REPROTEC seeks to increase the productivity of the cattle through the improvement of zoo technical indexes, with research and extension actions with technologies adapted to the conditions of the region. Technical assistance actions, organization of producers, and access to rural credit, takes into account the wishes of the family and the reality where the properties are located. The diagnosis of property was the initial step to define the actions of intervention of short, medium and long term, being deployed on six reference properties in the cities of biggest herd of beef cattle in the region of the Serra Catarinense.

From the consolidation of the work of assistance, the properties became reference in the region, opening the gates for the dissemination of the experience. Monitored properties reduced the age of entoure heifers in a year, increased by 50% the birth indexes, market heavier calves and slaughter younger animals with market-oriented crossovers, prioritizing better casting finish and added value when compared to traditional livestock. With 44 months of project implementation, 4.585 farmers were trained through rural extension.

 

A - General Informations

 

START: December 2011 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Agricultural Research and Rural Extension of Santa Catarina (EPAGRI); Rural Association of Lages-Executor; Research Support Fund and Innovation of the State of Santa Catarina – FAPESC-Financier

PARTNERS: Rural Union of São Joaquim; Rural Union of Lages; Municipality of São Joaquim; Municipality of Capão Alto.

PRESENTED BY: Cassiano Eduardo Pinto e Newton Borges da Costa Júnior

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGE: Between US$ 10.000 and US$ 15.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Agriculture

KEYWORDS: Pasture Management, Process Technologies, Family Agriculture, Biodiversity Conservation, Rural Extension, Carbon Sequestration

TARGET AUDIENCE: Ranchers, Family Farmers, Technicians, Students, Cooperative Services, Professional Associations, Rural Associations, Local Leaders

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Micro-regional

SPECIFIC DEPLOYMENT AREA: Mountainous region of the state of Santa Catarina, in particular the municipalities of São Joaquim, Lages, Capão Alto, São José do Cerrito, Painel, Palmeira and Bom Jardim da Serra.

 

B - Description of practice

 

1 -BACKGROUND

The agricultural development model of Santa Catarina changed the physiognomy of the landscape, converting natural biomes in agricultural systems. In this context, although the natural pastures have lost much of their original coverage, Santa Catarina has in the grassland in the Atlantic Forest Biome the main feed base of cattle of Santa Catarina.

The maintenance of this landscape is a primordial economic and ecological function, because of the income generated with beef cattle, tourist potential with the scenic beauty, and strong regional appeal. These fields are characterized as a natural resource of inestimable value for its biodiversity, by providing plant cover to soils that support them, and for the economic production of beef cattle.

The great difficulty for preservation of the Planalto Catarinense fields are the low levels of productivity achieved, remaining susceptible to various kinds of pressure to be replaced by more profitable crops as annual crops and cultivated forests. In great part, these cultures do not consider regional edaphoclimatic ability generatingsoil degradation biodiversity losses, fragmentation of the landscape, and problems of rural exodus by the lack of economic alternatives.

The improvement and management of pasture approaches as a viable alternative to the productive conservation of natural pastures of the serra catarinense, since the farm in our region suffers restrictions on land use, in about 70% of the total area. The upgrade increases the potential of natural pastures, by the correction of the limiting factors of soil, introduction species and maintenance of original species.

The initial diagnosis of the properties participating in the project undertaken before interventions identified that the family owned an average area of 255.36 hectares and cattle were present in over 87% of the establishments, but with low proportion of cultivated pasture, approximately 4%. Media over-crowding was 0.43 animal unit/hectare. Birth index of 50% and weight of weaning less than 180 kilos. The age of slaughter of cattle ranged from 03 to 04 years.

 

 2 - GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Transform the productive base of the livestock of low profitability in a profitable and productive livestock, taking technologies developed by research centers, and adapted to the local reality of the family farmers considering their realities and their potential in order to increase the zootechnic rates and calves production. The actions are part of the cultural issues of families and their concerns about the economic aspects and of succession of the properties.

Specific objectives:

  • Increase the production of calves of quality to increase the supply of meat to the State;
  • Increase the profitability in farmers profiles who have low use of technologies in production systems;
  • Save for the use of natural pastures with proper management, reduction of burned areas, promoting carbon sequestration, and maintenance of the biodiversity of the fields and grassland of the Atlantic Forest Biome.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

Within this purpose to develop the vocation of the region for livestock breeding based on natural pastures, with the challenge of increasing production of quality calves, in the profile of farmers who have low use of technologies in production systems, the Rural Association of Lages presents itself as a proponent of the project participating in the decisions regarding the actions.

When we talk about beef cattle in Santa Catarina, we must take into account that we are in one of the smallest States of the Federation, the only with the health status of FMD without vaccination free zone, characterized by small farms, when compared to production systems of Central Brazil and Rio Grande do Sul. The livestock is present in 87% of rural settlements of the Southern upland of Santa Catarina, a natural vocation of the region, featuring a profile of low use of technologies and management of available resources, mainly because so far there are no development and initiatives for the sector.

The properties were selected to represent the traditional systems of the region. At first, the municipalities with the largest beef herd in the region were chosen. The selection of producer took into account cattle family farmer’s criteria, family labor on property, main source of income from livestock, traditional low technological exploitation and who wished to improve beef cattle.

The initial diagnosis performed on the properties part of the livestock development project of serracatarinense represents very well the traditional systems. Held in 2012, it shows a discouraging reality. The data indicate an average occupancy of 0.43 AU/ha, dedicating themselves to livestock breeding and rebreeding of cattle with average area of 78 ha (CEPA, 2011). Cultivated pastures represent less than 4% of the total area of the properties, the average age at first entoure is 36 months, birth index of 60%, average weight of weaning 190 kg/PV /cab and interval between births of 485 days. This arrangement of factors provides a low profitability to cattle ranchers, who suffer market pressures for replacement of natural pastures for more profitable crops such as forestation of pine in a recent past and currently annual summer crops, especially soybeans.

The actions initiated by the diagnostic analysis of the six farms dedicated to production of calves that have natural pastures as forage substrate. This diagnosis considered the economic anxieties of the families involved, the reality where the properties are located and the potential of technologies that can be used with success in terms of the profile of the properties. The decision in each of the properties were structured in meetings after the diagnosis of the property, including technicians and farmers during the beginning of the project. Corrective actions of short, medium and long term have been defined. The technicians took into consideration the managerial capacity that producers would be able to manage and succeed in their properties.

The work with the ranchers consisted in the deployment of technology processes involving his knowledge and traditional customs with the adaptation of the knowledge generated and available for research centers for more than 70 years, making it accessible to producers with low financial outlay, with management adaptation/adjustments in properties.

The proposed technologies for deployment in the six properties were:

Female reproduction management: Selection of the best females taking into consideration genetic gains of the herd, the intensification of the system by reducing the age of entoure females in one year (three for two years), looking for the stability of the herd through actions that influence directly in the zoo technical indexes (highest repetition of pregnancy, greater weight of the calf in weaning, lower mortality rate) such as: strategic health calendar, correct mineralization of summer and winter, pasture management to optimize forage production with quantity and quality for this category of the herd;

Selection of bulls with reproductive aptitude tests as andrological tests, bull/cow ratio, ideal reproductive age limit increasing reproductive efficiency and economic gains, genetic gains for the herd, are cares that reflect directly with expressive financial capital gain in a breeding herd. These actions increase the zootechnical rates reflecting in the first full cycle between the season and apart of calves(approximately 16 months in the project), increasing by approximately 25% the financial gain directly in the system.

From this first moment, when there was deployment of the proposed technologies, it was possible to increase the productive indexes, capitalizing the ranchers to carry out investment in liming, fertilizing, introduction of species for the improvement of natural pastures, and/or deployment of perennial pastures, generating intensification of production systems, offering food in greater quantity and better quality to the herd throughout the year.

As soon as the first positive results have been achieved, the properties began to be used as Demonstration Units in order to enable that the management and management actions were disseminated through rural extension methodologies adopted by EPAGRI, such as field days, tours and visits to properties in the region. All actions of massification of the information and data of the properties had as target audience family breeders of the region. The objective of the field day is to show the viability of techniques developed on property facing all the difficulties of everyday life. Having as main actors the producers as diffusers of the results, which demonstrates the loyalty of outreaches. The mobilization of producers is carried out by the Rural Association of EPAGRI of Lages and by host ranchers.

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

Among the results achieved with REPROTEC:

  • About 4,475 producers, technicians and students trained through field days, lectures, seminars, excursions within the goals and potential of the project, by the rural extension methodologies in 44 months of project implementation; 
  • Maintaining the culture, history and regional vocation for 14 families involved directly with the project;
  • The reference properties in the breeding system based on natural pastures during 40 months, had as a result 50% increase in birth rates in the herd, from an average rate of weaning of 50% to 75%. Enabling real gain in production system of 25% based on the increase of animals produced with the same maintenance fixed cost;
  • Weaning of calves 20% heavier than those indicated in the initial diagnosis of the project; with the increased weight of the calves to weaning and the improvement of the genetic quality of livestock, there are increases in revenue around 30% per animal;
  • Reducing the age of entoure of heifers in one year (from three to two years) on the properties accompanied by the project, increasing 25% in birth rates, allowing the commercialization of heavier calves. It is estimated with this reduction of the age of entoure 20% savings on the maintenance cost of females in breeding enabling to increase the disposal percentage;
  • Repetition of pregnancies of the turn of 92%, result of a productive goal of 1 calf/cow/year, significantly increasing the profitability of production systems;
  • In intensive production systems with complete cycle and with a larger proportion of the total area with cultivated pastures were obtained weaned calves with 230 kg of live weight, 92% of birth indexes of the herd, with productivity of 468 kg live weight/ha in pasture lands for termination; What matters in 30% increases in the weight of the weaned calves, 80% in birth rate;
  • Early British breeds animals were slaughtered to the yearling with average live weight 430 kg/head, with 53% of income of casting, finished on pasture with energy supplementation. Thus reaching a reduction in more than a year in the period of termination of animals for slaughter;
  • Preservation of the biodiversity of the land and altitude lands of the Atlantic Forest Biome, through soil conservation with proper management contributing on rangeland fire reduction of approximately 1,532.18 hectares;
  • Estimate of 150.218,00 tons of carbon sequestration per year with the application of good agricultural practices.

The project received in 2012 the Ecology Expression Award in the category of agriculture, sponsored annually by the Expression Editor and the Federation of Industry of the State of Santa Catarina (FIESC), competing with more than 130 projects in Brazil.

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The biggest financial disbursement in the six properties ranges from US$950,00 to US$1200,00/ha for deployment of pastures. Producers generally have machines and implements for deployment of pastures, in addition to the possibility of hiring third-party services or low-cost producers association.

The project featured a team of researchers and extension agents of the technical staff of the Experimental Station of Lages and Regional Management of Lages. Three top-level full-time technicians as project coordinators and seven top-level part-time (20% of time devoted to the project) technicians.

The project was funded by FAPESC, and the structure of equipment, payment of technicians, machinery and vehicles (2 planters, two vehicles and a truck) were made available by EPAGRI.

 

6 - TRANSFER

In this period we received several tours and technical visits of producers, associations, trade unions, universities, research centers of more than 50 municipalities in the three States of southern Brazil, such as Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina – Sombrio Campus, Federal University of Santa Catarina-Florianópolis, Campus and Curitibanos Campus, Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina-Campus Rio do Sul, Santa Catarina State University – Campus Lages Barriga Verde University – Campus Orleans, Association of Agronomists of the Sierra (ASSEA), Co-operative of Agronomists (UNEAGRO), Rural Union of Santa Cecilia, Rural Union of Campo Belo do Sul, integration and exchange of experiences club of Urubici.

More and more ranchers have sought technologies for application in its properties, there is a positive return of farmers applying the technologies proposed by the project. Especially efficient use of processes such as pasture management, crossbreeding, appropriate health management, among other things.

There is interest to extend this project to other regions of Santa Catarina, at this point the project has sought to empower technicians of private and public initiative as a way to multiplying the effort of multiplying positive experiences.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The results of the reference properties are encouraging in the sense of showing that it is possible to meet the local consumer market, and the transformation of production systems, through the tripod: heated market, motivated ranchers and technicians to take appropriate technologies into the gate.

The productive indexes reached raise the cattle at the same level of profitability that grain-intensive crops such as soya and maize.

Ranchers have been touched by the changes of the cattle scenarios, and responded with participation in dissemination actions promoted by the project. Through rural extension methodology used in different components we had the participation of over 4.475 producers, technicians, students and leaders in the events promoted in 40 months of project.

This situation brought visibility towards society, commitment of producers involved, and change of leadership posture in relation to the work of EPAGRI.

On the other hand, a growing public demand to be met to make real what we obtained in the reference properties, competitive and profitable cattle for ranchers of the Serra Catarinense family.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

The methodology of reference units and/or reference properties is a common practice of rural extension successfully developed in different cultures and realities. The differential of this proposal was to bring knowledge, i.e., process technologies and input technologies generated by research centers in an integrated manner with the rural extension in a systemic view that encompasses the concerns of the families involved and the potential soil from each reality. In this sense the project Together weCompete (Juntos para Competir) in Rio Grande do Sul developed by SENAR, FARSUL, SEBRAE and UFRGS has a similar methodology and was used as an example of success.

 

There is possibility to visit some units provided that a previous schedule is confirmed, preferably between the period from September to April, between Tuesday and Thursday.

Nº of visitors: Up to 50 people

 

Attachments:
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