Argentine Beef providing healthy food for the World
Argentina is a very large world class producer, consumer and exporter of bovine meat.
Each year, Argentina produces 2.5 million tonnes of meat. The calculated consumption of meat in Argentina is 65.4 kg per person which is high compared to other countries. For example United States is 42 kgs and the EEC is only 18kgs. Even at 65.4 kgs this is a sharp decline from the 1950’s when it was over 91.9 kgs per person.
The main strength of the Argentine beef industry has always been the quality of the meat. Beef in Argentina is produced mainly on pastures with, in some cases, additional supplementation during poor grass growing conditions. Beef here is truly a natural product, with no contamination, very high quality, a high protein content with high biological values. Vitamins, Omega3 fatty acids, an appropriate balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and high levels of conjugated linoleic acid, all make for healthy living. Many of these normal characteristics are enhanced under organic growing conditions, in which cultural, biological and mechanic models are utilized, instead of synthetic material.
Demand from developed countries is expected to increase towards food grown in organic conditions during the next few years. This scenario means there is an opportunity for Argentina to export more meat to the tough international market. It is forecasted that meat exports may soon reach USD 2,000 million.
The systems that are more common in Argentina are based on direct use of pastures through grazing. These pastures come from cultivated land, from natural pastures and from seasonal crops. However, there is a trend towards agriculturalisation of land, which makes it very important for the beef industry in Argentina to remain competitive and sustainable. The agricultural growth of Soya within the Pampas is pushing beef cattle to the less fertile areas. The north of the country is the future of the beef industry in Argentina and the potential of increased production of beef in that area is almost unlimited. Fattening with strategic supplementation of maize or grain presents the higher stability in terms of economic results. This means that, even though the supplementation requires an increased cost of production, it allows the farmer to maintain certainty of production in the long term. The better price for grain has stimulated many farmers to re invest in beef. It could well be that the beef industry is going to have a big moment…As someone famous said not long ago, when asked about the future of the country, “Argentina is condemned to success”, we can add that beef is not an exception.
Gonzalo Tuñón Vet. MSc. M.U. – Consultant