Article

The value of improved pastures to Brazilian beef production

Abstract and Figures

Brazil is an agricultural country, with 190Mha of pastures sustaining 209million cattle. Fewer than 10% of the cattle are fattened in feedlots, whereas cattle reared on pastures have a competitive advantage for export, eliminating the risks presented by the mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and considerations related to animal welfare. Brazil has been the world's largest exporter of beef since 2004 and has the largest commercial herd in the world. In 2011, 16.5% of its production was exported, and the livestock sector contributed 30.4% of the gross national product from agribusiness and 6.73% of the total GNP. Many forage breeding programs, mainly at Embrapa, have contributed to the development of improved pastures, and cultivars of Brachiaria brizantha, B. decumbens, B. humidicola and Panicum maximum are the main pastures used in the country. All have apomictic reproduction, which means there are few cultivars occupying very large, continuous areas, thus suggesting a risk to the productive system. Such is the case of B. brizantha cv. Marandu, which occupies around 50Mha. The Brazilian tropical forage seed industry is also important, and Brazil is the main seed exporter, supplying all Latin American countries. Due to pasture degradation, around 8Mha is renovated or recovered each year. Forages are also used and planted each year in integrated crop-livestock and integrated crop-livestock-forest systems. Nowadays, these systems occupy 4Mha. Improved pastures are thus a major asset in Brazil not only for the beef production chain but also for the dairy industry.
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The value of improved pastures to Brazilian beef production
Liana Jank
A,B
, Sanzio C. Barrios
A
, Cacilda B. do Valle
A
, Rosangela M. Simeão
A
,
and Geovani F. Alves
A
A
Embrapa Beef Cattle, Embrapa, Rua Radio Maia, 830, 79106-550, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.
B
Corresponding author. Email: liana.jank@embrapa.br
Abstract. Brazil is an agricultural country, with 190 Mha of pastures sustaining 209 million cattle. Fewer than 10% of the
cattle are fattened in feedlots, whereas cattle reared on pastures have a competitive advantage for export, eliminating the risks
presented by the mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and considerations related to animal welfare. Brazil
has been the worlds largest exporter of beef since 2004 and has the largest commercial herd in the world. In 2011, 16.5% of its
production was exported, and the livestock sector contributed 30.4% of the gross national product from agribusiness and
6.73% of the total GNP. Many forage breeding programs, mainly at Embrapa, have contributed to the development of
improved pastures, and cultivars of Brachiaria brizantha,B. decumbens,B. humidicola and Panicum maximum are the main
pastures used in the country. All have apomictic reproduction, which means there are few cultivars occupying very large,
continuous areas, thus suggesting a risk to the productive system. Such is the case of B. brizantha cv. Marandu, which
occupies around 50 Mha. The Brazilian tropical forage seed industry is also important, and Brazil is the main seed exporter,
supplying all Latin American countries. Due to pasture degradation, around 8 Mha is renovated or recovered each year.
Forages are also used and planted each year in integrated croplivestock and integrated croplivestockforest systems.
Nowadays, these systems occupy 4 Mha. Improved pastures are thus a major asset in Brazil not only for the beef production
chain but also for the dairy industry.
Additional keywords: forage cultivars, germplasm, selection.
Received 7 September 2013, accepted 13 December 2013, published online 11 March 2014
Introduction
Brazil is essentially an agricultural country with 190 Mha of
pastures, 74 Mha native and 116 Mha cultivated (ANUALPEC
2008). Pasture area equals the sum of agricultural, forest and
wooded areas (IBGE 2010). The vast pasture area and cattle herd
places Brazil as the largest or second-largest producer of beef in
the world, competing only with the United States. In 2012, Brazil
produced 9.4~Mt carcass weight equivalent. Since 2004, the
country has been the worlds largest beef exporter, with
1.69~Mt carcass weight equivalent of beef exported in 2012
(ABIEC 2013). Brazil exports fresh meat to 92 countries, mainly
Russia (27%), Egypt (14%) and Hong Kong (11%); processed
meat to 106 countries, mainly the European Union (49%) and the
United States (16%); and bovine offal and other cuts to 71
countries, mainly Hong Kong (64%) and Angola (4%)
(ABIEC 2013).
Brazils cattle herd is 209 million heads (IBGE 2010), the
largest commercial cattle herd in the world; much of the
production is for the domestic market, and only 18% of
the production was for export in 2012. Most cattle are raised
on pastures, observing animal welfare conditions, and only
10% of the slaughter in 2012 was of animals nished in
feedlots (ABIEC 2013). This confers a differentiation on
Brazilian beef, avoiding risks associated with bovine
spongiform encephalopathy.
The total area of grassland in the country is 190 Mha: 74Mha
native pastures, 99 Mha planted to Brachiaria spp., and 17 Mha
planted to cultivars of other species (ANUALPEC 2008).
Brachiaria spp. represent a large area (85%) of cultivated
pastures in the country; B. brizantha cv. Marandu Palisade
grass, released by Embrapa in 1984, still occupies a large area
(~50 Mha) and is considered the worlds largest monoculture
in terms of area. According to non-ofcial technical surveys, it
is estimated that the country renews and/or recovers ~8 Mha
of pasture every year, ~80% of which is with cultivars of
Brachiaria. In addition, grasses are planted on ~4 Mha for
crop and livestock integrated cattle systems, or crop, livestock
and forest systems (José 2012).
Economic, social and environmental benets
from improved forages
Other competitive advantages of Brazilian beef are the
production costs, which are lower than in other countries,
allowing Brazil to be a major player in the international meat
market. Despite an increase in production costs in recent years,
for beef cattle of both high- and low-input technologies and for
feedlots, mainly due to the high costs of fertilisers, labour
and machinery, etc. (Torres 2012), the beef industry generates
revenues of US$50~billion and employs ~7.5 million Brazilians.
In 2011, the livestock sector contributed with 30.4% of the gross
Journal compilation CSIRO 2014 www.publish.csiro.au/journals/cp
CSIRO PUBLISHING
Crop & Pasture Science
http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CP13319
national product (GNP) of Brazilian agribusiness and
contributed with 6.73% of the Brazilian GNP (CEPEA 2011).
This highlights the economic and social importance of this sector
for the country.
