Crop-Livestock Integration guarantees gains

Courtesy of Benjamin Ferreira Jacintho

Julio Jacintho, cattle breeder indicates integrated systems technification in Brazil

With 162.3 million hectares destined only for livestock, which add up to 19.06% of the country’s total area, since 2018, Brazil has maintained the title of the largest commercial herd in the world ¹, with approximately 222 million heads, as can be seen in the following graph ²:

In 2019, Brazil was the world’s largest producer of beef, with 10.2 million tons of carcass equivalent. The financial balance for the same period generated a gross production value of US$ 56.36 billion², with an average fattening capacity of 4.5 @ / ha / year ³.

Brazilian economic growth can be considered thanks to agribusiness, which represented 21.4% of the country’s GDP, or US$ 397.5 billion, in 2019. Among the segments, livestock corresponds to 32%, for a total of US$ 83.7 billion ⁴.

In comparison to the period from January to June 2019, in this same period in 2020 the GDP of agribusiness in Brazil grew 5.26%, representing US$ 14.5 billion. In the livestock sector, there was an increase of 10.41%, equivalent to US$ 8.9 billion ⁴.

Watchful to this growing market, the rancher Julio Jacintho, graduated in agronomic engineering from the “Luiz de Queiroz” College of Agriculture (USP / ESALQ), and has a masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida, tells AgriBrasilis about the Crop-Livestock Integration system (CLI) leading to Três Irmãos Farm, with 9,000 hectares in CLI, of which are divided between areas of pasture, cattle confinement and grain yield.



Julio Jacintho

AgriBrasilis – Where are the areas of the group located and what is their annual slaughtering capacity?

Julio Jacintho – Agropecuária Jacintho is a Family Business that operates in Mato Grosso do Sul State with properties in the muni cipalities of Naviraí, Campo Grande, Porto Murtinho, Bela Vista, and Paraíso das Águas. In beef cattle we do a complete cycle, with production of Nellores beef animals, and industrial crossing with Angus, Bonsmara and Canchim. We slaughter 13,000 heads per year, 8,000 of which are in feedlots.


AgriBrasilis – What are the management techniques used, and what are the results in regarding increased yield?

Julio Jacintho – In agriculture, we grow soybeans with integrated biological control management and in the off-season there are areas that are reserved for winter pastures using brachiaria sown after soybeans. The corn areas are intercropped with brachiaria between the lines in such a way that the production of straw and organic matter is maximized.

In breeding livestock there is a short and defined breeding season, with Artificial Insemination in Fixed Time (AIFT) in 35% of the matrices, and use of breeding bulls for field coverage. Weaned calves are transferred to Vaca Branca / Três Irmãos Farm – municipality of Naviraí.

Vaca Branca Farm has 2,000 ha in livestock (9,000 heads and slaughter 8,500 per year), and 7,000 ha in agriculture. In the winter after weaning, the calves are sent to winter pasture areas, well managed – divided into plots of 60 ha, with quality water and mineral salt. In the 100 days of grazing between May and September the Daily weight Gain (DWG) is above 600 grams / day.

In early September, all are transferred to paddocks close to the feedlot and receive a total diet in the trough for the next 60 days. In this period of strategic supplementation, we managed to maintain gains above 600 grams / day. In intensive pastures we work with 03 AU/hectare (Animal Units per hectare). The animals are handled in a rotational grazing system, receiving protein-energy supplementation. Pastures are fertilized, ensuring forage quality.

Our goal is to achieve a DWG of 700 grams / day in the 365 days of post-weaning accommodation. Young cows go to confinement weighing over 400 kg on average. DWG rates in confinement are very good. The average slaughter weight is 22 @, at 24 months of age (on average). The production of the fattening farm is 32 @ / ha / year, with a cost of product sold (total – including DAF fee, tax, depreciation, amortization and lease) of US$ 45 / @. The profitability of the system becomes very attractive with prices at levels above US$ 47 / @.


Trough with soybean from the integration system at Três Irmãos Farm

AgriBrasilis – How is the integration system and what is its importance? Are there any specific systems in use at the group’s properties?

Julio Jacintho – At Vaca Branca Farm, we plant brachiaria (ruziziensis and pitã) in the off-season in 20% of the agricultural area. These winter pastures are well managed, with plots of 60 ha on average, and the calves spend the winter with very good weight gain, as described above.


AgriBrasilis – How does genetics have contributed with bigger gainings on the property? How is it realized the process of selecting breeds and others taurus breedings?

Julio Jacintho – I am the third generation of family ranchers. My grandfather became interested in Zebu at the beginning of the 1950s imports. My father, Chichico Jacintho, was a breeder for Nelore Mocho and the Canchim Breed.

18 years ago we started creating Bonsmara. Currently we make the tricross (terminal) with Artificial Insemination in Fixed Time of Angus improving semen in Bonsmara or Canchim blood matrices. Our Nelore squad is always on schedule. The production of F-1 Angus in the Nelore matrix is the natural course to be followed, I believe.


AgriBrasilis – What are the main difficulties in terminating animals from crossbreeding?

Julio Jacintho – In our system, the industrial crossing has only one difficulty: tick. As we adopt an adequate sanitary management, the advantages of the crossing are appreciable, and the carcass yield is very good, given the high weight that the animals are offered to the market (600 – 680 kg).


Pasture in the Três Irmãos Farm

AgriBrasilis – Brazil holds the title of the largest commercial herd in the world, however yield averages are still very low and degraded pastures are still a reality. In your opinion, what is necessary and what actions are important for Brazilian livestock to gain even more prominence?

Julio Jacintho – I believe in the market. Livestock will evolve as it is able to be competitive with other agricultural activities, in particular soybeans and corn.

In our case, today we produce more meat in 25% of the area initially dedicated to livestock. We therefore have 75% of the property in agriculture, which competes with livestock to gain or lose space. Brazilian legislation is strict in all aspects that concern our rural activity.

We, rural producers, are natural conservationists, we are committed to the well-being of our employees and we place the general well-being of society as a priority in our actions.

The preponderant for Brazilian livestock, and other rural activities developed here, is to pass on this information to the world: Brazil is where the best food in the world is produced, conserving the environment and seeking enthusiastic social improvements.


AgriBrasilis – For you who work in livestock for over 30 years, what were the main differences than in Brazilian cattle farming in these years? What were the main changes in these years and what are the challenges to remain in the field today?

Julio Jacintho – The entire production process has changed a lot. I make the following comparison: agriculture has evolved in 40 years, and will continue to bring technological advances. Because the same process is underway in livestock. The difference is that as the agricultural cycle is shorter, advances are more noticeable. It turns out that this wheel is turning faster and faster, and the advances in livestock are also increasing more and more.

As I said above, the market is sovereign, and production in agriculture today is mathematical. Therefore, when it comes to resolving a productive issue in rural areas, variables are becoming more restricted (“intensify or not? Fertilize pastures? Supplementary? Invest in health and genetics?”) And the solutions boil down to one reality: keeping activity viable It’s healthy.


¹Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea)
²Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA)
³Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)
⁴Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) and Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea)