Brazil has been a great experience for me, I have seen some productive farming practises and met some fantastic people who have opened up their homes to me and made me feel like I was at home. For Easter, I spent it with a great family, Arsufi,(father), Valeria(mother), Helder(son) and Hertor(son) who live in the town of Auriflama. On Monday, I visited one of the top poll Nelore studs where they have been breeding poll bulls since 2002. Saverio Marino is the head vet on the farm. The property is 330ha and receives 1300 mls of rain per year and they have 350 stud cows that they use in their IVF program using control heating. The stud also uses EBVs for their bull selection process.
Later that day, I visited Sidney Martins who is a vet by trade but is a consultant to farmers for pasture management. He has been teaching pasture management using animal impact for the last 30 years. I was amazed to know that farmers receive a fine if they burn pasture, so if the pastures get too rank, they mow the pastures or just run more cattle. The main varieties of the pastures are Mombaca(Panic)Broquiarie which are rapid growing grass that produce 40 tonnes of dry matter per year. The average stocking rate for Brazil is 1 beast to the ha, but using a rotation grazing system they can run 4 beasts to the hectare on dry land no worries.
On Tuesday, I visited Embrapa which is a government research station based in Sao Carlos, and receives 1300 mls of rain per year. It does a range of research consisting of pasture management, beef genetics, rumen assessments and irrigated pastures. The genetics they where using were Nelore, Simmental and Angus. I found that the 3 cross breeding program was the best weight for age and by using a cell grazing system they had no trouble with cattle ticks because they are breaking the cattle tick cycle. The grazing system was 0.6 ha for 4 days and running 40 head and having a rest period for 32 days.
Today, I visited Embrapa again and met with Marco Bergamaschi who also a vet buy trade and showed me the best grazing practise under irrigation. The Mombaca grass was once again the best variety to use, by using irrigation and keeping soil moisture, the Mombaca grass still produced high yields. Brazillian farmers have a great future in agriculture because of the great research team undertaking the studies at the centre. I would like to personally thank Pablo Manfrim(Brazil) and Sally Thomson(Australia) for travelling with me and translating the language for me.