Brazilian meat, mostly produced on pasture, has been
constantly but incorrectly labelled in the international media as
the primary source of deforestation, among other factors. In fact,
the area occupied by livestock has decreased in recent years
while productivity has increased. According to data from the
agricultural census of 1995 and 2006 (IBGE 2006), Brazil lost
17.6 Mha of pasture. In the same period, the areas of grain (rst
crop) and sugarcane increased 10.5 Mha. In addition, the
annual rate of deforestation in the Legal Amazon is constantly
decreasing. In 2012, 84% less area was deforested than the rate
recorded in 2004, according to a survey by the National Institute
for Space Research (INPE 2012). By contrast, the number of
head of Brazilian cattle grew 22% in the period 200111, a
signicant gain in productivity of Brazilian cattle. In 2001, for
example, productivity was 38.4 kg carcass weight/ha.year,
whereas in 2010 it was 53.9 kg carcass weight/ha.year. These
data clearly demonstrate that it is possible for Brazil to produce
more meat and milk, with less area and more sustainably.
Brazil has signicant natural resources (such as climate, land
and water) to maintain production, and many technologies well
adapted to our production system. However, an essential action
to maintain the sustainability of the livestock sector and increase
productivity gains is investment in the recovery of degraded
pastures. This is a great challenge from now on, since ~47%
of pastures have some degree of deterioration (Nogueira and
Aguiar 2013). Among governmental actions implemented to
encourage the recovery of degraded pastures is the ABC
program (Program for Reducing Emission of Greenhouse
Gases in Agriculture), with the goal to provide funds to
farmers to adopt technologies to protect the soil, increase
productivity and mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases.
Among the goals stipulated in the ABC program is the
recovery of 15 Mha of degraded pastures and establishment of
4 Mha in croplivestockforest systems (CNA 2012).
The Brazilian forage seed market in 2011 had a turnover
of around US$600 million, which is equivalent to 2.5% of the
global seed market and still has potential for expansion (José
2012).
Of the total seed production of the main tropical forages,
Brachiaria ssp. and P. maximum accounted for 83.8% and
13.5%, respectively, of the total seed production area in
201112 (Table 1), and for 99% of the revenue, respectively.
These data demonstrate that much of the industrys revenue
comes from the marketing of seed of these two genera. Other
genera of tropical forages of economic importance (Andropogon,
Arachis,Cajanus,Cynodon,Paspalum,Pennisetum and
Stylosanthes) have a small seed market share. There are no
statistics on the area covered by each pasture species in Brazil.
The only available information is from a survey done by a private
consultancy rm and published in Nogueira (2012), in which
52 000 km
2
of pasture area in Brazil was covered and the pasture
genera recorded. The result was that 68.2% of the pasture area is
covered by cultivars of B. brizantha, 9.1% by other Brachiaria
species (B. decumbens,ruziziensis and humidicola), 10.2% by
P. maximum, 5.8% by Andropogon gayanus, 5.8% by other
species, and 0.8% by native pastures.
Brazil is also the largest exporter of tropical forage seed in the
world, with the main destinations in Latin America (especially
Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela), Africa and Asia. Brachiaria
spp. are the most requested species, representing >80% of the
total volume exported in 2010. Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu
and B. decumbens cv. Basilisk accounted for more than half of
Table 1. Seed production area in 20112, mean price of seeds in 2012, and quantity of seeds exported in
2010 of the main tropical forage cultivars
Source: UNIPASTO, pers. comm.
Species Cultivar Area (ha) Price (R$/kg) Export
(kg) (%)
Brachiaria decumbens Basilisk 12 706 18.00 917 575 24.90
Brachiaria ruziziensis Kennedy 7295 13.00 210 0.01
Brachiaria humidicola Common 25 747 85.00 324 184 8.80
Brachiaria humidicola Llanero 5330 45.00 100 224 2.72
Brachiaria brizantha Marandu 55 688 14.00 1 259 128 34.17
Brachiaria brizantha Xaraés 10 697 19.00 413 894 11.23
Brachiaria brizantha BRS Piatã 6385 19.00 50 920 1.38
Brachiaria brizantha MG-4 1820 19.00 ––
Brachiaria brizantha
A
Mulato II 1548 40.00 ––
Panicum maximum Momba¸ca 12 616 30.00 378 512 10.27
Panicum maximum Tanzânia 2912 30.00 216 870 5.88
Panicum maximum Massai 4819 60.00 18 350 0.50
Panicum maximum Aruana 77 50.00 3410 0.09
Andropogon gayanus Planaltina 2294 25.00 0.25
Stylosanthes spp. Campo Grande 1838 9.00 256 0.01
Cajanus cajan Mandarim –– 1290 0.04
Calopogonium mucunoides Common –– 460 0.01
Total 151 772 3 685 283 100.00
A
Interspecic hybrid B. brizantha B. ruziziensis B. decumbens.
BCrop & Pasture Science L. Jank et al.
the volume exported in 2010 (Table 1). Of the released cultivars,
P. maximum cv. Tanzânia and cv. Massai and Cajanus cajan cv.
Mandarim have increased their exports in 2010 compared
with 2009.
In the past, Brazil always imported or introduced new
ecotypes collected in Africa or cultivars developed abroad, in
an attempt to increase carrying capacity of the pastures and
thus ncrease animal productivity. However, the accidental
introduction of Guinea grass Panicum maximum cv. Colonião
via slave-trading in the 19th Century was advantageous to the
Brazilian beef industry, not only because it resulted in greater
animal productivity, but also because it allowed for the rapid
establishment of pastures by seeds and by aeroplane in the north
of the country.
Statistics from 1940 show that ~2.56 ha was necessary for each
head of cattle. Between 1968 and 1972, Brazil imported large
amount of seeds of Brachiaria decumbens cv. Basilisk from
Australia stimulated by government programs to encourage the
formation of pastures. This ecotype was originally from Uganda
and was registered in Australia in 1973 (Oram 1990). Due to its
great adaptability to poor, acid soils, ease of propagation by
seeds, good competitive advantage against weeds, and good
animal performance compared with native grasslands, this
cultivar rapidly covered large expanses of areas in the
Brazilian Cerrados (savannas) and became a monoculture.
