Pioneer New Zealanders investments in Brazilian Dairy Farming pay off
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Dairy Farm – Fazenda Leite Verde
Investors from New Zealand are still entering with force in Brazilian, with some of the original investors farming in the southwest of Bahia region, specifically the city of Jaborandi. Their focus was on dairy farming with the use of high technology – especially the giant centre pivot irrigation units – in addition to the development of a new breed of cattle, a Kiwi Cross, generically called Kiwi – like fruit. There were four pivots with 425 meters radius of rotation, and each covers 56 hectares. Quite impressive, since each pivot has the ability to feed 600 Stock Units. Each Stock Unit ( AU) corresponds to a cow of 250 kgs. Each pivots services a cowshed with a capacity of milking 450 and 550 cows per hour.
The premium full UHT milk being produced on the property – which was named Leitíssimo – comes from a screened and herd free of Brucellosis and Tuberculosis.
According to the New Zealander Craig Bell, a director of this group, the South West of Bahia was chosen due to it climate. Not so cold that prevents the grass to grow in winter and not so hot that you can take the cows to suffer heat stress. At the same time, Craig considers 1450 mm rainfall the ideal amount of rain for producing grass.
The challenge, in his opinion, is to improve the quality of raw milk in order to achieve a level of quality similar to that of other dairy exporting countries like Uruguay, Chile and New Zealand.
A common theme throughout South America dairy farming mirrors the main differences between there and New Zealand, which is scale and mechanization, and as consequence productivity and quality.
New Zealand produces the same amount of milk that Brazil produces with only 1% of the number of producers. All New Zealand producers are mechanized and as a result, the milk quality is better. Milk contains 10000/mL CBT and 200.000/ml CCS for example.
The productivity of labour in New Zealand is 20 times greater than in Brazil which enables a lower cost of production even paying salaries 8-10 times higher. With mechanical milking now available ( robots ) this might change.
In the meantime Fazenda Leite Verde is among the largest milk producers in Brazil, occupying the 17th position according to a recent survey producing over 16,000 litres/day.
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