Technical efficiency in beef cattle farming in Uruguay

Insights from census data




stochastic frontiers, production function


Livestock farming is the agricultural activity with the greatest individual land-use, but it faces competition from other sectors for land, and is criticized for its environmental footprint. In this global context, Uruguay emerges as an important case study, boasting a long tradition and significance in the beef export sector. Enhancing livestock productivity is imperative to mitigate environmental impacts, and bolster farm competitiveness and food production. This study delves into the technical efficiency of cattle ranches focused on cow-calf production in Uruguay during the 2011 agricultural year, with nationwide and mandatory data coverage. Using data from the 2011 General Agriculture Census we estimate a translog stochastic production frontier model encompassing key inputs (livestock units, grazing area, and labor), along with control variables such as soil suitability and infrastructure improvements. Our findings underscore the potential to augment Uruguay's beef production by an average of 26.4%, harnessing existing resources and technology while improving ranch management. Moreover, variables like the extent of reliance on livestock farming as the primary source of income of the ranch, the use of outsourced services, foreign cattle ownership ratios, and agronomic and veterinary consultation exert noteworthy significant impacts on TE.


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How to Cite

Aguirre E, García Suárez F, Sicilia G. Technical efficiency in beef cattle farming in Uruguay: Insights from census data. Agrocienc Urug [Internet]. 2024 Feb. 21 [cited 2024 Apr. 12];28:e1237. Available from:



Social Sciences, Rural Sociology and Agricultural Economics
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