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January 21, 2016

Mato Grosso has Largest Cattle Herd in Brazil

The state of Mato Grosso is famous worldwide as the leading soybean and corn producing state in Brazil, but what most people don't realize is that it is also the leading cattle producing state in Brazil as well. According to census conducted by the Mato Grosso Institute of Plant and Livestock Protection (Indea/MT), the cattle herd in the state in 2015 was 29.2 million head, which represented an increase of 2.7% compared to the 28.5 million in 2014.

All the cattle in the state are required to be vaccinated annually against foot and mouth disease and this January will mark 20 years since the last case of foot and mouth disease was registered in the state according to the newspaper A Gazeta. The success in controlling the disease can be attributed to the twice yearly mandatory vaccination periods. The first vaccination period occurs during May when all the cattle less than 24 months of age are required to be vaccinated. The second period is during the month of November when all the cattle and buffalos, regardless of age, are required to be vaccinated. During this past November, Indea/MT estimates that 99.59% of the cattle in the state were vaccinated and the vaccination rate has remained above 99% since 2005.

The vaccinations are closely monitored by Indea/MT which has a presence in all 141 municipalities in the state and has more than a thousand employees. There are 104,000 rural properties in Mato Grosso that are registered with Indea/MT and technicians from Indea/MT fan out across the state during the vaccination periods to monitor and assist in the vaccination process. They focus most of their efforts on the areas of the state that borders on Bolivia where sanitary efforts are much less rigorous.

During this past November, technicians from Indea/MT monitored and assisted in the foot and mouth vaccination on 3,242 ranches with special emphasis on the border areas. Along the border with Bolivia, 44 teams of technicians assisted in the vaccination of 531,000 cattle on 777 ranches that border on Bolivia. In total, Indea/MT employees assisted in the vaccination of 1.06 million cattle.

Although the vaccinations are mandatory, for a variety of reasons, not everyone adheres to the rules. Approximately 2,049 land owners that are registered with Indea/MT did not participate in the November vaccination, which represented 0.4% of the state's cattle herd. These ranchers are being notified by Indea/MT that they must vaccinate their cattle and that technicians from Indea/MT will assist in the effort. These ranchers will also be fined for each cow that they did not vaccinate at the proper time.