Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331875

Title: Simulating economics and environmental impacts of beef and soybean systems in Brazil's Pamas and Amozon Biomes

item HOSHIDE, AARON - University Of Maine
item PEREIRA, CAROLINA - Federal University Of Rio Grande Do Sul
item ABREU, DANIEL - Federal University Of Rio Grande Do Sul
item Rotz, Clarence - Al

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2016
Publication Date: 10/6/2016
Citation: Hoshide, A.K., Pereira, C.H., Abreu, D.C., Rotz, C.A. 2016. Simulating economics and environmental impacts of beef and soybean systems in Brazil's Pamas and Amozon Biomes. Proc. VIII Simpsio Brasileiro de Agropecuaria Sustentavel. Sinop-Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recent reductions in the deforestation of the Amazon biome have highlighted the need for the sustainable intensification of beef and commodity crop production in Brazil to increase agricultural productivity without accelerating adverse environmental impacts related to greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication, and water and energy use. A key step to understanding the sustainability of the current status quo agricultural production systems compared to alternative systems is to use the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) version 4.2 which was calibrated to model beef and crop production systems in the southern (El Dorado, Rio Grande do Sul or ED-RS) Pampa biome and Midwest (Sinop, Mato Grosso or S-MT) Amazon biome in Brazil. Beef systems in both locations were 1) entirely extensive pasture or 2) the same pasture diversified into cash crop production of soybeans (Glycine max) and corn (Zea mays) grain. Systems were simulated over historical weather profiles for ED-RS (1988-2013) and S-MT (2011-2015). Simulated soybean and corn grain yields for the diversified IFSM model in Sinop was compared to average yields for the Médio-Norte region of MT where Sinop is located. Diversifying into commodity crops increased whole-farm profitability and reduced GHG emissions per hectare but increased water, nitrogen, and energy use per kg of beef compared to the pasture-only baseline. Beef systems were less profitable in S-MT compared to ED-RS due to lower beef and corn grain productivity despite approximately 6% higher soybean yields. Water and energy use in S-MT was greater due to beef cattle using more purchased feed plus higher livestock water use in the tropics.