Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science Vol. 57, january-december 2023, ISSN: 2079-3480
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CU-ID: https://cu-id.com/1996/v57e15
Animal Science

Of grazing adjustment, from cattle farmers to consumers: an agroindustrial chain approach*Lecture presented at AgroPat 2022, Varadero, Cuba, 2022.

 

iDÁlvaro Simeone*✉:asimeone@adinet.com.uy

iDVirginia Beretta


Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de la República, Ruta 3, km 363, 60000, Paysandú, Uruguay

 

*Email: asimeone@adinet.com.uy

The main characteristics of the beef production chain are set out in order to identify the chain links that hamper its development. The Uruguayan experience is shown. The importance of the time devoted to the productive process as to biological particularities of the biological cycle of beef production and the multiplicity of products generated during the industrial stage are two of the traits that should be taken into account to design a strategy addressed to the development of this process. The application of production technologies that fasten cattle growth and fattening, as well as market differentiation to efficiently sell products (high- and low-quality meat cuts) and byproducts (hide, viscera, fat) are two alternatives that encourage beef production. The strategy implemented in Uruguay has permitted a significant reduction in slaughter age by including supplementation in enclosure feeding for cattle production systems. The development of a public policy based on obtainment of sanitary status, on total cattle traceability, and on an electronic information system in the beef industry has allowed gaining international confidence, reflected in entering the most demanding markets, besides fulfilling the domestic market intake.

Key words: 
cattle, industry, markets, case study

Received: 05/1/2022; Accepted: 22/2/2022

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there was not conflict among them.

Conflicto de intereses: Los autores declaran que no existe conflicto entre ellos.

CONTENT

Beef production worldwide is about 72 million tons per year (FAO 2022 FAO. 2022. Meat market review. Overview of market and policy developments 2021. Rome. Available: <https://www.fao.org/3/cc0984en/cc0984en.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022] ), which implies an annual average beef intake of 9 kg per person for planet inhabitants. Although specific recommendations on the amount of red meat that should be periodically ingested vary according to country, most of them suggest a maximum intake of 500 g of red meat per week (EUFIC 2022 Consejo Europeo de Información sobre la Alimentación (EUFIC). 2022. ¿Qué tan perjudicial es comer carne (roja) para nuestra salud y el medioambiente?, Available: https://www.eufic.org/es/vidasana/articulo/que-tan-perjudicial-es-comer-carne-roja-para-nuestra-salud-y-el-medioambiente/ [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ), which is equivalent to an annual average intake of 26 kg of meat. This difference shows the important margin of action to reach beef intake as protein source in the world’s population and to, thus, have an adequate feeding according to such standards. This poses the challenge of analyzing red meat production to fulfill such goal. The discussion of an agroindustrial complex with a chain approach permits identifying critical points in the whole process from production to intake.

The aim of this study was to make a brief characterization of the red meat production chain to identify possible chain links in which there are improvement opportunities for better economic and social outcome. For such purposes, information about the Uruguayan experience will be used to exemplify some processes of change recorded in the red meat productive model that have had an important impact on this country from the economic and social point of view.

Particularities of the beef value chain. A food value chain (FVA) implies activities and processes developed sequentially in its numerous links having as goal to fulfill the consumer’s demand through productive, economic, financial, informative and analytic functions (Briz et al. 2009, cited by Briz et al. 2010 Briz, J., De Felipe, I. & Briz, T. 2010. La cadena de valor agroalimentaria: un enfoque metodológico. Boletín económico del ICE, Información Comercial Española, ISSN: 0214-8307, Nº 2983, p. 45‐54. ). In beef production, the food chain comprises all the activities starting in the rural environment with cattle breeding and ending in the commercialization of the end product for the final consumer, whether for the domestic market or the foreign market via exports. In this process, different stages can be identified: like the primary production stage (rearing, growing, fattening), marketing with or without middlemen, transport, slaughter, industrial processing, and selling to domestic consumers or exports.

The beef chain has two traits that turn out to be of fundamental relevance for an analysis to identify chain links that could enhance its bio-economical efficiency and that differentiate it from other agri-food chains. These two traits are the importance of the time devoted to the whole productive process, and the multiplicity of products.

In regards to the former, the beef productive process is characterized by the long duration of the different chain links. Nine months of gestation, six months of lactation, one or two years invested in growing, three or four months in fattening, and a period of around two months for slaughter, storage, freezing or vacuum packing and marketing give the beef chain high interest cost for the capital invested in every chain link. Thus, reduction of time involved in each chain link constitutes a key element to make the whole process more efficient and, hence, improve business profitability. This does not happen in the chicken or pork productive chains, productions in which time is shorter in each stage. Acknowledging time as limiting factor in the beef productive chain poses the challenge of analyzing every chain link critically to identify opportunities and reduce invested time. Certainly, overcoming time limitations demands primarily from chain links corresponding to rearing, growing and fattening, and not that much from industrial and commercial stages.

Figure 1 represents graphically the importance of time in the beef productive chain and the different chain components in which action can be conducted to improve this aspect. In this figure, the approach is organized from conception to intake (Taylor 1994 Taylor, R.E. 1994. Beef Production and Management Decisions, 2nd Edition, Macmillan Publishing Company, N.Y. ), which symbolizes the process that goes from fertilization, represented by numerous spermatozoids and an ovule, up to the final consumer, represented by a beef portion on a costumer’s dish. In the hourglass verticals (symbolizing time function as process limitation), the business structure may be observed in each component of the beef productive model, as well as the information flow needed to make it a more efficient and profitable process.