This cultivar was the rst crop that was planted in the
Brazilian Cerrados, which then became Brazils grain
warehouse, and it also contributed to a great decrease in area
of pasture needed per head (Fig. 1). However, problems such as
spittlebug susceptibility, photosensitivity especially in weaning
calves, overgrazing and lack of fertilisation led to extensive
areas of degraded pastures.
In 1984, B. brizantha cv. Marandu, an earlier introduction, was
released (Nunes et al.1984). This cultivar was much more
productive than cv. Basilisk and was resistant to spittlebugs. It
gradually replaced B. decumbens, and in turn became the new
monoculture, which continues today, covering ~50 Mha.
In the 1980s, Brazil received its rst apomictic forage
collection, Panicum maximum, which was extensively
collected at its site of origin in Africa (Savidan et al.1989).
Evaluation of this collection led to the release of P. maximum cvv.
Tanzânia and Momba¸ca after 1990, which resulted in great
pasture intensication in the country due to very high
productivity and quality of these cultivars. They were rapidly
adopted by farmers, and the use of this species is widespread
today. All of these cultivars resulted in increased grazing
efciency, and in 2006, only 1.1 ha was necessary per head.
These carrying capacities are mean values for the country,
considering both rainy and dry seasons; under improved
management, considerably higher carrying capacities are
achieved.
The P. maximum collection was introduced to the country as
a result of two expeditions organised by the French Institut de
Recherche pour le Développment (IRD) exclusively for the
collection of this species, which gathered >380 apomictic
accessions and 23 sexual plants. This collection and accessions
received from other research institutions worldwide were
transferred to Embrapa in 1984 in a cooperative agreement.
The second expedition, organised exclusively for the
collection of an apomictic species, was organised by the
International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and
gathered ~800 accessions of 23 species in 198485. Embrapa
later received part of this collection.
Breeding programs
The main breeding programs under way in Brazil are at
Embrapa Centers. However, a few other breeding program
have been developed in Brazil in the universities, mainly at
Rio Grande do Sul State, or Research Institutes as the Instituto
de Zootecnia and Instituto Agronômico de Campinas in São
0.0
1940
1945
1950
1955
1960
1965
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2006
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
Numbe
r of
hectare
s/head
Fig. 1. Number of hectares per head of cattle in Brazil. (Source:
IBGE 2013.)
1
2
7
10
8
3
5
6
9
North
North-East
Mid-West
South-East
South
4
11
Fig. 2. Embrapa Research Centers that hold forage germplasm banks
and/or develop forage breeding programs. 1, Embrapa Acre; 2, Embrapa
Beef Cattle; 3, Embrapa Cerrados; 4, Embrapa Coastal Tablelands; 5,
Embrapa Dairy Cattle; 6, Embrapa Mid-North; 7, Embrapa Pantanal; 8,
Embrapa South Animal Husbandry and Sheep; 9, Embrapa South-east
Livestock; 10, Embrapa Temperate Agriculture; 11, Embrapa Tropical
Semiarid.
Value of improved pastures to Brazilian beef production Crop & Pasture Science C
Paulo State. However, at the Federal University of Rio Grande do
Sul, the focus is breeding cool-season forages; the Instituto de
Zootecnia only evaluates bred cultivars for other institutions; and
Instituto Agronômico de Campinas discontinued its program.
Thus, the main breeding programs are at Embrapa.
Nowadays, CIAT is providing some selected bred cultivars to
undergo animal grazing experiments in Brazil, through a
cooperative agreement with Dow AgroSciences LLC, with the
objective of saturating the Brazilian market with new Brachiaria
hybrids. To date, cv. Mulato II has been released, but the area
sown is still small (Table 1).
Embrapa also holds the main germplasm banks in the country
(Fig. 2). Embrapa Beef Cattle holds the germplasm banks of
Brachiaria spp., P. maximum and Stylosanthes spp. and is
responsible for the breeding programs of three species of
Brachiaria (B. brizantha,B. decumbens and B. humidicola),
P. maximum and Stylosanthes spp. (mainly S. capitata and
S. macrocephala). Embrapa Cerrados is responsible for the
breeding of A. gayanus and S. guianensis. Embrapa Dairy
Cattle holds the germplasm banks of Pennisetum spp. and
Cynodon spp. and is responsible for their breeding and for
breeding of B. ruziziensis. Embrapa Acre holds the germplasm
bank of the forage peanut Arachis spp. (A. pintoi,A. repens and
A. glabrata). Embrapa South-east Livestock holds the germplasm
bank of Paspalum spp. and Cajanus and is responsible for their
breeding. Other germplasm banks within Embrapa are also
available and organised, e.g. buffel grass (Pennisetum ciliare)
germplasm at Embrapa Tropical Semiarid and various regional
banks at Embrapa Pantanal, Embrapa Cerrados, Embrapa Mid-
North and Embrapa Coastal Tablelands. Cool-season forages
have their germplasm bank at Embrapa South Animal Husbandry
& Sheep. This Center also holds the breeding program for lucerne
(alfafa) (Medicago sativa). Embrapa Temperate Agriculture
holds the germplasm of ryegrass (Lolium multiorum), and is
responsible for its breeding.
With research on selection and breeding of forages since the
early 1980s, Embrapa and partners have formed a solid
foundation for the development of new cultivars, which is
crucial for obtaining new genotypes, since all cultivars
currently available have limitations subject to improvement
through breeding (Miles 2007; do Valle et al. 2009).
Cultivar development
The development of tropical forage cultivars is a process
whereby several steps must be fullled in order to reach a
superior genotype, which is a candidate for a new cultivar.
To exemplify this process, we will use as an example the
development of a cultivar of a tetraploid, apomictic forage
grass (Brachiaria and/or P. maximum) (Fig. 3). The process
begins with the availability of the germplasm and its
characterisation for reproductive mode, ploidy level, genetic
diversity, and gene search among others. The apomictic
(tetraploid) accessions are evaluated in small plots, while the
sexual (diploid) accessions must undergo chromosome doubling
so they can be crossed with apomictic genotypes in order to obtain
hybrids. Doubled sexual plants (tetraploid) are then used as
female parents in crosses with apomictic accessions (reciprocal
recurrent selection, RRS, and direct crosses between superior
sexual plants and elite apomictic accessions) or inter-crossed
to improve the sexual population (intra-population recurrent
selection, IRS). In the case of hybrid breeding (RRS),
improvement of the sexual population (IRS), and direct
crosses, populations of up to 2000 hybrids are obtained in
each case and the most vigorous apomictic hybrids move to
the next stage.
