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Financial transition and costs of sustainable agricultural intensification practices on a beef cattle and crop farm in Brazil's Amazon

  • Lorena Machado Pedrosa (a1), Aaron Kinyu Hoshide (a2), Daniel Carneiro de Abreu (a3), Luana Molossi (a4) and Eduardo Guimarães Couto (a1)...

Abstract

The intensification of Brazil's beef cattle production system can involve different strategies to increase beef production while reducing deforestation in the Amazon biome and mitigating climate change. This study economically evaluates a cooperating beef farm in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil's Amazon biome over three crop years (2015–16 to 2017–18), transitioning from an extensive grazing system to a semi-intensive system using five sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) practices. These five practices include (1) grain supplementation for cattle, (2) pasture fertilization, (3) pasture re-seeding, (4) crop–livestock integration (CLI) and (5) irrigated and fertilized pasture that is rotationally grazed. The relative costs of these five SAI strategies used on this cooperating farm are compared. The adoption of SAI strategies increased beef productivity 5.7% (228–241 kg live-weight sold per hectare) and gradually improved net farm income by ~130% over the 3 years of transition (−US$94.79 to $29.80 ha−1). Grain supplementation (US$188 ha−1) had the cheapest cost per hectare, followed by pasture fertilization (US$477 ha−1) and pasture reseeding (US$650 ha−1). The most costly practice was in-ground irrigation of fenced rotationally grazed pasture (US$1600 ha−1) with the second most costly being CLI (US$672 ha−1). Despite adoption challenges of these SAI practices, past research confirm these five practices can increase beef productivity and profitability while reducing carbon footprint. Regardless of the cost per hectare of each practice, farmer adoption can be improved through education, support and incentives from both the public and private sectors.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Lorena Machado Pedrosa, E-mail: pedrosa@agronoma.eng.br

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Financial transition and costs of sustainable agricultural intensification practices on a beef cattle and crop farm in Brazil's Amazon

  • Lorena Machado Pedrosa (a1), Aaron Kinyu Hoshide (a2), Daniel Carneiro de Abreu (a3), Luana Molossi (a4) and Eduardo Guimarães Couto (a1)...

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