Figure 1.  Schematic representation of the beef productive chain, with emphasis on the importance of time during the process from the country field up to the dish

In respect to the second trait, the beef productive chain acquires a particular complexity because, unlike other processes where only one product is generated as the result of the productive process (for instance, fruit and vegetables), in the beef productive model, multiple products are generated: dozens of beef cuts from the hind or the shoulder blade, with or without bone, edible viscera, hide, bone, blood, and fat, among others. This poses an important challenge to apply the chain approach to the beef productive model since it is necessary to analyze carefully in which way each of the chain links affects each product obtained. For instance, beef production of quality implies, for the most demanding markets, a minimum ratio of intramuscular fat, mainly in the hind cuts. Due to the fat deposition pattern, according to the fattening time (loin-head and ventral-dorsal), overfattening is shown in some beef cuts of the shoulder blades with bone, which could be less desirable under these conditions for consumers. This compels to establish a relation among different chain links to organize a design of multiple markets for each type of slaughtered cattle, and to consider different destinations for meat cuts for different consumers. Unlike what it is said, in order to analyze the time limitation, the problematic associated with the multiplicity of products affects the industrial and commercial stages. Figure 2 shows schematically the particular logic of the beef productive chain in respect to other more conventional productive chains.

Figure 2.  Schematic representation of the particularity of the beef chain in respect to more conventional productive chains (relationship between production factors and amount of end products obtained)

These two traits of the beef productive chain makes it particularly complex when analyzing ways of improvement, and it is precisely the chain approach the one that permits identifying the opportunities for strengthening each link in the chain. Table 1 provides these two peculiarities: the chain links where the peculiarity could be overcome and the ways to improve it.

Table 1.  Identification of the chain links in which answers could be found to surpass the two limitations of the process
Identification of the limiting factor Chain link in which limitation could be overcome Ways of improvement Main inputs for attaining the goals
Limitation 1: Time spent in the whole process due to length of biological processes Rearing, growing and fattening Production technologies that speed up productive processes Information from local and international research
Limitation 2: Multiplicity of generated products that can cause certain productive unbalance Refrigeration industry and final marketing Adjustment of industrial processing and commercial engineering for placement of all products Information on productive industrial processing and market analysis

Development of the beef productive chain: The Uruguayan case. Uruguay is eminently a cattle producer devoting 12 million hectares to cattle breeding for beef production, which represents 70 % of the total surface of the country. The stock consists of 11,800,000 head of cattle (INAC 2022a Instituto Nacional de Carne (INAC). 2022a. Serie anual- bovinos y ovinos por edad. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/5542/10/innova.front/stock> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ), showing an indicator of 3.4 animals/inhabitant. The raising of cattle is primarily pastoral, based on 80 % natural fields and 20 % sown pastures or improved natural fields (DIEA 2021 Dirección de Estadísticas Agropecuarias (DIEA – MGAP). 2021. Anuario estadístico agropecuario 2021, Available: <https://descargas.mgap.gub.uy/DIEA/Anuarios/Anuario2021/LIBRO%20ANUARIO%202021%20Web.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ). The raising is carried out by around 44,000 cattle farmers (DIEA 2021 Dirección de Estadísticas Agropecuarias (DIEA – MGAP). 2021. Anuario estadístico agropecuario 2021, Available: <https://descargas.mgap.gub.uy/DIEA/Anuarios/Anuario2021/LIBRO%20ANUARIO%202021%20Web.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ). The beef production complex of Uruguay has an annual production of 550,000 tons of beef, and around 70 % is exported and 30 % is devoted to the domestic market (INAC 2017 Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2017. Uruguay, país ganadero. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/3104/17/innova.front/uruguay-pais-ganadero#:~:text=Uruguay%20es%20uno%20de%20los,el%20bienestar%20de%20los%20animales [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ). Even with this low ratio of the total production devoted to domestic consumption; Uruguay has a beef intake per inhabitant of 46 kg/year (INAC 2022b Instituto Nacional de Carne (INAC). 2022b. Mercado Doméstico. Consumo de carne. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/18275/10/innova.front/consumo> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ). Therefore, it is considered as one of the highest worldwide.

When considering the two limitations that affect the beef production chain, it is of interest to analyze ways of improvement that have been followed by this country to solve this problematic at the level of national resolution.

Time in primary beef production in Uruguay. Due to the biological impossibility of reducing gestation time, the real possibility of diminishing the length of the productive processes during the primary stage of the chain would be the reduction in the slaughtering age, which is attained mainly due to improvement in growing and fattening processes. This approach is the one followed in Uruguay. Figure 3 shows cattle slaughtering progress during the last 20 years at two ages of young cattle.

Figure 3.  Progress in slaughtered cattle number in Uruguay at two ages of young cattle in the 2001-2021 period (Source: INAC 2022c Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2022c. Serie anual faena - bovinos por categoría y edad según departamento de origen del ganado. Desde Año 1991. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/5539/10/innova.front/faena> [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. )

Although the amount of slaughtered cattle with temporary teeth is lower than the number of slaughtered cattle older than three years of age; in the historical series considered, there are records of a rate of almost 4,000 head of increment per year for younger cattle. If this trend is kept and continued as to slaughtering age in the last twenty years, this could have important implications in cattle stock composition, which could increase the number of cows reared and, thus, herd productivity in Uruguay. The outcome of this trend in oxen slaughtering may also be seen when the grouping of slaughtered cattle is performed annually by classifying steers into four categories: steers with temporary teeth, steers with two to four teeth, steers with six teeth, and steers with eight teeth. The results of this classification for 2002 and 2021 are shown in figure 4.