In Stage I, the most vigorous accessions from the germplasm
or the best hybrids (100200 genotypes) are evaluated under
a cutting regime in more detail, now considering a larger set
of characters (biotic and abiotic stresses, seed production,
response to nutrients, etc.) not evaluated in the previous stage.
The selected 2025 genotypes follow to the next stage
regional trialsStage II, in which the performance of the
genotypes is evaluated under different harvests in different
locations in order to determine their performance in different
environmental conditions (to identify genotypes with broad
adaptation and/or specic to certain conditions). The
genotypes selected in this stage, i.e. a reduced number of
genotypes (13) are then evaluated in larger experiments under
grazing (Stage III) to determine animal performance (individual
and per area weight gain or milk yield). Once superior
genotypes are identied, they are registered and protected, a
marketing plan is made, and they are later released as cultivars
(Fig. 3).
The stages in Fig. 3take at least 2 years each, and adding
1 year for seed multiplication between each stage, the whole
process takes 810 years. Once the process has begun, there are
always genotypes in various stages of evaluation, which
becomes a production line, with releases in short, medium and
long terms, in response to new limitations in the existing cultivars
(do Valle et al. 2009). Considering the whole process, it is clear
that the focus of the breeding program in the initial stage is to
obtain new genotypes, in the intermediate stage is selection, and
in the nal stage is the recommendation for release of previously
selected superior genotypes. The number of genotypes under
evaluation decreases as the stages continue, from a large number
of genotypes with highly variable performance to a small number
of genotypes with superior performance (elite) for all the traits
under improvement. As the stages progress, there is also an
increase in interdisciplinary collaboration, where several
professionals (entomologists, plant pathologists, specialists in
seed technology, fertility, pasture management, technology
transfer) are inserted in order to reach a common goal, which is
the release of a new cultivar (Fig. 4).
Brachiaria spp. and P. maximum breeding programs,
which have a history of releasing cultivars compared with
other forage genera, are undergoing a paradigm shift. Until
now, the primary method of obtaining new cultivars was the
selection of superior apomictic accessions directly from the
germplasm banks, which is a nite process in terms of
identifying superior genotypes from the pool. Recently,
improvement strategies were adopted in order to obtain
superior hybrids (Fig. 3), thus making the whole system more
efcient and innite.
The development of new forage cultivars now may also
prot from the use of biotechnology to provide accuracy and
agility to support breeding programs, through the identication
of hybrids, the search for molecular markers linked to apomixis,
DCrop & Pasture Science L. Jank et al.
resistance to spittlebugs, tolerance to poor soil drainage,
drought, shading, cold, aluminium toxicity in the soil and
resistance to seed shattering. The genome-wide selection
strategy (Genome Wide Selection) should be adopted in the
medium/long term in order to help cultivar development
programs to be more efcient. More research is necessary for
this to become a reality.
Cultivar releases
Genetic improvement of tropical forages is a very recent activity
compared with the improvement of grain crops such as soybeans
and corn, or temperate forages, for example. Nevertheless,
signicant progress has been achieved in the research and
development of cultivars (do Valle et al. 2009; Jank et al.
2011). Regarding the main forage grasses (Brachiaria spp. and
P. maximum), the efforts of the breeding programs at Embrapa
resulted in the release of B. brizantha cvv. Xaraés (2003), BRS
Piatã (2007) and BRS Paiaguás (2013); B. humidicola cv. BRS
Tupi (2012); and P. maximum cvv. Tanzania (1990), Momba¸ca
(1993), Massai (2000) and BRS Zuri (2014). Releases of
other genera include pigeonpea Cajanus cajan cv. BRS
Mandarim (2009); Paspalum atratum cv. Pojuca (2000);
1 Location
Breeding
1 Location
1 Location/Biome
(VCU cut)
Seed
Multiplication
Seed
Multiplication
Production, seeds, nutritive, biotic (pests,
diseases) and abiotic stresses (Al, flooding),
response to nutrients
Cuttings or
seeds
Superior Sex
hybrids
Superior
Sex hybrids
New cultivar Release & Adoption
1 Location/Biome
(VCU grazing
Registry & Protection
Marketing Plan)
Fig. 3. General breeding scheme of the stages and number of genotypes involved in the development of
a cultivar of tropical forage grass (tetraploid apomictic). (Diagram by Sanzio Carvalho Lima Barrios.)
Breeding
Stage I
Creation
Elite
Few
Several
Diverse
Less More
Interdisciplinarity
Objectives of the breeding program
Genotypes
Number of genotypes
Selection Recommendation
Stage III
Regional
trials
Fig. 4. Integrated graph of the elements (components) involved in the
stages of development of tropical forages. (Diagram by Sanzio Carvalho
Lima Barrios.)
Value of improved pastures to Brazilian beef production Crop & Pasture Science E
cultivars of vegetatively propagated Pennisetum spp.cvv.
Pioneiro (1996), BRS Canará (2012) and dwarf BRS Kurumi
(2012); and Stylosanthes cv. BRS Campo Grande (2000). Forage
peanut Arachis pintoi cv. BRS Mandobi was registered in 2008,
protected in 2011, and it is expected to be released in 2014. Cool-
season grasses released by Embrapa are Sorghum sudanense BRS
Estribeiro (2013) and ryegrass BRS Ponteio (2010). CIAT
released B. brizantha cv. Mulato II in 2005, but its area of use
is still small.
Embrapa varieties have a signicant participation in the
domestic market of tropical pasture seed (market share); the
share was 78% in 201112 and it is certain to continue as
the programs have matured and activities in the several
programs have intensied.
The social balance of Embrapa, carried out every year to
evaluate the impact of the technologies developed on the
performance of the agricultural sector, showed that in 2012
B. brizantha cvv. Marandu and BRS Piatã, P. maximum cvv.
Tanzania and Momba¸ca, and Stylosanthes cv. Campo Grande
contributed with >64% of the economic impact (increased
productivity) of the entire Embrapa program (Embrapa 2013).
