef in a full cycle system (with all stages of production on the property), and only 10% of cattle raised in RS are bred solely for milk production. With regard to the proportion of T:V, we concluded that the state's beef production shows modest productivity and needs to improve production rates to increase financial returns for producers and enable competitiveness in the domestic and international markets. Furthermore, this information correlates with previous studies that have reported that farms in the business of beef production use low technology and low performance animals. Dairy farming, in contrast with beef farming, has been modernizing and developing in recent years by increasing co-operatives and agribusinesses, which has led to greater knowledge through technical assistance to the farms. Extensive farming is dependent on field areas and is historically associated with the natural fields in the campaign region, since dairy farming is dependent on areas where there is a supply of specialized food. Thus, despite the state having a greater concentration of animals in the south-southwest, production indices are similar to other regions, and the type of farming undertaken exerts a great influence on the regional animal population structure.
|Translated title of the contribution||Cattle rearing in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil|
|Journal||Acta Scientiae Veterinariae|
|State||Published - 2014|
- Animal production