Animal Well-Being: Increasing Day by Day
Whether he is caring for his flock of sheep, playing with his dog, or working on his computer writing stories for hundreds to read, Paulo Palma Beraldo loves agriculture. As a 24-year-old, journalist from Brazil, Paulo has been selected as a delegate for the 2017 Youth Ag Summit in Brussels, Belgium in October. See more of his perspectives and experiences on his Portuguese blog De Olho no Campo.
It is not new that animal well-being in food production is a concern that is growing day after day worldwide. In Brazil, this is no different as it is crucial to provide a good life for the animals.
Here, more than 12 million tons of poultry and 9 million tons of beef are produced annually. This equates to more than 5.5 billion chickens and almost 35 million cattle. My family and I raised farm animals, such as cows and pigs and we started working with sheep a few years ago. Owning only a small plot of land, we improved the efficiency of our operation to produce more with less, faster.
Paulo on his family farm in Cafelândia, Brazil with his dog, Sam
Thus, we decided to adopt a system that is drawing the attention of many small, medium and large farmers in Brazil: integrated production systems. This system allows the production of beef, milk, wood, grains and pastures in the same area year-round, leading to improved productivity, increased income, and a protected environment.
On our farm this means that we plant eucalyptus with pasture between the lines of the trees. Our sheep stay there during the day, in the shade which increases their comfort level. During this time, they are free to walk around our eucalyptus trees and in the night they sleep in a building adapted for them.
Sheep can easily graze in the shade of the eucalyptus trees during the heat of the day.
About the Systems
First, it is important to decide which type of tree will work best for the land type (eucalyptus, pine, or other species). Then, it is time to plant seasonal grains like corn, soybeans or peanut between the lines of the trees. After the harvest, when the farmer has sold his grain, the money earned could be used to reduce the cost of planting the trees. Then, two or three years later, when the trees have grown, it is time to plant pastures between the lines of trees and the farmer releases cattle or sheep to graze.
The success of integrated production systems in Brazil is a green light to countries with similar production conditions to adopt them, which makes it an important solution both regionally and globally.
A study carried out by the consulting company Kleffmann Group indicated that Brazil has 11.5 million hectares with ILPF, the Portuguese acronym for ‘Integration of Crops, Livestock, and Forests.’ In 2010, this number reached 5.5 million and in 2005, only 1.8 million.
Paula Beraldo will be one of 100 delegates from around the world to participate in the 2017 Youth Ag Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
There is a major misunderstanding among the general public about the importance of agribusiness in Brazil. This misconception is widespread because there is a lack of information concerning the work of millions of farmers who produce efficiently and sustainably on a daily basis.
It is my goal, as a journalist, to provide more information about Brazilian agriculture, its innovative approaches, and its benefits to society. If the image of agribusiness improves, society will better understand the importance and contribution of the people who work to provide what we eat every day.
In the future, I would like to work directly on rural subjects and provide more information throughout the food chain in order to improve practices in food production, reducing waste, and sharing good examples that exist around the world.