Projections for the future
In the near future, world population is expected to increase
signicantly. It is estimated that by 2050 the world will have 9
billion people. With this scenario, a signicant increase in the
production of protein (meat and milk) will be needed. Brazil has
the largest commercial cattle herd in the world and numerous
opportunities to increase productivity and hence protability
without opening new areas to cultivated pasture. According to
projections of agribusiness, described in Outlook Brazil 2022
(FIESP/ICONE 2012), exports of beef, which accounted for
16.5% of the Brazilian production in 2011, will increase to 23%
in 2022, being an important inuence on growth in this sector.
In fact, beef export in 2012 already increased to 18% (ABIEC
2013). Increases in productivity and greater production
efciency should increase animal production without
requiring a signicant increase in the number of head or
pasture area. To meet the projected demand and maintain the
growth, the Brazilian cattle herd should increase to 227 million
head by 2022, signifying a growth rate of 0.4% per year
between 2012 and 2022. If the same stocking rate as in 2010
were to be maintained, 197.8 Mha of pasture would be required.
However, the projection for pasture area in 2022 is of
176.3 Mha. It should be possible to produce more meat and
milk while reducing the area required by 21.4 Mha, through
production intensication with better forages, better
management and integrated croplivestockforage systems.
The use of more productive and better quality pastures
implies more efcient breeding methodologies and tools,
dynamic breeding programs and efcient technology transfer
resulting in progressively better meat and milk production from
pastures.
Acknowledgements
The authors acknowledge the Association for the Promotion of Research in
Forage Breeding (Unipasto) for kindly providing the technical information on
the seed industry in Brazil.
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bda/tabela/listabl.asp?z=t&o=24&i=P&c=73
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Instituto nacional de pesquisas espaciais. Available at: http://www.obt.
inpe.br/prodes/index.php
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... Desde então foram estruturados programas de seleção e melhoramento de gramíneas e leguminosas para o uso comercial de novas cultivares. Esses programas seguem um esquema de avaliação sistemática, sequencial e organizada em redes de pesquisa, cuja seleção de cultivares tem como principais objetivos: adaptação a condições de solo e clima, resistência a pragas e a doenças e alta produtividade de forragem de boa qualidade (Karia e Andrade, 1996;Jank et al., 2014). ...
... Marandu). A cultivar Marandu, também conhecida como Braquiarão ou Brizantão, tornou-se o capim mais plantado no Brasil, tendo ainda expressão comercial em outros países, principalmente da América Latina (Jank et al., 2014). ...
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Agroecologia como ciência tem por objetivo atender simultaneamente as necessidades de preservação ambiental e de promoção socioeconômica de pequenos agricultores excluídos dos projetos desenvolvimentistas na segunda metade do século 20 através da disponibilização de prática e processos agropecuários sustentáveis. Já o produto advindo de sistemas orgânicos de produção tem normatização oficial do Mapa, os demais produtos alternativos não, embora se encontre tentativas de criar selos diferenciados. Portanto, todo o produto ecológico, biodinâmico, natural, regenerativo, biológico, agroecológico é denominado produto orgânico e têm seus processos de produção, de industrialização, de armazenamento, de transporte e de comercialização regidos pela Lei 10831 (Brasil, 2003) e suas instruções normativas, sobretudo a portaria n 52 (Brasil, 2021). Existem diversas experiências de conversão orgânica da produção. A olericultura e a fruticultura estão entre as atividades que mais converteram, por exemplo, para o sistema orgânico de produção. Em relação às grandes culturas (café e açúcar), tem sido possível avançar na velocidade de conversão de áreas. As culturas de grãos e oleaginosas, contudo, enfrentam grandes dificuldades para conversão pelo uso massal de sementes transgênicas e de fertilizantes químicos de síntese, além do controle químico de invasoras, de insetos, de fungos, de vírus e de bactérias tanto no campo como na fase pós-colheita (armazenamento). Na pecuária, existe mais facilidade para a produção de carne e leite de ruminantes a pasto. A produção relacionada aos não ruminantes em sistemas orgânicos (aves, ovos, suínos) é mais difícil em virtude da contaminação do milho com polinização cruzada com plantas transgênicas e pela impossibilidade de uso de aminoácidos sintéticos como a metionina e a lisina para equilibrar nutricionalmente as rações.
... Desde então foram estruturados programas de seleção e melhoramento de gramíneas e leguminosas para o uso comercial de novas cultivares. Esses programas seguem um esquema de avaliação sistemática, sequencial e organizada em redes de pesquisa, cuja seleção de cultivares tem como principais objetivos: adaptação a condições de solo e clima, resistência a pragas e a doenças e alta produtividade de forragem de boa qualidade (Karia e Andrade, 1996;Jank et al., 2014). ...
... Marandu). A cultivar Marandu, também conhecida como Braquiarão ou Brizantão, tornou-se o capim mais plantado no Brasil, tendo ainda expressão comercial em outros países, principalmente da América Latina (Jank et al., 2014). ...
