The Van Trump Report

The Most Expensive Cow in the World…

A huge white 4-and-a-half-year-old Nelore breed cow named Viatina-19 FIV Mara Imóveis, has sold for the highest price ever, making it the most expensive cow in the world. One-third of the ownership of the cow, was sold for over +$1.4 million at an auction held in Arandú, Brazil,  placing its total value at a staggering $4.3 million.

This sale earmarks the true value of purebred Nelore in Brazil, showing just how much some are willing to pay for high genetic quality specimens. This high price will also ripple across the international cattle market, highlighting the breed’s value and strengthening its reputation worldwide.

Nelore cows are a breed characterized by their bright white fur, with a distinct bulbous hump above their shoulders. They have naturally high resistance to hotter temperatures, which comes from their loose, dangly skin, and possession of sweat glands twice as large and 30% more numerous than those of many European breeds, according to Oklahoma State University.

This breed originates from India and is named after the Indian district of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state. It is now one of the most important breeds in Brazil, primarily due to its hardiness and its ability to thrive on poor-quality forage, due to its efficient metabolism.

It also breeds easily, as the females have wider pelvic openings and larger birth canals, while calves need little interaction from humans to successfully grow to adulthood. Nelores are also resistant to a number of parasitic infections, due to their dense skin texture making it harder for blood-sucking insects to penetrate.

Its high price is a result of these favorable characteristics, with the breed being selectively bred to amplify these traits using artificial insemination. Sales of Nelore semen represent 65% of the total artificial insemination market of cows in Brazil, and according to a recent report, sperm from the most valuable elite bulls may cost +$7,000 per dose. There are around 167,000,000 Nelore cattle in Brazil, comprising 80% of the total number of cows across the country. 

In regard to Angus genetics, the market in Brazil is expected to double in the next foru to five years. It seems like they are running more of the Angus breed down in the southern part of Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil has actually become the largest market for US cattle genetics, and we are starting to see a lot more crossing between the Nelore and Angus breeds. The Angus offers the most tender quality marbling of beef, but the full Angus breed struggles with the heat, humidity, and the ticks in Brazil. While the Nelore handles the heat, humidity and ticks really well, the meat just isn’t considered as quality of the pure Angus, this is why crossing the two has worked very well.  

Brazil actually has the largest commercial cattle herd in the world at around 225 to 235 million head, with 43% dairy and 57% beef cattle. this compares to about 90 to 95 million head in the US and about 75 to 85 million in the EU. In case you are wondering, Brazil is now the world’s largest exporter of beef, followed by Australia. It looks like India could overtake the US as the third-largest exporter of beef. Interestingly, a significant portion of India’s beef production and exports are derived from water buffalo, which is typically less marbled than beef from the English and European beef breeds common in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. (Source: Newsweek; USDA

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