Published at: 23 October 2023

"28 producers and technicians from INIAF and FEGASACRUZ in the Bolivian Chaco, accompanied by INTA, visited pilot sites and technological silvopastoral management initiatives in 3 Argentine provinces for 4 days."

During the last week of August 2023, the group traveled approximately 2,000 km across the Argentine Chaco, spanning the provinces of Salta, Santiago del Estero, and Tucumán. In the town of Pluma de Pato (Rivadavia department, Salta), researchers Tilda Ledesma and Adriana Gómez Omil from INTA Yuto, along with Hernán Hernández from the INTA Extension Agency in Tartagal, welcomed them at Mr. Coqui Caram's establishment.

They toured various plots, observing activities such as the extraction of well water using a solar panel-powered pump, the use of sprinkler irrigation for pasture cultivation in small areas to supplement livestock during periods of scarcity, pasture field distribution, and the types of crossbreeds used in the region, among other things.

After a long journey heading south, they arrived in the town of Nueva Esperanza in the province of Santiago del Estero. The following day, two properties were visited: "El Quebrachal" and "La Morena." Both of these properties are located within the so-called "yellow zone" as per the "Territorial Forest Zoning" law. This means that a certain level of economic activity and forest resource utilization is permitted, but it must adhere to regulations and practices that do not compromise the conservation of forests and their biodiversity.

El Quebrachal is a property that has been under development for a relatively short period. They could see how the initial planning of paddock design, fence installation, water sources, and the construction of pens, chutes, and more had been carried out. The owner, Martín Pinasco, kindly and openly explained the decisions the company had made to structure the property in compliance with the law's regulations while ensuring profitability at the same time.

The following day, the tour continued at the field of the Santiago del Estero Experimental Station of INTA, located in the town of Árraga. There, they visited trials related to the management of megathermal pastures associated with grazing frequencies and adjustments in stocking rates to maintain forage productivity. Juan Saravia, a researcher from the EEA, guided them through these trials. Updated information was shared on how to select the right species, improve the planting system, and use the correct planting density.

Likewise, Dr. Roxana Ledesma and her team introduced the technique of Low-Intensity Selective Rolling (RBI), a technology for enabling low-impact silvopastoral systems in the Semiarid Chaco. Unlike other methods for preparing land for livestock purposes (e.g., total deforestation, intensive rolling), RBI conserves the soil and most of the native vegetation while not compromising production. Forests managed with RBI also maintain connectivity with extensive areas of native vegetation.

The tour continued with a visit to El Duende Ranch, a feedlot located in the town of Fernández, where their technicians and the owner provided a comprehensive explanation of the operation of this intensive cattle fattening system, capable of accommodating up to 10,000 animals. They also demonstrated how it is fully integrated into the meat production chain.

The following day, the tour headed to the province of Tucumán, concluding at the Semi-Arid Chaco Animal Research Institute of INTA in the town of Leales. In the company of Dr. Eva Cafrune, the institute's director, they visited trials involving pure and associated pastures, the use of corn silage as a dietary supplement, experiments with silvopastoral plots with planted carob trees, root exploration trials in associated systems, and examples of Criollo cattle breeds, among other things.

With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)