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Este livro é um dos produtos da Reunião Anual de Apresentação de Resultados da Embrapa Cerrados – Especial 40 anos. Esta reunião foi idealizada e realizada para alcançar cinco objetivos principais: (1) resgate e valorização da história da Embrapa Cerrados no desenvolvimento de tecnologias que transformaram o Cerrado e o Brasil; (2) levantamento das tecnologias desenvolvidas pela Embrapa Cerrados nos seus 40 anos de história; (3) levantamento de informações básicas de cada tecnologia para inserção no Sistema de Gestão das Soluções Tecnológicas da Embrapa (Gestec); (4) publicação da primeira versão do portfólio de tecnologias da Embrapa Cerrados; (5) identificação de tecnologias desenvolvidas pela Embrapa Cerrados para intensificação de ações de comunicação e transferência de tecnologia. A Embrapa Cerrados ao longo da sua história, tem gerado soluções tecnológicas importantes para o desenvolvimento sustentável do bioma Cerrado. A produção agropecuária no Cerrado é referência de produtividade e sustentabilidade, conquistada por meio de importantes ações de pesquisa, desenvolvimento e inovação (PD&I). Tais ações foram importantes no passado, são no presente e serão no futuro, considerando a dinâmica da agricultura tropical e a complexidade do bioma Cerrado nos seus pilares econômicos, sociais e ambientais. Uma agricultura forte exige uma ciência forte, de modo que é fundamental a continuidade das ações de PD&I na busca de soluções tecnológicas para ampliar o conhecimento, a preservação e a utilização racional dos recursos naturais do bioma Cerrado e para desenvolver sistemas de produção mais sustentáveis buscando o equilíbrio entre a agricultura e o uso dos recursos naturais. Neste livro, foram definidas 22 áreas temáticas com base nos produtos, processos e serviços desenvolvidos pela Embrapa Cerrados nos seus 40 anos de história. Em cada área temática, é feito um relato histórico das ações de PD&I realizadas para o desenvolvimento das tecnologias. Além disso, foram relacionados os principais produtos, processos e serviços de cada área temática, os quais foram mais detalhados no Portfólio da Embrapa Cerrados – Especial 40 anos (https://www.bdpa.cnptia.embrapa.br (Digite o título e clique em “Pesquisar”). Entre as tecnologias relacionadas neste livro, foi feita uma análise daquelas que necessitam de maiores ações de comunicação e transferência de tecnologia para que sejam efetivamente disponibilizadas para o setor produtivo e para a sociedade
... Desde então foram estruturados programas de seleção e melhoramento de gramíneas e leguminosas para o uso comercial de novas cultivares. Esses programas seguem um esquema de avaliação sistemática, sequencial e organizada em redes de pesquisa, cuja seleção de cultivares tem como principais objetivos: adaptação a condições de solo e clima, resistência a pragas e a doenças e alta produtividade de forragem de boa qualidade (Karia e Andrade, 1996;Jank et al., 2014). ...
... Marandu). A cultivar Marandu, também conhecida como Braquiarão ou Brizantão, tornou-se o capim mais plantado no Brasil, tendo ainda expressão comercial em outros países, principalmente da América Latina (Jank et al., 2014). ...
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A publicação do Censo Agropecuário 20062 identifica 4.367.902 estabelecimentos rurais de agricultura familiar, o que representa 80,25 milhões de hectares, 84,4% do número e 24,3% da área dos estabelecimentos rurais brasileiros. Com somente 24,3% das terras, a agricultura familiar brasileira colabora com 38% do Valor Bruto de Produção Agropecuária (VBPA) e 3,42% do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB), uma marca expressiva que denota a eficiência da categoria produtiva e sua capacidade de se manter ativa e estratégica na economia do país. A discriminação dos dados demonstra que a agricultura familiar participa com 87% da produção de mandioca, 70% do feijão, 67% do leite caprino, 59% da carne suína, 58% do leite bovino, 50%da carne avícola, 46% do milho (fonte de alimentação animal), 38% do café, 34% do arroz e 30% da carne bovina, e ainda contabiliza 21% do trigo e 16% da soja. No âmbito geral, 70% dos alimentos consumidos pela população brasileira são produzidos pela agricultura familiar. Outra evidência da importância estratégica dessa categoria produtiva remete-se à sua participação na geração de empregos no campo. Entre os 16,5 milhões de pessoas empregadas, a agricultura familiar encampa 12,3 milhões (74,4%), com média de 2,6 pessoas com mais de 14 anos por estabelecimento rural. Portanto, a agricultura familiar brasileira cumpre papel relevante na soberania e segurança alimentar e nutricional do país, no abastecimento de alimentos e fibras ao mercado consumidor doméstico, na absorção de mão de obra familiar e na geração de emprego e renda no campo em todas as regiões do Brasil (IBGE, 2009; Mattos, 2010a; Mattos, 2010b). Na região do Cerrado, os dados do Censo3 mostram um expressivo número de estabelecimento que se enquadram nessa categoria. São 771.130 estabelecimentos, que ocupam uma área de 32.072.496 ha (IBGE, 2009). Isso equivale a 79,4% do total de estabelecimentos e 20,6% da área.
... Massai is relatively easier to manage in relation to cv. Mombaça, also that Panicum cultivars have better nutritional quality than the Brachiaria cultivars (Jank, Barrios, Valle, Simeão, & Alves, 2014). Cv. ...
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The diversity of soils and climate in Brazil imposes the need to evaluate the adaptation of fodder species to soil and climate conditions to guide producers and technicians in choosing the best alternatives for their region. The objective of this study was to evaluate and identify fodder cultivars for pasture and soil cover with tolerance to drought and high production in the sandy soils of southern Bahia, Brazil. The performance of 29 commercial cultivars of perennial and annual tropical forage species was evaluated in six cuts in 2019 and 2020. The green and dry mass yield per cut and the daily dry matter accumulation rate were evaluated considering the periods of water surplus and deficit and the drought tolerance index for each cultivar was estimated. Grass and legume cultivars showed differences in establishment, yield in the water surplus, and in the re-establishment after the water deficit. Based on the values of the drought tolerance index and in the dry mass daily yields before and after the water deficit, the cultivars adapted and indicated for regional continuous grazing were Xaraés, Marandu, Massai, Tanzânia, Paiaguás, and Zuri, in that order. The grasses B. ruziziensis and B. decumbens were indicated for use as cover plants after the harvest due to their high capacity of establishment and short-term production. The annual and perennial legume plants were also indicated for cover, and the combination of cultivars and their potential for straw in direct planting or use in integrated systems still need to be validated.
... Urochloa), the brachiariagrasses, are the backbone of forage-based beef production in Brazil, where grazed pastures occupy approximately 165.2 M ha (Brazilian Beef Exporters Association, 2021) and are the primary and most economical feed source for cattle. It is estimated that brachiariagrasses occupy about 80% of the pasture area in Brazil (Jank et al., 2014) R.D. Webster] being two of most important cultivars, based on planted area. Problems such as susceptibility to spittlebugs (Deois sp. and Zulia sp.) of Basilisk signalgrass and the more recent "Marandu death syndrome" in palisadegrass have highlighted the need for pasture diversification in the country (Caetano and Dias-Filho, 2008). ...
