Day 7) Los Grobos Agribusiness Cooperation

ur first stop on one of the last days we spent in the Las Pampas area of Argentina was at Los Grobos.  Los Grobos is a very impressive agri-business that is the connection between land, farmers, and necessities.  They are a leader in products, services, and knowledge. 

Because interest rates in Argentina are about 35% per year, Los Grobos helps farmers manage risk by assisting farmers by lending credit.  I thought it was interesting that through consolidation, Los Grobos was able to grow. 

After talking to a farmer, he mentioned that the community was skeptical at first but they are now supportive of the business.  The business so very diversified so they are able to help farmers with almost everything, from purchasing grain to selling products.  They also help companies, like Rizobacter, move product past their company salesmen and Los Grobos helps sell product to their customers. 

The large company was interesting and I am looking forward to seeing the company grow and prosper in the future.  

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.  

Day 1) Facts

To begin, you should know something about Argentina.  See map to the left if you're wondering when in the world Argentina is located. 

A lot of useful information was given while at the US Embassy and by listening to representatives from Cargill Argentina's headquarters.  Information is listed below:

- Argentina has experience a 40% inflation over the past year; the US dollar is about 10 pesos

- there are US Embassy's in 150 countries

- Embassy's work with the government to increase ties and help traveling citizens

- the Argentine government limits the amount of exports and a certificate is needed

- 50% of the farm land is rented, making it hard to be sustainable

- the soil in the western part has more clay while the eastern part has more sand.  Soil in Northern Argentina is red. 

 

 Most important things expanded on:

- Argentina produces about 14-15 million tons of corn, but the government only allows 8 million to be exported.  This negatively effects the corn market and farmers are resorting to storing corn using bins and large bags on their farms instead of selling it. 

- 50% of the land is rented, but prices are not steady so the renters main focus is to make the most money for one year.  The soybean has a very strong market, so crop rotation is limited which depletes the soil. 

- We were told that "the farmer helps the government, but the government does't help the farmer."  With a 32% export tax on any soybeans that are exported, the government limits their large profits by only allowing a certain amount of soybeans to be exported, which also hurts farmers. 

- Agriculture is growing, with crops increasing 7% per year while the population of Argentina is increasing 1%.  

Since this trip consisted of agriculture in Argentina, have no fear that more facts and information is coming in the upcoming blogs!