Figure 4.  Classification of steers according to slaughtering age, years 2002 and 2021 (Source: Elaborated according to the web page of the Instituto Nacional de Carnes of Uruguay, INAC 2022c Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2022c. Serie anual faena - bovinos por categoría y edad según departamento de origen del ganado. Desde Año 1991. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/5539/10/innova.front/faena> [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. )

The lower incidence on annual national slaughtering in total head of cattle as percent form in steers with eight teeth in the slaughtering of 2021, as compared to that of 2002, as well as the increase in the slaughtering of young cattle (steers with temporary teeth and steers with two to four teeth) marks a significant reduction in the average age of steers at slaughtering. Nevertheless, given this empirical evidence in regards to slaughtering age reduction, one could ask what sort of technology has been adopted by cattle farmers to attain these indices. Such question gains particular relevance when considering the high proportion of natural fields (of low productivity) in regards to the surface devoted to cattle grazing. The use of tools such as supplementation in grazing conditions and the strategic enclosure included in silvopastoral systems could account for this improvement in the individual performance during growing and fattening. In Uruguay, an important volume of information has been generated about the response to the use of supplements in growing and fattening in grazing conditions. Likewise, abundant information has been generated about the strategies of insertion of enclosure for growing and fattening cattle. Table 2 summarizes the information generated mostly in the Intensive Beef Production Unit (UPIC)1UPIC: it is an experimental unit located in the Cassinoni Experimental Station (EEMAC), in the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of the Republic in Uruguay. EEMAC is located in the department of Paysandú, on the western coast of the country. of the Agronomy Faculty at the University of the Republic, as to technological alternatives, physical results, and technical coefficients that permit to assess the economic outcome.

Table 2.  Technologies developed in Uruguay to improve animal performance in terms of liveweight gain and conversion efficiency in growing and fattening beef cattle
Technology designed to improve liveweight gain in the conditions of Uruguay using feeds added to forage from direct grazing or in enclosure situation Response expected in weight gain, kg/d Conversion efficiency References
Early weaning in pen with ad libitum feeding (EWP system) 1.200 4.0:1 2
Ad libitum supplementation of nursing calves (Creep Feeding) 1.200 1 5.0:1 3
Supplementation of calves (1 % LW) in natural field in winter 0.400 1 4.0:1 4, 5, 6
Supplementation of calves (1 % LW) in grassland in winter 0.250 1 5.0:1 7
Enclosure of calves on ad libitum feeding in winter 1.000 6.0:1 8, 9
Supplementation of growing steers (1 % LW) in pastures sown in summer 0.400 1 6.0:1 10
Supplementation of fattening steers (1 % LW) in pastures sown in autumn 0.750 1 5.0:1 11
Fattening of steers in pen on ad libitum feeding 1.400 8.5:1 12, 13

1Corresponds to weight gain difference between grazing animals with and without supplementation. In enclosure, conversion corresponds to total dry matter intake (kg), in respect to total liveweight gain (kg/day).

2Beretta et al. (2012)Beretta, V., Simeone, A., Elizalde, J., Caorsi, C.J. & Lamarca, M. 2012. Destete precoz a corral: ¿una nueva herramienta para una nueva cría?. 14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una nueva cría, un nuevo engorde, una nueva ganadería, Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 14-27., 3Simeone et al. 2016 Simeone A., Beretta, V., Olaizola, J., Piegas, J.M. & Silvera, X. 2016. Restricted or ad libitum creep feeding of nursing beef calves grazing native pastures. 67th Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Belfast. Wageningen Academic Publishers: Wageningen. Book of Abstracts, 22:142. ,4Blasina et al. (2010) Blasina, M., Piñeyrúa, A. & Renau, M. 2010. Evaluación del sistema de autoconsumo para la suplementación invernal de terneras sobre pasturas naturales. Tesis Ing. Agr. Montevideo, Uruguay. Universidad de la República. Facultad de Agronomía. ,5,6Quintans et al. (1993 Quintans, G., Vaz Martins, D. & Carriquiry, E. 1993. Efecto de la suplementación invernal sobre el comportamiento de terneras. En: Campo Natural. Estrategia Invernal, Manejo y Suplementación (1993, Treinta y Tres). Montevideo: INIA. (Actividades de Difusión No. 49) p. 35-53. ; 1994) Quintans, G., Vaz Martins, D. & Carriquiry, E. 1994. Alternativas de suplementación de vaquillonas. En: Jornada Técnica sobre Bovinos para Carne (1994, Treinta y Tres). Avances en la suplementación de la recría e invernada intensiva. Montevideo: INIA. (Actividades de Difusión No. 34). p. 2-9. , 7Beretta and Simeone (2008)Beretta, V. & Simeone, A. 2008. Suplementación de terneros en invierno sobre pasturas sembradas. En.: Una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne, Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 32-34., 8,9Simeone et al. (2008a Simeone, A., Beretta, V. & Elizalde, J.C. 2008a. Encierre de terneros o sistema ADT. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente, Paysandú: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 38-41. , 2012) Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Elizalde, J.C. & Caorsi. C.J. 2012. Agregando valor a la cría: sistema ADT (Alimentación Diferencial del Ternero). 14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una nueva cría, un nuevo engorde, una nueva ganadería., Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 28-37. , 10Beretta et al. (2006) Beretta, V., Simeone, A., Elizalde, J.C. & Baldi, F. 2006. "Performance of growing cattle grazing moderate quality legume-grass temperate pastures when offered varying forage allowance with or without grain supplementation". Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46(6-7): 793-797, ISSN: 1446-5574. http://doi.org/10.1071/EA05331. , 11Simeone et al. (2008b) Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Elizalde, J.C. & Franco, J. 2008b. Suplementación otoñal de novillos en engorde. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente. Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía, p. 24-28. and 12,13Simeone et al. (2013 Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Franco, J., Aznarez, V., Elizalde, J.C., Piñeyrúa, D., Pisón A. & Preve. F.A. 2013. Effect of sorghum grain processing on steer feedlot performance and carcass traits. Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition, Australia (2013): Abst. UNE. Armidale p. 59-60. 2018) Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Buffa, J., Canan, G., Varalla, D. & Miranda, D. 2018. Analizando los factores que inciden sobre la eficiencia de conversión de un corral de engorde. 20° Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: 20 años de investigación para una ganadería más rentable, Paysandú: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 54-63. .

