Livestock intensification potential in Brazil based on agricultural census and satellite data analysis

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of livestock intensification in Brazil. Beef cattle stocking rates were estimated according to agricultural census data on livestock production in Brazilian municipalities. Pasture carrying capacity was obtained by combining moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (Modis) images of gross primary productivity and data on dry matter demand per animal unit (AU). Cattle stocking rate for Brazil, in 2014/2015, was 0.97 AU ha-1, and the carrying capacity was 3.60 AU ha-1; therefore, there is an average livestock intensification potential of 2.63 AU ha-1. The highest average intensification potential was observed for the Southern region (3.62 AU ha-1), and the lowest for the Northern (2.13 AU ha-1) and Northeastern regions (2.22 AU ha-1). It is possible to estimate cattle stocking rate, pasture carrying capacity, and potential of livestock intensification by integrating data on agricultural census and remote sensing.