Brazil: the new promised land for dairy farming
With land prices of €4,000 per hectare, the ability to produce over 37t/ha of grass drymatter, and a vast domestic market that is taking off, Brazil would appear to be the next great frontier for intrepid dairy farmers looking for stellar returns.
But as New Zealander Greg Lyndsay found out when he moved to Brazil 12 years ago to establish a series of grass-based dairy farms, patience is a virtue that cannot be under-estimated in the South American food giant. "I've a firey nature, which probably counts against me in many ways out here, because a job that should take three minutes suddenly takes four and a half hours - all because you've got the wrong size page!
"The bureaucracy is just incredible," admitted Mr Lyndsay, who was visiting Ireland last week to take part in the Taste of Cavan food festival.
Administrative hurdles and rookie errors have set back the Kiwi's original plans by at least four years, but the Leitissimo dairy company that he has established is now set for exponential growth, he claims.
The business now has 3,000 cows being milked on six neighbouring units, with another 3,000 youngstock set to come through the ranks over the coming 24 months.
Mr Lyndsay originally bought 1,000 local cows when he first set up in central Brazil, 350m northeast of Brazilia.
But he ended up culling almost half the cows within two years due to diseases such as TB and brucellosis.