Information in table 2 evidences that technological alternatives have been developed in Uruguay to improve individual performance in growing and fattening beef cattle efficiently as to the attainment of the productive objective, and they have been efficient, from the economic standpoint, in a wide scenario of prices for inputs and products. This scientific evidence has been assimilated by the beef chain, which has represented a very important modification in Uruguay. Besides information related to slaughtering age reduction, a fact that turns to be quite illustrative is the one referring to the percentage of slaughtered animals from pen feeding systems, which progressed from almost zero in the 90’s to 10 % in 2015 (Acosta, personal communication) and there is a prediction of getting up to 20 % at the close of 2022. The increasing demand of the markets for meat cuts from carcasses of more than 260 kg, and quality demands associated with pen fattening, as well as the availability of technological information on the use of enclosure based on feeds and local byproducts, suggest that this trend is going to be kept in future years.

Multiplicity of products generated in the chain and commercial engineering. The multiplicity of products generated by the beef chain provides a wide range that goes from thin beefsteak with high ratio of intramuscular fat (marbling) up to innards (rumen and reticulum). The strategy followed by different agents related to industrialization and marketing of the beef chain in Uruguay has been that of multiplying the options of final destination for products through the opening of international markets. Thus, beef products from Uruguay reach more than 100 countries, and represent the main exported good due to better prices and higher volumes of exports (INAC 2017 Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2017. Uruguay, país ganadero. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/3104/17/innova.front/uruguay-pais-ganadero#:~:text=Uruguay%20es%20uno%20de%20los,el%20bienestar%20de%20los%20animales [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ). Therefore, increments are recorded above those for cellulose and soybean. In order to get to this situation, the Uruguayan beef chain has strengthened since 2002 because of a strategy of a public policy based on two key traits: (a) the goal of attaining certain sanitary status, according to the demands of the most demanding importing countries, and (b) the creation of a cattle information system, based on the traceability of all the cattle in the country, and an electronic information system for the beef industry with state-of-the-art technology.

In respect to the sanitary status, the beef chain from Uruguay dealt a blow in 2001 with the outbreak of aphtose fever in the country. After several years of total absence of this disease during the 90’s, the country was free of aphtose fever without vaccination. Consequently, in April 2001, Uruguay underwent the closing of the most important foreign markets with the corresponding economic and social consequences for the country. After some years, this situation was changed on the basis of a strategy of information transparency to the OIE (International Office of Epizootics) and the application of a strict sanitary control to fight against the spread of this disease, along with strategy of vaccination against aphtose fever, free and compulsory for all cattle farmers. As a consequence of this strategy of public policy, finally Uruguay attained the sanitary status of country free of aphtose fever with vaccination. Later, two other qualifications were added to this one. They were associated with the rank of country with negligible risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and African horse sickness, free of classic swine fever, small ruminant plague, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, and horse sickness (MGAP 2020 Ministerio de Ganadería Agricultura y Pesca (MGAP). 2020. OIE ratifica estatus sanitarios de Uruguay en las enfermedades prioritarias. Available: <https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-ganaderia-agricultura-pesca/node/10419>[Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ); thereby permitting Uruguay to have access to markets with purchasing power, and positive consequences for the price of its main exportable item.

In regards to cattle traceability in Uruguay, since September 2006, it was stipulated that all cattle were identified with electronic and visual ear tags in order to guarantee their traceability. Uruguay is the only country in the world with all the cattle identified. This is a key element to put beef products in the foreign market since there is documented information available to make auditing easier for foreign countries, besides providing documented evidence for marketing with subjective trust arguments as to the origin and the possibility of creating more complex and sophisticated protocol systems. Besides, cattle farmers can have accurate and transparent data of every animal in the slaughtering process, and can plan the destination of the products according to the requirements of some markets in the productive and commercial plants, among many other benefits” (INAC 2016 Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2016. 10 años de Trazabilidad. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/13268/17/innova.front/10-anos-de-trazabilidad [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ).

Along with cattle traceability, Uruguay has developed an electronic system of information of the whole industrial process in each refrigeration plant, based on setting control spots where information accumulated is recorded in black boxes, similar to those on planes. It is an electronic system to capture data from seven automatic weight recording spots during the process that goes from cattle incorporation to slaughtering houses up to their transformation into beef, and later sending to domestic or foreign markets. The seven spots are the following: (1) liveweight in the farm, (2) bleeding, (3) dressing, (4) post-dressing classification, (5) entrance to deboning, (6) deboning and packaging, and (7) delivery of beef cuts with bones and delivery of beef boxes (INAC 2022d Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2022d. SEIIC. Sistema electrónico de Información de la Industria Cárnica. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/16710/1/seiic-2.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022] ). This volume of information is later centered in a unique database and is given to the cattle farmer and the industrial processer, thereby unifying the level of information for the different beef chain links. This system guarantees greater transparency in the whole process, and grants added value when products are placed in foreign markets. Figure 5 shows the destination of the beef exports from Uruguay in 2021.

Figure 5.  Beef exports (tons, percentage out of the total) by Uruguay in 2021

Although China represents 59 % of the total volume, this market has great potential of compensation in respect to others, which generates an important commercial synergy. Access to the largest possible number of markets constitutes an efficient tool to solve the problematic of multiplicity of products in the beef chain, and avoids having unbalances in product demands. Hereafter, some examples are presented about the commercial logistics that allows a wide range of products.

