Technical and environmental characterization of dual-purpose cattle farms and ways of improving production: A case study in Colombia uri icon

abstract

  • There are few reports on dual-purpose cattle systems characterization in Latin America and Colombia based on large datasets. This limits our understanding of their dynamics, and the establishment of public policies and government programs to improve their productive performance, promotion and rural development. This study aimed to characterize very small, small, medium, and large dual-purpose farms in Colombia from technical and environmental perspectives. The data analysed were obtained from the Ganaderia Colombiana Sostenible and the LivestockPlus projects, which gathered information from a total of 1313 dual-purpose farms in Colombia. Farms were classified as being either very small (1 to 30 bovines), small (31 to 50 bovines), medium (51 to 250 bovines), or large farms (more than 251 bovines). Numerical and categorical variables were distributed into five components: (1) General Farm Information, (2) Herd Composition and Management, (3) Pasture Management, (4) Production Information, and (5) Environmental Information. Each component was analysed using the factorial analysis of mixed data (FAMD) method. According to FAMD, for the components General Farm Information, Herd Composition and Management, Pasture Management, and Production Information, the distribution of variables led to a spatial separation of the centroid from each category of producers. For the component Environmental Information, there was no separation of the centroid. In general, medium-sized and large farms showed better infrastructure, better machinery and equipment, and better reproductive practices; however, this was not reflected in a significant improvement of productive parameters, except for a lower mortality rate. Larger livestock producers need to plan their livestock husbandry activities properly, based on their better available infrastructure and livestock management practices, with the purpose of increasing productivity. The main features identified for each livestock producer category can be the basis to guide and establish policies and programmes for their technological development. The development of better livestock management practices and the implementation of technology, as well as technical assistance, should focus on small- and medium-sized livestock producers, which could lead to reaching a better productive and reproductive performance of dual-purpose systems.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020