Animal Health Sector for Cattle Grows 10% per Year in Brazil

“…we currently have the largest commercial herd in the world, with around 212 million heads of cattle…”

Fernanda Hoe is the general director of Elanco Brasil, having served as director of marketing for Latin America at the company. Hoe is a veterinarian from the State University of São Paulo, with an MBA in strategic market management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, in addition to a specialization in sustainability from the University of Cambridge and a M.Sc degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Fernanda Hoe, general director of Elanco Brasil

AgriBrasilis – What is the market for veterinary products for livestock? What is Elanco’s participation in Latin America?

Fernanda Hoe – The demand for animal products should increase as a result of world population growth, from the current 7 billion people to 9.1 billion by 2050. FAO estimates a 70% increase in the demand for meat, milk and eggs. Regarding beef, for example, estimates indicate that consumption should rise globally from 60 million tonnes to 130 million per year, that is, an increase of more than 100%.

The challenges facing livestock worldwide are to meet the growing demand for products of animal origin, while also reducing the use of natural resources and promoting sustainability, that requires research and development of innovative solutions for strategies for the prevention, treatment and management of production animals.

The market for veterinary products for livestock is thriving. In Latin America, this market represents more than US$ 2 billion. The veterinary solutions industry is one of the foundations for guaranteeing the safety of Brazilian animal protein, that is so important to supply the domestic and foreign markets, since our country is one of the main producers and exporters of animal protein in the world.

At Elanco, businesses related to production animals (beef, pigs, poultry and fish) represent approximately 50% of the company’s revenues and generated revenues of US$ 573 million globally, referring to the first quarter of 2023. With this performance, the company is now the third largest in the animal health sector in Brazil and the second in the world.

AgriBrasilis – Is there still room for growth in the Brazilian market?

Fernanda Hoe – Yes. The Brazilian market is key for global livestock production. There is a lot of room for those who work with innovation.

Brazil is one of the main producers and exporters of animal protein, that places us in a strategic and reference position. With regard to beef production, for example, we currently have the largest commercial herd in the world, with around 212 million heads of cattle, that is, there are countless opportunities within the challenge of sustainable livestock production! The market for animal health products for cattle has been growing by an average of 10% in recent years.

At Elanco, we invest in research to develop solutions that respond to the demand to produce more, with less costs, more animal welfare and environmental preservation. In Brazil, we have a team of R&D professionals focused on thinking about specific solutions for our market, with potential for scaling production. This is the case of our product Zimprova, an additive for productivity and feed efficiency of beef cattle that, combined with quality pasture, allows the farm to produce up to 1.1 arroba (Brazilian unit equal to 15 kg) more per animal/year, increasing production without having to resort to more space or more animals. It is a product that is the result of Brazilian research, with global appeal when we think about sustainable livestock.

AgriBrasilis – What is the importance of the segment of vaccines and other veterinary products for disease prevention?

Fernanda Hoe – Elanco has a formal set of commitments linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, established by the UN. These commitments make up our Healthy Purpose platform, that guides our decision-making. These commitments include “creating more resilient food systems, enabling an additional 57 million people to have access to nutritious protein”; “improve the efficiency and sustainability of every farmer the company works with” and “improve the health and well-being of 3 billion farm animals”. Vaccines and other disease prevention methods are part of the strategic resources to achieve these goals.

Investing in disease prevention, with innovation, means assuring to people a higher quality animal protein, providing better welfare for animals and lower costs for the farmer. Vaccines are also a strategy that supports the responsible use of antimicrobials, a very debated topic around the world.

In Elanco’s portfolio, we have solutions that illustrate our concern with the innovative production of vaccines. This is the case with the ColiprotecTM F4/F18 vaccine, the only one on the market with a specific focus on controlling post-weaning diarrhea in piglets related to the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli bacteria, strains F4 and F18, the most common cause of post-weaning mortality in these animals. This vaccine has a single dose, applied orally, through the animal’s drinking water or via applicators. It is aligned with the precepts of animal welfare and it is internationally certified.

The post-weaning diarrhea incidence can cost up to US$ 5.60 per piglet, increase feed costs by up to 9% and delay slaughter by 10 days because of reduced animal weight gain.

AgriBrasilis – What are the main diseases that affect cattle farming in Brazil?

Fernanda Hoe – I can mention parasite infestation, that affects livestock all over the world, but particularly in tropical countries, where the climate favors the development of this condition. The control of internal and external parasites is essential for the quality of production and the final product, for animal welfare and for the profitability of livestock farmers.

In the Brazilian livestock sector, in general, four groups of parasites stand out in terms of incidence: gastrointestinal nematodes, ticks, botflies and screwworm flies. To fight these parasites and minimize or avoid damage, it is necessary to adopt management strategies on the farm, that help control, and use products assertively, that have effective and fast action, in addition to training the workforce. There are several factors involved in a successful prevention and treatment strategy for this and other livestock challenges.

AgriBrasilis – How much is spent by livestock farmers for the prevention and treatment of these diseases? What is the importance of worms?

Fernanda Hoe – We do not have this exact information. There is an estimate that, on average, the sector suffers losses of US$ 14 billion/year, so that the highest percentage of this can be attributed to parasites/worms (over US$ 6.7 billion). This demonstrates the relevance of integrated parasite control and its impacts on herd productivity.

Still on parasite control, Elanco works focused on integrated control, combining a multi-product strategy with antiparasitic solutions for simultaneous combat against different parasites, supported by action protocols focused on specific agents.

Elanco’s professionals, together with the ranchers and the property’s veterinarian, assess complementary measures, such as nutritional and antimicrobial measures. In everything we do, we work with a focus on animal welfare, and looking at the property as a unique business. We do not approach individuals and processes in isolation.

AgriBrasilis – What are the difficulties in registering and approving veterinary products in Brazil?

Fernanda Hoe – This is a complex process, that requires a robust research and development plan to generate the necessary data, in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Of course, we have points to improve, but the Brazilian regulatory agencies have the rigidity and seriousness that the issue requires. After all, we are talking here about products that are responsible for bringing well-being, health and quality of life to animals and, consequently, food safety to millions of people tables around the world.

AgriBrasilis – How much is spent annually on R&D by the company and in which segments?

Fernanda Hoe – Elanco has a very solid R&D investment policy, that may vary slightly from one year to the next, but is consistent, in line with the company’s strategic plan.

In 2022, Elanco invested over US$ 320 million. If we analyze the last 3 years, we have already dedicated more than US$ 1 billion to the development of new solutions.

AgriBrasilis – Could you comment on the company’s initiatives regarding animal welfare?

Fernanda Hoe – Improving the health and well-being of 3 billion farm animals around the world is one of Elanco’s global commitments. All research and development of new veterinary products includes the premise of animal welfare in its processes.

Elanco has in its portfolio several products with BEA international certification in animal welfare. To be certified, each product category has specific criteria that must be fully met, such as traceability, good manufacturing practices, application, etc.



Brazilian Agribusiness GDP Fell in 2022