  1. Commercialization of shoulder blade and hind products from the same slaughter. The combination of markets specialized in shoulder blade cuts such as the Kosher market2Posteriormente, se hacen inspecciones, como el inflado de los pulmones para descartar adherencias pleuropulmo. Definition given to the prepared foods according to the feeding Judaic laws established in the Tora (Jew law book). In the case of the Kosher beef, should come from the slaughtered animals under religious supervision; the animal should not previously insensitive and should slit the throat with a special knife which sectioned the big vessels (carotid artery and jugular vein). Later, inspections are made, as the lung inflation to discard pleura- pulmonary adhesions. The approved carcass are rigorously identified (Robaina 2002). and markets specialized in hind cuts such as the Hilton quota, permits a complement of most part of the beef products at good prices in terms of carcass average.

  2. Commercialization of products in the international market of beef cuts without bones and beef cuts with bones, from the same slaughter. The possibility of placing high-quality beef cuts (Hilton quota3The Hilton quota is a customs quota of the European Union (UE), originated in the Tokyo Round of the GATT in the year 1980. It comprises high-quality meat cuts and started in 1,000 tons of weight of product granted to Uruguay, out of a total of 21,000. After a series of increments, at present, it corresponds to 6,300 tons, out of a total of 58,100. The customs tariff of the Hilton quota is 20 %. Beef exports to the EU not included in this quota, have a customs tariff of 12.8 % plus 1.764 at 3,041 Euros/ton of specific rights, according to the product (Robaina 2002). or quota 4814The 481 quota is a customs quota of the European Union, with 0% of rights of import for fresh meat of high quality, refrigerated or frozen. Meat should come from steers or heifers of less than 30 months of age, that in 100 days prior to slaughter have been fed rations defined as to minimum percentages of concentrates, metabolizable energy and dry matter in respect to liveweight (Robaina 2002).), with beef cuts with bones together with certain amount of beef for the Chinese market, permits a better use of the carcass making more efficient the industrial process.

  3. Specialization of links of the beef chain in markets that demand products from cattle fed in pens and fed on pasture. The total traceability of the cattle guarantees importers to know the beef origin, as to the feeding system, with unequivocal positive consequences in terms of specialization of the productive process. The emergence of the quota 481 market that demands beef from pen-fed cattle, combined with the Hilton quota, which requests cattle fed exclusively on pasture, has played a dynamic function for the beef productive chain.

  4. The balance between beef cuts with bones primarily for the domestic market and beef cuts without bones for exports permits the industry and important complement to avoid unbalances in terms of carcass meat produced.

  5. The development, though still incipient, of markets demanding beef with high level of marbling5Indicator of the quality of the intramuscular fat that is assessed by visual inspection of the beefsteak. In general, a scale of six degrees is used. Marbling acts as double indicator, qualitative and quantitative. It is related to the amount of intramuscular fat and meat juiciness. Fat abundance is a meat quality indicator for certain markets. Nevertheless, it imposes limitations because marbling increment implies low ratio in lean meat percentage in cattle (Robaina 2002). from heavy carcasses (350 kg of carcass weight), has promoted a segment specialized in the production of cattle specifically for this product, with important implications in rearing, growing, fattening, industrial processing, and commercialization.

This national strategy, as public policy to strengthen the beef productive chain, has allowed, besides fulfilling the demand of the domestic market, the access to most demanding markets such as Europe, United States, Japan, Israel, and the Russian Federation, among others.

Final considerations

 

Global beef consumption is around 8 kilos per person per year, while WHO recommends an intake of 25 kg per person per year, which marks an important growth margin for this protein source, and an opportunity of growth for producing countries. The approach of agri-food chain permits analyzing critically all the links in the chain in order to identify the points that need to be strengthened. Nevertheless, the beef chain shows two particularities that hamper the analysis. The long periods from the biological standpoint, mainly in the primary production stage, compel to formulate technological alternatives that redirect production to remove this limitation. Likewise, the multiplicity of products obtained forces to analyze the logistics of marketing to compensate that produced by an animal and put it in different markets. The Uruguayan experience has been enriching because it has attained a technological adoption process on the part of the cattle farmers that has been reflected on labor age. At the same time, the development of a public policy based on the obtainment of a sanitary status, the total traceability of the cattle and an electronic information system in the meat industry have allowed to gain international confidence, reflected in the entrance to the most demanding markets, besides fulfilling the domestic market intake.

Notas

 
*

Lecture presented at AgroPat 2022, Varadero, Cuba, 2022.

1

UPIC: it is an experimental unit located in the Cassinoni Experimental Station (EEMAC), in the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of the Republic in Uruguay. EEMAC is located in the department of Paysandú, on the western coast of the country.

2

Posteriormente, se hacen inspecciones, como el inflado de los pulmones para descartar adherencias pleuropulmo. Definition given to the prepared foods according to the feeding Judaic laws established in the Tora (Jew law book). In the case of the Kosher beef, should come from the slaughtered animals under religious supervision; the animal should not previously insensitive and should slit the throat with a special knife which sectioned the big vessels (carotid artery and jugular vein). Later, inspections are made, as the lung inflation to discard pleura- pulmonary adhesions. The approved carcass are rigorously identified (Robaina 2002 Robaina, R. 2002. Algunas definiciones prácticas. Glosario recopilado y redactado por Ricardo Robaina. Presentado en el 2º Congreso del Campo al Plato (2002) y con actualizaciones en el 2009 y 2012. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/6351/1/algunas_definiciones_practicas.pdf [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ).

