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Argentine Feedlots Are There to Stay

Argentina taking the cattle out of the pastures to feed them out in lots.

The government of Argentina is financing the building of five major feedlots, with the capacity of 40,000 head of cattle in each. These yards are tailored for dairy bull calves to take them on for young steer beef.

Cattle grazing freely on the vast Pampas have long been a part of Argentine tradition, to see the vast numbers of cattle in feedlots is quite new. Breaking with tradition in Argentina does not come easy; however the feedlots are here to stay says farm leaders.

Historically one of the world's largest beef producers and an agricultural powerhouse, Argentina has been riding on the soy boom in recent years, becoming a top global soy exporter.

While prices have plummeted recently, farmers have been utilizing the feedlots to free up more land for the planting of soy in recent times. Today, there are an estimated 12 million head of cattle being fed in yards. This is triple the number of 5 years ago.

The cattle are finished in the yards for 120 days, with the exception of the dairy bull calves that go into yards from day one. The government is subsidizing feed lot cattle to the tune of $30 per head, which is a very big deal in Argentina, who rather than receive a subsidy to raise beef cattle, pay a 15% tax of the finished beef for export.

The people of Argentina consume 70 kilos of beef per capita per year, which is the highest rate in the world, therefore beef prices on the local market is a large political issue.