Characterization of beef cattle farming in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica
Loon, M. van
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Cattle farming is after banana the most important agricultural activity in the Atlantic Zone. In the Atlantic Zone specialized milk production, double purpose (i.e. milk and meat production) and beef production can be found. Beef production is, within the cattle production, the most important activity. So far, not much research has been done on beef cattle. The most important systeMON that can be found in the region are 'cria' and 'engorde'. Cria is the rearing of calves which are sold at weaning. Engorde is the fattening of male animals up to a weight of 400-500 kg. The most common grass species in the Atlantic Zone is Ratana. It is well adapted to infertile soils. The grass allows relative high stocking rates but the nutritive value is often low. The amount of external inputs differed between the farMON but all the farMON can be classified as having 'low external inputs'. Beef cattle farming is an extensive form of production. The production per hectare is low. The major problem is the amount of feed available and the nutritive value of the grasses. For cria, poor state of forrages is reflected in a low reproduction of the cows and for engorde in a low live weight gain of the animals.