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Water buffalo production in the Brazilian Amazon Basin: a review

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Abstract

The Brazilian Amazon has witnessed, in the last decades, an increase in the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) inventory, with interesting productivity results. As the Brazilian Amazon contains the main water buffalo population in the Americas, the aim of this work is to review its most relevant production systems and some peculiarities about meat and milk production in this territory. The opening section describes the Amazon Basin, the most common water buffalo breeds, a brief history of the local livestock farming beginning in 1644. Also, it presents how water buffaloes gradually replaced bovine herds, especially where the latter had a lower productive performance. The use of extensive or more intensified models is pointed out and the ecosystems in which buffaloes are raised are detailed since native or cultivated pastures can be used in floodplains or drylands. Buffalo raising is favored in the Amazon due to the climate, soil, genetic variability of forages, animal adaptability, and physical space. Thus, it is clear that buffaloes have a high potential for meat and milk production and are an alternative in the use of altered areas of the Amazon; and, in the recent past, the low profitability of buffalo farming in traditional production systems in the Amazon was the reason which made this activity economically unattractive. Most recent technologies as outdoor confinements and silvopastoral systems are pointed out as more suitable regarding land-use policies, and buffalo farming for meat and milk production fits perfectly in this context, with productivity and beneficial socioeconomic.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge all players (scientists, technicians, farmers, ranchers) in the water buffalo production in the Brazilian Amazon. The authors also thank the Amazon Military Command of the Brazilian Army-CMA, Associação Paraense dos Criadores de Búfalos, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics-IBGE, and colleagues for gently contributing with images and information used to illustrate the text.

Funding

The authors received financial support from the Federal Rural University of Amazonia-UFRA, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation-Embrapa (Precision Agriculture Network, grant# 11.14.09.001.03.03), the Federal University of Pará-UFPA, the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Pará-FAPESPA, and the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). ARG is a National Council for Scientific and Technological Development-CNPq fellow.

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JARS, ARG, AMA, and JBLJ substantially contributed to the conception and design of the article; JARS, ARG, and JBLJ performed the literature search and interpreted the relevant literature; JARS, ARG, and ASB prepared the tables and figures; JARS, ARG, and ASB drafted the manuscript; ARG, AMA, and JBLR critically revised the work.

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Correspondence to Jamile Andréa Rodrigues da Silva.

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da Silva, J.A.R., Garcia, A.R., de Almeida, A.M. et al. Water buffalo production in the Brazilian Amazon Basin: a review. Trop Anim Health Prod 53, 343 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-021-02744-w

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