In 2004, Brazil had 204.5 million head of cattle, an increase of 4.58% over 2003, making it the owner of the world’s largest cattle herd.
However, the fastest growing animal population in Brazil is goats, rising 10% from 9.6 million in 2003 to 10.5 million in 2004.
Goats thrive in the Northeast region where the climate is suitable and they are an important source of income for poor families in one of the country’s poorest regions.
The numbers are from the government statistical bureau’s survey of animal husbandry at the municipal level (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística) (IBGE) (Pesquisa da Produção Pecuária Municipal 2004).
Evaldo Lopes do Rego, of the IBGE who ran the survey, says it is still too early to measure the effects on sector profits due to reports of isolated cases of foot and mouth disease in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná.
"We have to wait for data from this year (2005) to see the consequences in the Midwest region where the cases occurred and 35% of the country’s cattle is located," he declared.