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2009 Report of the Vice President for Latin America

 

Since my election to the position of Vice President for the Latin America region the international financial crisis has resulted in my not being to devote as much time as I would have liked to the business of the Bureau.  I hope to be able to devote more time in future. 

           

I could only make e-mail conversations with representatives of other Latin American Associations and I received the reports from Argentina, Colombia and Guatemala.  I have arranged for the translation from Spanish to English of the reports I hope that I am able to relay their reports correctly.  I received from Agustin Robredo, President of the National Jersey Association of Argentina their report (in English) and I thank him for this.

The dairy business in Latin America is suffering almost the same problem of  strong drop in the fluid milk prices in different countries of and many breeders are quiting the business as a way to protect their investments.  Despite this economic challenge my feeling is that Jersey breeders are maintaining their enthusiasm for the breed and its position in the dairy business continues to be very important in each country.  We will see in the coming years the further development of Jersey among other dairy breeds, and I am sure that the improvement of Jersey breed will be stronger than others.

ARGENTINA

This report is intended to give a glance of the situation of the dairy sector in Argentina and the growth of the Jersey breed. The year 2008 has been a particular year for the agrarian sector, especially the dairy, due to the 120-days strike. The economic measures and higher taxes on the agrarian products caused total discontent among farmers, whose profitability became seriously affected. We are still under the same situation, or even worse, if we consider the international crisis and the drop in the prices of commodities.

The dairy producer receives around U$S 0.18 cents per litre of milk. Some provinces receive less than U$S 0.16 cents. These numbers are lower than production cost values. Such a situation led to the closing of many dairy farms. According to statistics, more than 500 dairy farms closed last year. Today there are only 10,000 farms left.

The dairy producer charges 20% of the sale price. The graph below shows the Argentine annual milk production and the export surplus, of which there was little as the Government banned the export of dairy products.  Sale of grain in port and live cattle was prohibited for 4 months.  By the end of the year the situation went back to normal, but today, April 2009, the story repeats.

In Brief:

·         The export surplus consists of 2,500 millions of litres per year.

·         International prices are not enough to cover  production costs.

·         This surplus must be exported, otherwise local prices will fall deeper.

·         The actual price of milk per litre: 0,70/0,80 cents : U$S 0,20 cents

At the Association we have designed a new web site where people can search information on the breed. Also, the Association has sponsored conferences intended to spread the breed’s benefits.

Dairy fairs were very much affected due to sporadic roadblocks as a sign of protest to the Government that made it impossible to transport animals.

We began to work together with people from the Holstein Association, who manage the breeding registry and control of milk production in a genetic evaluations program. The program has just begun, but we will eventually obtain the first progeny tests of the Jersey breed. This is very important for national genetics behaviour evaluation. Some national farms are using genetic markers on their animals. The first Jersey x Holstein crosses were officially registered, with its corresponding purebred category. The use of imported semen remains favourable: 45,000 semen doses were imported in 2008.

I think that we must take advantage of this financial crisis and the meteorological drought we have suffered to prove that the Jersey needs less feed intake to produce.

 

Agustín Robredo

President

BRAZIL

Since the mid 2008 the dairy industry in Brazil has faced a very strong fall in its economic performance. To understand the whole picture, is necessary to remember that this industry had a wonderful period from 2006 to early 2008, when the fluid milk price increased tremendously and every breeder was really excited with the market forecast to the dairy industry in general.

The consequence of this optimistic forecast was the growth of investment level in the dairy industry, and the good weather conditions during the same period caused the increase in the milk production level.

After that wonderful period of increases, the price of fluid milk to the breeder droped around 50% since mid 2008, from the average R$ 0.90/1.00 (reais) to the present level of R$ 0.50 (reais), whilst production costs have remained the same.

That situation of current prices lower than the production costs is responsible for many breeders taking the decision to quit the business.  Despite this difficult situation the Jersey breeders are confident in the Jersey cow and in its productivity, and their development is sustainable.

The use of Jersey semen has increased 10% a year over the last 5 years, from 425 thousands straws in 2004 to 683 thousands straws in 2008. That represents a 61% increase in 5 years.

Some exciting news from Brazilian National Jersey Association is that, the “Cabanha da Maya”, owned by Ms. Zuleika Borges Torrealba, from Rio Grande do Sul, produced the two Jersey cloned animals.  These are the first clones from dairy breeds in Brazil and are considered a real landmark in national dairy breed improvement. These two heifers are already recognized by the Brazilian Agricultural Department and had their registrations formally approved.

Pictured above are the cloned daughters of “Responses Wonder”, from the USA, on the cover of the Brazilian magazine.

 

COLOMBIA

Colombia, during the second half of 2008, experienced good weather conditions resulting in an increase in milk production levels.  But this increase in production and consequently the increase in the sales of milk in the domestic market, caused a reduction in the price of milk.

In conjunction with these market difficulties, the currency exchange rate and some other problems in the export business have had a negative impact on dairy businesses.  The milk price forecast to 2009 predicts a 10% reduction compared to the average 2008 price.

Despite these challenges for the Colombian dairy industry, the Jersey breed is doing well. The use of imported semen has increased strongly, particularly because of the increase in the crossbreeding programs.  Last year 56 thousand units of Jersey semen were imported and in last 10 years Colombia has imported around 300 thousand units.  This has allowed the increase in the crossbred heifers and cows.

Colombia is very close to obtaining international recognition as a country free of Foot and Mouth Disease and it is expected that the IEO (International Epizootias Organization) will issue the certification in June 2009.  In addition to this programmes are in place to control Bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis. 

Genetic improvement, quality milk production and modernization of dairy units are important tools to achieve greater competitiveness.  During last year 23 new breeders joined the Colombian Jersey breeders association, now totaling 149 members from all over the country.

The Jersey breed development in Colombia, and the full recognition of the advantage of this breed is clearly demonstrated by the increasing number of registrations in 2008: 370 pure bred heifers, 224 cross bred heifers, 402 cows (vacas fundadoras or grade), first, second and third generation, and 60 bulls. The total breed numbers are now 14,082 pure bred females, 1,709 cross bred females, 1, 147 bulls, and 628 cows (vacas fundadoras or grade) first, second and third generation.  This demonstrates the importance of the recovery of genetics in Colombia which contributes to the growing genetics base.

Classifications during the year have totaled 839 animals from 28 farms, and the average score was 81.2, the same as in 2007.  Three classifiers have worked in the field, Mr. Jorge Martinez, Andrés Arenas and Iván Dario Cely.

The National Jersey show, held on November 8 and 9th in Medellin, saw 100 animals from 8 breeders on parade and was judged by Mr. Glen Burgess from Canada.  Two other regional shows, Expo Jersey Ubate and Expo Jersey Bucaramanga saw around 50 animals each.

GUATEMALA

In May 2009 the Guatemalan Jersey Breeders Association celebrated 25 years of existence and a programme of events has been organised for all the breeders to celebrate the success of the Jersey breed in this country.

There have been increases in the importation of cattle from New Zealand and the Association is preparing a system to co-ordinate standards of imports.  The importation of cattle has been a successful way to improve the quality of the breed, but care has to be taken to have ensure top quality in order to maximize the improvement of the national herd.

The achievements of the breed and the Association have been as a result of the efforts of a few individuals who have supported the finances of the National Association.   Unfortunately this can no longer be sustained due to the current economic conditions and the Association would like to transfer its membership category of the Bureau from Full National Member to Associate Member until the economic situation improves. 

Respectfully submitted

Massaru Kashiwagi

Vice President for Latin America

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