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2012

Selected Works

Cattle Ranching in the Tropics

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Full-Text Articles in Nature and Society Relations

Productivity Gains And The Limits Of Tropical Ranching In Colombia, 1850-1950, Shawn Van Ausdal Jan 2012

Productivity Gains And The Limits Of Tropical Ranching In Colombia, 1850-1950, Shawn Van Ausdal

Shawn Van Ausdal

Contrary to the common assumption that Colombian ranchers were uninterested or unable to improve their cattle operations before the 1950s, this article provides evidence of slowly rising productivity indices from the mid-nineteenth century. These improvements were based on the diffusion of African grasses, new breeds of cattle, barbed-wire fencing, and better ranch management. However, despite such gains, Colombian ranchers failed to break into the international beef trade; their productivity levels did not rise sufficiently to compete against major exporters such as Argentina. Nonetheless, the gains they made suggest that this failure was not simply rooted in the backward and non-productive ...