Article
Seasonal and annual changes in stubble characteristics can affect the regrowth of warm‐season perennial grasses. Understanding these changes and their effects on forage accumulation rate (FAR) can improve defoliation management. Our objective was to describe and relate variations in stubble characteristics with FAR during regrowth of four palisadegrasses [Brachiaria brizantha (Hochst. Ex A. Rich.) Stapf. syn. Urochloa brizantha (Hochst. ex A. Rich.) R.D. Webster], genotypes Marandu, Xaraés, Arapoty and Capiporã, and one signalgrass [Brachiaria decumbens (Stapf.) syn. Urochloa decumbens (Stapf) R.D. Webster] cv. Basilisk, in southeastern Brazil. Plots were harvested at 15‐cm stubble height every 28 d during the warm season and 42 d during the cool season of years 2005–2006 and 2007–2008. Stubble mass was ∼1070 kg DM ha−1 greater in the cool than warm season, while FAR was less in the cool season. Arapoty and Basilisk showed generally less FAR (∼45 kg d−1) and stubble leaf, stem, dead material, and total mass during the warm season compared with more productive grasses Capiporã and Xaraés (∼63 kg d−1). Leaf and canopy photosynthesis varied over seasons and years, but they were similar among grasses despite differences in stubble characteristics and FAR. Marandu accumulated more leaf in the stubble than other grasses, resulting in greater residual leaf area index, but it did not increase FAR. Under less favorable growth conditions, grasses increased stubble herbage mass (SHM). More productive grasses generally present greater SHM and leaf mass, indicating that stubble characteristics play an important role in the regrowth of brachiariagrasses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved Stubble characteristics play an important role in the regrowth of brachiariagrasses. Grasses increased stubble herbage mass and reduced forage accumulation rate during the cool season. Marandu palisadegrass had greater stubble leaf mass, but similar accumulation rate to less productive grasses. Capiporã and Xaraés palisadegrasses had greater stubble herbage mass and forage accumulation rate.
... Its manipulation permits full exploitation of hybrid vigor, acceleration of breeding programs and avoidance of the sanitary problems associated with clonal vegetative propagation [7,15,16]. Breeding programs based on apomixis technology are currently being employed in forage grasses of Brachiaria, Panicum, Paspalum and Poa genera [17][18][19][20][21]. ...
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The capacity for apomixis in Paspalum notatum is controlled by a single-dominant genomic region, which shows strong synteny to a portion of rice chromosome 12 long arm. The locus LOC_Os12g40890, encoding the Auxin/Indole-3-Acetic Acid (Aux/IAA) family member OsIAA30, is located in this rice genomic segment. The objectives of this work were to identify transcripts coding for Aux/IAA proteins expressed in reproductive tissues of P. notatum, detect the OsIAA30 putative ortholog and analyze its temporal and spatial expression pattern in reproductive organs of sexual and apomictic plants. Thirty-three transcripts coding for AUX/IAA proteins were identified. Predicted protein alignment and phylogenetic analysis detected a highly similar sequence to OsIAA30 (named as PnIAA30) present in both sexual and apomictic samples. The expression assays of PnIAA30 showed a significant down-regulation in apomictic spikelets compared to sexual ones at the stages of anthesis and post-anthesis, representation levels negatively correlated with apospory expressivity and different localizations in sexual and apomictic ovules. Several PnIAA30 predicted interactors also appeared differentially regulated in the sexual and apomictic floral transcriptomes. Our results showed that an auxin-response repressor similar to OsIAA30 is down-regulated in apomictic spikelets of P. notatum and suggests a contrasting regulation of auxin signaling during sexual and asexual seed formation.
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Many of today’s damaging invasive plants were intentionally introduced for pasture development. By examining the introduction history and consequent spread of these species, we can identify factors associated with their successful establishment and dominance. Using collated presence/absence and cover data, alongside a review of the literature and discussions with land managers, we present a comprehensive analysis of the introduction history and spread of the invasive perennial grass species, Bothriochloa pertusa throughout Queensland, Australia. Using this data, we also perform habitat suitability models to predict its potential distribution and local-scale cover across Queensland in relation to key environmental variables. We found that B. pertusa was introduced on multiple occasions and across a large area of Queensland, despite re-occurring doubts and poor evidence for its benefit to livestock production. Livestock grazing, associated disturbances (i.e. land clearing, soil erosion) and climatic extremes were commonly associated with its spread throughout the landscape. In 2020 the main area of B. pertusa invasion as indicated by occurrence records spanned 28,537,600 ha. Results from the habitat suitability models suggest the occurrence and local-scale cover of B. pertusa is largely determined by climate variables and the foliage projective cover of trees. Based on these results B. pertusa still has considerable capacity to spread and increase in dominance across many areas of Queensland, particularly further west and south of its current range. The introduction and spread history of B. pertusa suggests propagule pressure, traits, climate, land management and cultural perceptions are all key factors implicated in the spread of B. pertusa . We recommend more conservative grazing strategies and strategically selected protected areas to slow the spread of this species.
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Poaceae, among the most abundant plant families, includes many economically important polyploid species, such as forage grasses and sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). These species have elevated genomic complexities and limited genetic resources, hindering the application of marker-assisted selection strategies. Currently, the most promising approach for increasing genetic gains in plant breeding is genomic selection. However, due to the polyploidy nature of these polyploid species, more accurate models for incorporating genomic selection into breeding schemes are needed. This study aims to develop a machine learning method by using a joint learning approach to predict complex traits from genotypic data. Biparental populations of sugarcane and two species of forage grasses (Urochloa decumbens, Megathyrsus maximus) were genotyped, and several quantitative traits were measured. High-quality markers were used to predict several traits in different cross-validation scenarios. By combining classification and regression strategies, we developed a predictive system with promising results. Compared with traditional genomic prediction methods, the proposed strategy achieved accuracy improvements exceeding 50%. Our results suggest that the developed methodology could be implemented in breeding programs, helping reduce breeding cycles and increase genetic gains.
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Genetic improvement of native forage species is a sustainable alternative for maximizing livestock production. Paspalum notatum Flügge is the most important forage grass in the native grasslands of southern Brazil, with substantial potential available for further genetic improvement. The objective of this study was to quantify a range of genetic parameters and predict yield gains in a population of P. notatum intraspecific hybrids. Results indicated intraspecific hybrids of P. notatum had high magnitudes of heritability in the broad and average sense of genotype, plus high selective accuracy and genetic variation for all forage characteristics evaluated. This indicated REML/BLUP can contribute useful information for plant selection in future plant breeding programs. The genetic material studied showed high genetic variability for forage production. Analysis indicated hybrids 336, 332, 437, 132 and male parent ‘30N’ should be included in new crosses to increase the dry matter production of P. notatum. Parents need to be selected from different groups in order to maximize genetic variability and heterosis. In addition, these parents must be included in diallel crosses. The results obtained in this study provide important information for the future breeding of improved P. notatum cultivars for commercialization.
