Day 6) Orazi Feedlot and Pork Producer

The last stop on our longest day did not disappoint.  We visited the Orazi Farms, owned by two brothers.  One brother was passionate about beef cattle, while the other was beginning in pork production.  Because of the poor infrastructure, we were picked up in vans to avoid the bus traveling down the rural roads. 

The feedlot was comparable to a feedlot seen in the United States.  The cattle were kept in a large pen with feed bunk where they eat.  Orazi’s have 1000 cows, which they raise their own cattle.  They also are hired by outside sources to feed out cattle.  The calves are descendants of Scottish breeds, making them smaller in frame size.  The calves are weaned at about two to four months old and go to market after one year at 750 pounds.  Growth promotions are prohibited in Argentina and the cattle are usually sent to local markets to cut transportation costs. 

Instead of charging his customers a rate to care for their cattle, they are only charged an increase above what it costs to feed the cattle, usually 20-40% depending on the markets.  Orazi’s farm about 2,800 hectors (7000 acres) of corn and soybeans.  They yield goals are 60 bushels per acre for soybeans and 160 bushels per acre for corn, which is just slightly lower than yields in the US.

Again it was mentioned that it is difficult to find good employees who are knowledgeable and motivated.  The people who work on the farm have been there for quite a while and are valued. 

Since my background is mainly in pork production, I was very excited to see a pork production facility.  The second Orazi brother showed us his new facilities that he is in the process of building.  By this fall, this goal is to have 50 sows with one of four groups farrowing every 30 days.  The farm consists of four hoop buildings, one for maternity, finishing, keeping the sows, and growing the pigs. 

Although slats in buildings are common in Argentina, the costs are high.  The maternity hoops will have pens that are between a farrowing crate and an open pen, allowing the sow to move. 

To breed the sows, a boar is used to heat check and see if the sow is in heat.  Then a foam rod is used during Artificial Insemination.  The semen costs about 70 pesos per dose and he is currently using 3 doses per sow but make sure they are bred. 

It was interesting to hear that feed is the highest cost just like it is in the US, being 70% of the total cost in Argentina.  This was one of my favorite stops because of the dedication and excitement the Orazi brothers had with their farm.