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European Pig Producers Pay Visit to Brazil

by 5m Editor
23 December 2010, at 9:05am

BRAZIL - In recent years the Brazilian pig industry has seen strong growth rates and enters the world market increasingly as strong competitor to the European exporters of pork, but also to other types of meat.

Indeed, Brazil has now become the world's fourth largest pork producer. But the consumption of pork is still far below the European levels.

The European Pig Producers (EPP) took the opportunity to collect information about the Brazilian pork industry. 26 members from Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany participated form 16 to 23 October 2010 in a one-week study tour in the South American country.

The focus was on the inspection of various pig farms in the state of Parana (south west of Sao Paulo). Among them were Dutch and German immigrants, who settled over to Brazil in the 1950s and 1972. The program also included visits and discussions with cooperatives, feed plants, a research organization, a slaughterhouse, a big sale store for plant health products and a company for pig housing equipment.

The transport distances have significantly different dimensions in Brazil than in Europe. Thus, in the marketing of pigs to be covered quite a distance up to 1000 km to the next harbour.

In the ranking of the Brazilian states with the most pigs Parana is located behind Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso do Sul at the 3rd place with 13 per cent of the total Brazilian pigs.

The performances in some companies were impressive. Thus a farmer with 31.86 weaned piglets per sow and year recently achieved the first place in a Brazilian benchmarking project. Also the feed conversion of 1:2,56 was on a high level.

In Brazil the integrated pig production is with 70 per cent widely used. Farmers are in contract with a cooperative or a slaughterhouse and then be reimbursed for their work. The bills for feed and piglets are paid by the slaughterhouse which retains at the end of the fattening period then the total revenue.

As in Europe there is also in Brazil a trend towards even larger operating units because of raising costs for small family farms. However, the dimensions are much larger than in Europe.

The Immunocastration of boars in Brazil does not have the importance, as represented in Europe. Farmers prefer the conventional piglet castration because until now there is no pressure from consumer site. In addition, some slaughterhouses are not accepting animals treated with Improvac.

At the end of the excursion many participants felt a little bit better. Before the trip the threat of a still rapidly growing pig production and a "rollover" of the European pig production was in the mind of some participants. These thoughts significantly decreased during the flight back to Europe. Of course, the Brazilians in some areas, such as in labour costs, have significant benefits comparing to European farmers. But it is also clear that the Brazilians have to contend with very high transport costs and that there is an increasing legal framework in Brazil concerning hygienically aspects and the approval of new livestock buildings.

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