Chapter
The Amazon Rainforest is a global diversity hotspot that has experienced a significant level of deforestation over the past half century, primarily for the establishment of cattle pasture. Characterizing the impact of this large-scale ecosystem conversion on the composition and activity of the soil microbial community is crucial for understanding potentially consequential shifts in nutrient and greenhouse gas cycling, as well as adding to the body of knowledge concerning how tropical ecosystems respond to human disturbance. Research to date has shown that locally, communities of soil microorganisms tend to become more diverse upon conversion of forest to pasture. However, these communities undergo taxonomic homogenization at landscape-level spatial scales, mirroring the homogenization of plant communities across pastures. Microbial community structure is distinct between forest and pasture soil communities across several studies, and specific taxa, such as Firmicutes and Acidobacteria, show consistent association with pasture and forest soils, respectively. In addition, shifts in microbial community functions with pasture conversion have relevant impacts on both carbon and nitrogen cycling at the ecosystem scale: the abundance and diversity of methane-cycling prokaryotes shifts in conjunction with increased methane flux in pastures. Further, quantitation and community profiling of free-living nitrogen fixers has demonstrated that this functional group is favored in pastures and suggests that asymbiotic N2 fixation may be a significantly augmented process. While human-driven deforestation is continuing, a large percentage of once-converted pastures are undergoing the process of secondary forest succession. Assessment of microbial communities in secondary forests compared to primary forests and pastures suggests convergence toward a recovery of functionality and community composition with reforestation.
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Brazil has the largest commercial beef cattle herd and is the main beef exporter in the world. Cultivated pastures are the basis for the Brazilian beef production, and occupy an area of 101.4 million hectares. However, very few forage cultivars are commercially available, and the majority of these are of apomictic reproduction, thus genetically homogeneous. Tropical forage breeding is at its infancy, but much investment and efforts have been applied in the last three decades and some new cultivars have been released. In this paper, origin of different species, modes of reproduction, breeding programs and targets are discussed and the resulting new cultivars released are presented.
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Apomixis is widely distributed among tropical forage grasses, and has long been merely regarded as an impediment to breeding. Panicum maximum is presented as the first opportunity for Brazilian geneticists to develop and test original breeding schemes adapted to an apomictic species. A large and representative germplasm of P. maximum has been introduced and is currently being evaluated. Basic knowledges on biology and reproduction are also available, which demonstrate an easy manipulation of apomixis and sexuality. Several limiting traits have already been detected during evaluation, which justify breeding attempts. An ideal scheme is given to transfer new qualities to already selected varieties.
Article
Apomixis - asexual reproduction through seed - provides a convenient means to faithfully propagate even heterozygous genotypes and hence exploit heterosis, in several naturally apomictic, warm-season forage grasses. Inheritance of apomixis has been shown to be monogenic dominant in at least four economically important panacoid grasses. Previously proposed breeding schemes for apomicts do not provide a means to accumulate genes contributing to nonadditive, heterotic effects over cycles of selection and recombination. Following the development of successful brachiariagrass [Brachiaria (Trin.) Griseb] cultivars by ecotype selection, artificial hybridization of brachiariagrasses began in the late 1980s with the development of a sexual tetraploidized biotype of the natural diploid, sexual ruzigrass (Brachiaria ruziziensis Germain and Evrard). A breeding scheme - recurrent selection for specific combining ability - designed to accumulate nonadditive effects, originally proposed for sexual maize (Zea mays L.), is suggested as an appropriate scheme for improvement of apomictic tropical grasses. Recurrent selection on specific combining ability or interpopulation selection schemes such as reciprocal recurrent selection should be appropriate for other asexually propagated crops.
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FIESP/ICONE (2012) Outlook Brasil 2022. Projeções para o agronegócio (Federação das indústrias do estado de São Paulo/Instituto de estudos do comércio e negociações internacionais: São Paulo) IBGE (2006) Censo agropecuário. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Available at: http://www.sidra.ibge.gov.br/bda/tabela/pro tabl.asp?c=1031&z=t&o=11&i=P IBGE (2010) Pesquisa Pecuária Municipal (1974–2010). Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Available at: http://www.sidra.ibge.gov.br/ bda/tabela/listabl.asp?z=t&o=24&i=P&c=73 INPE (2012) Projeto Prodes: Monitoramento da floresta Brasileira por satélite. Instituto nacional de pesquisas espaciais. Available at: http://www.obt. inpe.br/prodes/index.php
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Oram RN (1990) 'Register of Australian herbage plant culivars.' 3rd edn. Australian Plant Registration Authority, Division of Plant Industry. (CSIRO: East Melbourne, Vic.)
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ABIEC (2012) Estatísticas: mercado mundial. 2012. Associação Brasileira das Indústrias Exportadoras de Carnes. Available at: http://www.abiec. com.br/download/stat_mercadomundial.pdf ABIEC (2013) Estatísticas: balanço da pecuária. 2013. Associação Brasileira das Indústrias Exportadoras de Carnes. Available at: http://www.abiec. com.br/texto.asp?id=8 CEPEA (2011) PIB do Agronegócio Brasileiro—Dados de 1994 a 2011. Centro de Estudos Avançados em Economia Aplicada—ESALQ/ USP. Availa. Available at: http://cepea.esalq.usp.br/pib/ CNA (2012) 'Guia de financiamento para agricultura de baixo carbono.' (Confederação da Agricultura e Pecuária do Brasil: Brasília, DF) do Valle CB, Jank L, Resende RMS (2009) O melhoramento de forrageiras tropicais no Brasil. Revista Ceres 56, 460–472.
Forrageiras: uma grande parceira para o agronegócio
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Nunes SG, Boock A, Penteado MI de O, Gomes DT (1984) Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu. Documentos Embrapa, No. 21. Embrapa/ CNPGC, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.