3

The Hilton quota is a customs quota of the European Union (UE), originated in the Tokyo Round of the GATT in the year 1980. It comprises high-quality meat cuts and started in 1,000 tons of weight of product granted to Uruguay, out of a total of 21,000. After a series of increments, at present, it corresponds to 6,300 tons, out of a total of 58,100. The customs tariff of the Hilton quota is 20 %. Beef exports to the EU not included in this quota, have a customs tariff of 12.8 % plus 1.764 at 3,041 Euros/ton of specific rights, according to the product (Robaina 2002 Robaina, R. 2002. Algunas definiciones prácticas. Glosario recopilado y redactado por Ricardo Robaina. Presentado en el 2º Congreso del Campo al Plato (2002) y con actualizaciones en el 2009 y 2012. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/6351/1/algunas_definiciones_practicas.pdf [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ).

4

The 481 quota is a customs quota of the European Union, with 0% of rights of import for fresh meat of high quality, refrigerated or frozen. Meat should come from steers or heifers of less than 30 months of age, that in 100 days prior to slaughter have been fed rations defined as to minimum percentages of concentrates, metabolizable energy and dry matter in respect to liveweight (Robaina 2002 Robaina, R. 2002. Algunas definiciones prácticas. Glosario recopilado y redactado por Ricardo Robaina. Presentado en el 2º Congreso del Campo al Plato (2002) y con actualizaciones en el 2009 y 2012. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/6351/1/algunas_definiciones_practicas.pdf [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ).

5

Indicator of the quality of the intramuscular fat that is assessed by visual inspection of the beefsteak. In general, a scale of six degrees is used. Marbling acts as double indicator, qualitative and quantitative. It is related to the amount of intramuscular fat and meat juiciness. Fat abundance is a meat quality indicator for certain markets. Nevertheless, it imposes limitations because marbling increment implies low ratio in lean meat percentage in cattle (Robaina 2002 Robaina, R. 2002. Algunas definiciones prácticas. Glosario recopilado y redactado por Ricardo Robaina. Presentado en el 2º Congreso del Campo al Plato (2002) y con actualizaciones en el 2009 y 2012. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/6351/1/algunas_definiciones_practicas.pdf [Consulted: August 11, 2022]. ).

References

 

Beretta, V. & Simeone, A. 2008. Suplementación de terneros en invierno sobre pasturas sembradas. En.: Una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne, Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 32-34.

Beretta, V., Simeone, A., Elizalde, J.C. & Baldi, F. 2006. "Performance of growing cattle grazing moderate quality legume-grass temperate pastures when offered varying forage allowance with or without grain supplementation". Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46(6-7): 793-797, ISSN: 1446-5574. http://doi.org/10.1071/EA05331.

Beretta, V., Simeone, A., Elizalde, J., Caorsi, C.J. & Lamarca, M. 2012. Destete precoz a corral: ¿una nueva herramienta para una nueva cría?. 14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una nueva cría, un nuevo engorde, una nueva ganadería, Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 14-27.

Blasina, M., Piñeyrúa, A. & Renau, M. 2010. Evaluación del sistema de autoconsumo para la suplementación invernal de terneras sobre pasturas naturales. Tesis Ing. Agr. Montevideo, Uruguay. Universidad de la República. Facultad de Agronomía.

Briz, J., De Felipe, I. & Briz, T. 2010. La cadena de valor agroalimentaria: un enfoque metodológico. Boletín económico del ICE, Información Comercial Española, ISSN: 0214-8307, Nº 2983, p. 45‐54.

Consejo Europeo de Información sobre la Alimentación (EUFIC). 2022. ¿Qué tan perjudicial es comer carne (roja) para nuestra salud y el medioambiente?, Available: https://www.eufic.org/es/vidasana/articulo/que-tan-perjudicial-es-comer-carne-roja-para-nuestra-salud-y-el-medioambiente/ [Consulted: July 25, 2022].

Dirección de Estadísticas Agropecuarias (DIEA – MGAP). 2021. Anuario estadístico agropecuario 2021, Available: <https://descargas.mgap.gub.uy/DIEA/Anuarios/Anuario2021/LIBRO%20ANUARIO%202021%20Web.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022].

FAO. 2022. Meat market review. Overview of market and policy developments 2021. Rome. Available: <https://www.fao.org/3/cc0984en/cc0984en.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]

Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2016. 10 años de Trazabilidad. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/13268/17/innova.front/10-anos-de-trazabilidad [Consulted: July 25, 2022].

Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2017. Uruguay, país ganadero. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/3104/17/innova.front/uruguay-pais-ganadero#:~:text=Uruguay%20es%20uno%20de%20los,el%20bienestar%20de%20los%20animales [Consulted: August 11, 2022].

Instituto Nacional de Carne (INAC). 2022a. Serie anual- bovinos y ovinos por edad. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/5542/10/innova.front/stock> [Consulted: July 25, 2022].

Instituto Nacional de Carne (INAC). 2022b. Mercado Doméstico. Consumo de carne. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/18275/10/innova.front/consumo> [Consulted: July 25, 2022].

Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2022c. Serie anual faena - bovinos por categoría y edad según departamento de origen del ganado. Desde Año 1991. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/v/5539/10/innova.front/faena> [Consulted: August 11, 2022].

Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC). 2022d. SEIIC. Sistema electrónico de Información de la Industria Cárnica. Available: <https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/16710/1/seiic-2.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022]

Ministerio de Ganadería Agricultura y Pesca (MGAP). 2020. OIE ratifica estatus sanitarios de Uruguay en las enfermedades prioritarias. Available: <https://www.gub.uy/ministerio-ganaderia-agricultura-pesca/node/10419>[Consulted: August 11, 2022].

Quintans, G., Vaz Martins, D. & Carriquiry, E. 1993. Efecto de la suplementación invernal sobre el comportamiento de terneras. En: Campo Natural. Estrategia Invernal, Manejo y Suplementación (1993, Treinta y Tres). Montevideo: INIA. (Actividades de Difusión No. 49) p. 35-53.

