Temperatures in the most affected areas ranged from 6 to 9 degrees Celsius (43 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit), according to local press reports. This is a representational image. Photo by Mike Kline notkalvin/Gettyimages

Recent reports from local veterinary services indicate that approximately 3,000 cattle have died due to hypothermia in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state.

However, it is important to note that this figure represents a small proportion of Brazil's extensive cattle population, which stands at approximately 224 million.

Consequently, the impact on beef production, particularly for meatpackers like JBS, operating within the state, is expected to be minimal.

These incidents have garnered attention due to their rarity. Reports from the local press indicate that the affected regions experienced temperatures ranging from 6 to 9 degrees Celsius (43 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit).

Alcides Torres, the owner of agribusiness consultancy Scot Consultoria, mentioned that the cattle breeds in the area are typically able to withstand the colder temperatures associated with the country's winter season, which has recently begun.

"Brazil exports live cattle for slaughtering in Turkey below snow," Torres said. "It was the cold but there was something else."

Despite requests for further comments, Mato Grosso do Sul veterinary services did not respond, aside from the statement they released, which updated the number of cow deaths due to cold temperatures to 2,725.

The statement provided by the veterinary services explained that hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below normal and can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe in cattle.

Authorities highlighted various factors that may contribute to mortality from hypothermia, including the nutritional condition of the animals, the limited availability and quality of pastures, and the lack of shelters to shield them from abrupt climate changes, rainfall, and winds.

"Previous episodes of mortality due to weather conditions in the state have already been described as prone to occur in a cyclical way," the statement noted.

In Brazil, which holds the title of being the largest beef exporter globally, cattle predominantly graze in open pastures.

This practice is particularly affected during the winter season when dry weather and reduced food availability lead to tighter supplies, consequently driving up cattle prices.

Conversely, during the first half of the year, pastures flourish due to abundant rain and ample sunshine.

These favorable conditions facilitate weight gain in animals, resulting in increased supplies for meat processors, Reuters reported.

Alcides Torres explained that this seasonal pattern influences the dynamics of the cattle market in Brazil.

"With this cold, with the threat of frost, people thought there would be an oversupply of cattle," Torres said. "There wasn't, which suggests that supply is adjusting to demand."

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