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 Tropical Cattle Production

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Tom D
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PostSubject: Tropical Cattle Production   Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:26 pm

Thought I'd start a new topic on heat adapted breeds for tropical or semi-tropical beef production. I know very little about this topic, but I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Brazil a few years ago and thought I'd start this topic with a few pictures.

The ranch I visited calved 30,000 cows a year. They also ran their yearlings and their two year olds, and most cattle finished as three year olds. So at any given time there were over 100,000 head on this ranch. Here I am bothering one of the cowboys as he tries to work calves. (I'm the one in shorts)



The breed of choice in Brazil is the Nelore, as they are by far the most well adapted cattle for the environment. There is interest in crossbreeding however, as the Brazilians try to figure out how to finish the cattle in two years instead of three or four. This is my friend Fernando, Craig this is who you need to talk to about your Panama project.




This is the mineral mixing building for the grazing operation! They mix their own mineral/urea recipe to supplement the grass which is very, very low in protien.



The two brothers that own the ranch decided to build a 30,000 head feedlot to use during the dry season. During the wet season it is empty.



The main feed for the feedlot is silage made from sugar cane. Because a $250,000 self-propelled chopper costs $500,000 in Brazil due to tariffs, this is what they use to put up silage for 30,000 head. All the sugar cane is cut with machetes and fed into this chopper by hand. Laborers make $2 an hour.

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Double B

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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:36 am

Neat pictures. What % protein would the grass avg.?
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:37 pm

Tom D wrote:

The main feed for the feedlot is silage made from sugar cane. Because a $250,000 self-propelled chopper costs $500,000 in Brazil due to tariffs, this is what they use to put up silage for 30,000 head. All the sugar cane is cut with machetes and fed into this chopper by hand. Laborers make $2 an hour.


I'm thinking they might be cheaper going with the $500,000 propelled chopper. If you start making silage for 30,000 head
using machetes and hand feeding it into that little chopper your labor bill would quickly stack up pretty quick - even at $2/hr.
I'm reminded of my fathers tales of growing kale for the dairy cows post WW2 - hand weeding/thinning it in on their knees because
there were too many stones to use a hoe. Then harvesting it by "machete" in winter and packing it into a tie stall barn,
one cows worth at a time Shocked The old protestant work ethic - "S!%T won't happen if you work hard enough" Smile
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Double B

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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:16 am

I wonder how many men it would take to cut that much? Kinda neat shed floor. What kind of tractor is that hooked to the chopper?
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:55 am

I believe they work in 10 man crews, so $20 an hour. I know I pay over $400 an hour for a Claas 900 to chop my corn every year, and the machinary costs twice as much down there. That leaves alot of room for extra machetes, GF. Double B noticed the concrete pavers. They hand pour those paving blocks in little molds, three at a time, then assemble them together to make all the parking lots and driveways. The owners of the feedlot weren't cheap, they had 3 top of the line Mercedes feed trucks and giant Volvo loaders, but with the cheap labor and expensive machinary down there, sometimes the "hard way" in more efficient.
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:06 am

Did Tim pitch in and help with the machete work?
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:06 pm

How far north can you move these cattle in the USA before they are out of place?
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:56 pm

I bet that was a fun trip Tom, thanks for the pics.

What is the difference between Nelore and American Brahman. Seems like US mix was Gir and a couple other breeds, or lines. My old ET man used to do some work down there and had some interesting pics and stories, though not enough to make me want to do ET again.
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:36 pm

Hilly, did you get in touch with Fernando yet? Maybe we could get him to do a guest editorial here on the corner. Any experts on eared cattle out there that want to chime in???
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:55 pm

Tom D wrote:
Hilly, did you get in touch with Fernando yet? Maybe we could get him to do a guest editorial here on the corner. Any experts on eared cattle out there that want to chime in???

No, I haven’t yet Tom... Just added our fourth farm hand to the family on Friday and have spent today working on import permits for rare cattle to come north Smile ... excuses excuses I know Rolling Eyes

Thanks for the contact; I was kinda hoping you had directed him to KC already.
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:18 pm

Craig, Congratulations on your new edition. Did mom get a girl finally? The birth of a child makes all this cattle talk seem like small peanuts in comparison!

Good Job,
Ben
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:44 pm

Ben Loyning wrote:
Craig, Congratulations on your new edition. Did mom get a girl finally? The birth of a child makes all this cattle talk seem like small peanuts in comparison!

Good Job,
Ben

I'll second the congratulations, but I'll send the Good Job to your wife. cheers
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Tropical Cattle Production   Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:10 pm

Thanks guys, No girl yet... We all have personal lives that come first and I probably should have stayed on topic...

From your pictures Tom the cattle sure seem to have odd structure and I am sure there is a functional reason. The front foot angle for instance seem very low, could just be the picture... one thing for sure is I have a lot to learn about that type of cattle.
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