Quintans, G., Vaz Martins, D. & Carriquiry, E. 1994. Alternativas de suplementación de vaquillonas. En: Jornada Técnica sobre Bovinos para Carne (1994, Treinta y Tres). Avances en la suplementación de la recría e invernada intensiva. Montevideo: INIA. (Actividades de Difusión No. 34). p. 2-9.

Robaina, R. 2002. Algunas definiciones prácticas. Glosario recopilado y redactado por Ricardo Robaina. Presentado en el 2º Congreso del Campo al Plato (2002) y con actualizaciones en el 2009 y 2012. Available: https://www.inac.uy/innovaportal/file/6351/1/algunas_definiciones_practicas.pdf [Consulted: August 11, 2022].

Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Buffa, J., Canan, G., Varalla, D. & Miranda, D. 2018. Analizando los factores que inciden sobre la eficiencia de conversión de un corral de engorde. 20° Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: 20 años de investigación para una ganadería más rentable, Paysandú: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 54-63.

Simeone, A., Beretta, V. & Elizalde, J.C. 2008a. Encierre de terneros o sistema ADT. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente, Paysandú: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 38-41.

Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Elizalde, J.C. & Caorsi. C.J. 2012. Agregando valor a la cría: sistema ADT (Alimentación Diferencial del Ternero). 14a Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una nueva cría, un nuevo engorde, una nueva ganadería., Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía. p. 28-37.

Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Elizalde, J.C. & Franco, J. 2008b. Suplementación otoñal de novillos en engorde. 10ª Jornada Anual de la Unidad de Producción Intensiva de Carne: una década de investigación para una ganadería más eficiente. Paysandú, Uruguay: Facultad de Agronomía, p. 24-28.

Simeone, A., Beretta, V., Franco, J., Aznarez, V., Elizalde, J.C., Piñeyrúa, D., Pisón A. & Preve. F.A. 2013. Effect of sorghum grain processing on steer feedlot performance and carcass traits. Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition, Australia (2013): Abst. UNE. Armidale p. 59-60.

Simeone A., Beretta, V., Olaizola, J., Piegas, J.M. & Silvera, X. 2016. Restricted or ad libitum creep feeding of nursing beef calves grazing native pastures. 67th Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Belfast. Wageningen Academic Publishers: Wageningen. Book of Abstracts, 22:142.

Taylor, R.E. 1994. Beef Production and Management Decisions, 2nd Edition, Macmillan Publishing Company, N.Y.

Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science Vol. 57, january-december 2023, ISSN: 2079-3480
 
Ciencia Animal

Del ajuste del pastoreo, del productor ganadero al consumidor: un enfoque de cadena agroindustrial*Conferencia presentada en AgroPat 2022, Varadero, Cuba, 2022.

 

iDÁlvaro Simeone*✉:asimeone@adinet.com.uy

iDVirginia Beretta


Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de la República, Ruta 3, km 363, 60000, Paysandú, Uruguay

 

*Email: asimeone@adinet.com.uy

Se exponen las principales características de la cadena productiva de la carne de res, a los efectos de identificar los eslabones que limitan su desarrollo. Se presenta la experiencia de Uruguay. La importancia del tiempo invertido en el proceso productivo, en cuanto a las particularidades biológicas del ciclo de producción de carne bovina y la multiplicidad de productos generados durante la fase industrial, son dos características que se deben considerar para diseñar una estrategia encaminada al desarrollo de dicho proceso. La aplicación de tecnologías de producción que aceleren el proceso de crecimiento y engorde, así como la diferenciación de mercados, que permitan la colocación eficiente de productos (cortes de carne de alta y baja calidad) y subproductos (cuero, vísceras, sebo) son dos alternativas que posibilitan traccionar el proceso productivo de la carne de res. La estrategia implementada por Uruguay ha permitido una significativa reducción en la edad de faena mediante la incorporación de la suplementación combinada con la alimentación a corral en los sistemas de producción ganaderos. El desarrollo de una política pública, basada en la obtención de un estatus sanitario, en la trazabilidad total del ganado y en un sistema de información electrónica en la industria cárnica, le han permitido generar una confianza internacional, que se refleja en el ingreso a los mercados más exigentes, además de satisfacer el consumo del mercado doméstico.

Palabras clave: 
vacunos, industria, mercados, estudio de caso

La producción de carne de bovino en el mundo se encuentra en torno a 72 millones de toneladas por año (FAO 2022 FAO. 2022. Meat market review. Overview of market and policy developments 2021. Rome. Available: <https://www.fao.org/3/cc0984en/cc0984en.pdf> [Consulted: July 25, 2022] ), lo que implica un consumo de carne promedio anual de 9 kg por persona por habitante en el planeta. Si bien la recomendación específica sobre la cantidad de carne roja que se debe ingerir periódicamente varía según el país, la mayoría sugiere una ingesta máxima de 500 g de carne roja por semana (EUFIC 2022 Consejo Europeo de Información sobre la Alimentación (EUFIC). 2022. ¿Qué tan perjudicial es comer carne (roja) para nuestra salud y el medioambiente?, Available: https://www.eufic.org/es/vidasana/articulo/que-tan-perjudicial-es-comer-carne-roja-para-nuestra-salud-y-el-medioambiente/ [Consulted: July 25, 2022]. ), lo que equivale a un consumo promedio anual de 26 kg de carne. Esta diferencia señala el importante margen de acción que existe para alcanzar en la población mundial un nivel de consumo de carne como fuente de proteína y tener así una alimentación adecuada, según dichos estándares. Esto plantea el desafío de analizar la producción de carne de res para atender a esta aspiración. El abordaje de un complejo agroindustrial a través del enfoque de cadena permite identificar los puntos críticos de todo el proceso, desde la producción hasta el consumo.

El objetivo de este trabajo fue realizar una breve caracterización de la cadena productiva de carne de res para identificar sus posibles eslabones, a partir de los que puedan existir oportunidades de mejora en el resultado económico y social. Se utilizará, a tales efectos, información sobre la experiencia de Uruguay para ejemplificar algunos procesos de cambio, registrados en el modelo productivo de la carne de res, que han tenido un importante impacto desde el punto de vista económico y social en ese país.

Particularidades de la cadena de valor de la carne vacuna. Una cadena de valor alimentaria (CVA) implica actividades y procesos, desarrollados secuencialmente en sus diversos eslabones, que tienen como objetivo satisfacer la demanda del consumidor mediante funciones productivas, económicas, financieras, informativas y analíticas (Briz et al. 2009, cit. por Briz et al. 2010 Briz, J., De Felipe, I. & Briz, T. 2010. La cadena de valor agroalimentaria: un enfoque metodológico. Boletín económico del ICE, Información Comercial Española, ISSN: 0214-8307, Nº 2983, p. 45‐54. ). En la producción de carne de res, la cadena alimentaria comprende todas las actividades que se inician en el medio rural con la cría del ganado, y culminan con la comercialización del producto terminado hacia el consumidor final, sea en el mercado interno o en mercado internacional vía exportaciones. En ese proceso, se pueden distinguir diferentes etapas: la que se refiere a la fase de producción primaria (cría, recría y engorde), la comercialización, con o sin intermediación, transporte, faena, procesamiento industrial y expendio al consumidor doméstico o exportación.

La cadena de la carne vacuna tiene dos características que resultan de importancia fundamental para un análisis que identifique eslabones que puedan mejorar su eficiencia bioeconómica, y la diferencian de otras cadenas agroalimentarias. Esas dos características son: la importancia del tiempo empleado en todo el proceso productivo y la multiplicidad de productos generados.

En lo que respecta a la primera característica, el proceso de producción de carne se caracteriza por la gran duración de diferentes eslabones de la cadena. Los nueve meses de gestación, los seis meses de lactancia, uno o dos años invertidos en el proceso de recría (crecimiento), tres a cuatro meses del proceso de seba (engorde), y un período de aproximadamente uno a dos meses entre faena, acopio, congelado o vacío y comercialización, imprimen a la cadena de la carne alto costo de interés de capital invertido en cada eslabón. Por esto, la reducción de los tiempos invertidos en cada eslabón de la cadena, constituye un elemento clave para hacer más eficiente todo el proceso y, por tanto, mejorar la rentabilidad del negocio. Esto no ocurre con la cadena de la carne aviar o porcina, producciones en las cuales los tiempos insumidos en cada fase son menores. El reconocimiento del tiempo invertido como un factor limitante de la cadena de la carne vacuna, plantea el desafío de analizar críticamente cada eslabón para identificar oportunidades y reducir el tiempo invertido. Ciertamente, la superación de la limitante del factor tiempo, exige fundamentalmente a los eslabones de la cadena correspondientes a la cría, la recría y el engorde, y no tanto a la fase industrial y comercial.

En la figura 1 se representa esquemáticamente la importancia del tiempo en el proceso de producción de carne de res y los diferentes componentes de la cadena de la carne, en los que se puede incidir para mejorar ese aspecto. En la misma, se jerarquiza el enfoque desde la concepción al consumo (Taylor 1994 Taylor, R.E. 1994. Beef Production and Management Decisions, 2nd Edition, Macmillan Publishing Company, N.Y. ), lo que simboliza el proceso que va desde la fecundación, representada por varios espermatozoides y un óvulo, hasta el consumidor final, representado por una porción de carne en el plato del mismo. En los verticales del reloj de arena (que simboliza la función del tiempo como limitante del proceso) se observa la estructura del negocio en cada componente del modelo de producción de la carne de res, y el flujo de información necesaria para hacerlo más eficiente y rentable.

Figura 1.  Representación esquemática de la cadena de producción de la carne de res, con énfasis en la importancia del tiempo durante el proceso enmarcado desde el campo al plato

En lo que respecta a la segunda característica, la cadena de producción de carne vacuna adquiere una complejidad particular, ya que a diferencia de otros procesos, donde se genera un único producto como resultado del proceso productivo (frutas, verduras, por ejemplo), en el modelo productivo de la carne vacuna se generan multiplicidad de productos: decenas de cortes de carne de la parte trasera o delantera de la res, con hueso o sin él, vísceras comestibles rojas y verdes, cuero, hueso, sangre y sebo, entre otros. Esto implica un desafío importante para aplicar el enfoque de cadena al complejo de la carne vacuna, ya que resulta necesario analizar detenidamente de qué manera cada uno de los eslabones afecta a cada producto obtenido. Por ejemplo, la producción de carne de calidad implica para los mercados más exigentes una proporción mínima de grasa intramuscular, sobre todo en los cortes traseros. Debido al patrón de deposición de la grasa, en función del tiempo de engorde (caudal-craneal y ventral-dorsal) se encuentra muchas veces un sobreengrasamiento de algunos cortes delanteros con hueso, que pueden ser, en esas condiciones, menos apetecibles para el consumo. Esto obliga a establecer un nivel de relación entre los eslabones de la cadena que permita organizar una ingeniería de mercados múltiples para cada tipo de ganado faenado, y que contemple diferentes colocaciones de cortes de carne para diversos consumidores. A diferencia de lo que se señala, en ocasión de analizar la limitante del tiempo empleado, la problemática asociada a la multiplicidad de productos compromete las fases industrial y comercial. En la figura 2 se presenta de forma esquemática la lógica particular de la cadena de carne de res con respecto a otras cadenas productivas más convencionales.