How to Start Sheep Farming in Brazil: Breeds, Business Plan, Challenges, and Management

Sheep farming has been an important part of the Brazilian economy and culture. Sheep are raised for their meat, wool, and milk and play a significant role in the country’s agricultural sector. Sheep farming in Brazil has undergone some changes in recent years as ranchers have increasingly adopted modern methods and technologies. Traditional sheep husbandry methods are still practiced in many parts of the country. 

How to Start Sheep Farming in Brazil
Image Source

How to start sheep farming in Brazil

Sheep breeds available in Brazil

  • There are several sheep breeds in Brazil. The most common are the Churra, Merino, Ile de France, and Texel.
  • Breeds considered are the hair breeds Santa Inês, Morada Nova, Somális Brasileira, Cariri, and Rabo Largo, and the wool breeds Bergamácia Brasileira, Crioula Lanada, and Pantaneira. 
  • The Churra is a native Brazilian breed well-suited to the hot, humid climate. They are white with black patches and have long, coarse wool.
  • The Merino is a popular choice for sheep farming in Brazil due to their high-quality wool. They are white with black or brown spots and have medium-sized bodies.
  • The Ile de France is another popular breed for sheep farming in Brazil. They are large, white sheep with black faces and legs. Their wool is of high quality, and they are good milk producers.
  • The Texel is a Dutch breed that has recently gained popularity in Brazil. They are large sheep with thick, curly wool that is ideal for making clothing and textiles.

Impact of climate change on sheep farming in Brazil

Climate change is having an impact on sheep farming in Brazil. Rising temperatures in precipitation patterns are resulting in more frequent and intense droughts, which are the main cause of death for sheep in Brazil. In addition, climate change is also causing an increase in wildfires, which can destroy pastures and kill sheep.

Farmers are changing how they manage their flocks to adapt to these changes. They are using more drought-tolerant breeds of sheep, planting drought-resistant grasses, and establishing early warning systems to alert them to wildfires. However, adaptation measures can only do so much in increasingly extreme weather conditions. Ultimately, climate change will significantly impact the viability of sheep farming in Brazil.

Sheep farming areas in Brazil

  • The Rio Grande do Sul State has the largest sheep flock, with 3.98 million head, mainly managed for mutton production. 
  • The Northeast region, however, recorded the largest increase in the flock, representing 53% of the Brazilian flock, concentrated in Bahia and Ceará States, which together exceed 5 million head.
  • There are many sheep farming areas in Brazil. The Pantanal is the most common wetland area in central-western Brazil. It is estimated over one million sheep in the Pantanal, making it one of the largest sheep farming areas in the world. Other sheep farming areas in Brazil include the Amazon rainforest and the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil.
  • The country’s southern region is the largest concentration of sheep farms near Porto Alegre. However, sheep farms are also located in other parts of Brazil, including Rio Grande do Sul and the Brazilian Highlands.

In case you missed it: How to Start Sheep Farming in New Zealand: Breeds, Management, Loans, and Profits

Sheep Breeds
Image Source

The future of sheep farming in Brazil

The future of sheep farming in Brazil is looking bright. As the lamb and wool demand rises, the industry is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Brazil is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, with its large sheep population and ample grazing land. Several factors are driving the expansion of the Brazilian sheep industry. Firstly, there is increasing demand for lamb and wool globally. Consumers’ growing preference for lamb meat and a resurgence in wool fabrics are driving this.

Second, Brazil has a large population of sheep, which provides a ready supply of animals for slaughter and wool production. The future looks promising for Brazil’s sheep farmers. They are positioned to take advantage of strong global demand trends and have the resources necessary to meet this demand. With continued growth, the Brazilian sheep industry could become a major player in the global market.

Sheep farming importance in Brazil

  • Sheep farming is an important agricultural activity in Brazil. It plays a significant role in the country’s economy and employs many people. Sheep meat is a valuable commodity, and the wool produced by sheep is also used in various products.
  • The Brazilian government offers support to sheep farmers through various programs and initiatives. These programs are designed to help farmers improve their production practices, increase productivity, and expand their operations.
  • Sheep farming is an important contributor to the Brazilian economy and provides livelihoods for many people in the country. The industry offers opportunities for small-scale producers as well as large-scale commercial operations. With the right support from the government, sheep farmers can continue to play a vital role in Brazil’s agricultural sector.

Is sheep farming profitable in Brazil?

Several factors to consider when determining if sheep farming is profitable in Brazil. The first is the cost of inputs, which can be significant. The second is the market price for wool and lamb meat, which can fluctuate. Other considerations include the cost of land and labor, as well as climate conditions.

In case you missed it: Sheep Farming in Kenya: How to Start, Breeds, Loans, Zero Grazing, and Feeding for Beginners

Sheep Farm Shed
Image Source

Assuming all things are equal, sheep farming can be quite profitable in Brazil. It is one of the most lucrative agricultural endeavors in the country. However, there are always risks involved with any business venture, so it is important to do your research and understand all the potential costs and revenue before getting started.

Zero-grazing sheep farming in Brazil

The main advantage of zero grazing is that it eliminates the need for hay or another supplemental feeding, which can be costly. Additionally, zero grazing allows farmers to take advantage of the natural foraging behavior of sheep, resulting in less labor. However, there are some disadvantages to zero grazing. One is that it can lead to overgrazing and soil degradation if not managed properly.

Another is that sheep may not meet their nutritional needs without supplemental feed during drought or extreme weather conditions. Despite these challenges, Brazil’s zero grazing can be a successful farming system. Sheep farmers who use this method must be vigilant about pasture management and closely monitor their flock’s health.

Steps to start sheep farming for beginners in Brazil

  1. Choose the right breed of sheep for your climate and pasture.
  2. Start with a small flock of sheep, around 10-20 animals.
  3. Purchase healthy animals from a reputable breeder.
  4. Quarantine new arrivals to your farm for at least two weeks.
  5. Make sure you have enough fencing to keep your sheep contained.
  6. Provide plenty of fresh water and good quality hay or grass for feed.
  7. Supplement your sheep’s diet with minerals and vitamins as needed.

Sheep feeding management in Brazil

In Brazil, sheep are typically fed a diet of grass and hay. However, farmers may supplement their sheep’s diet with grains such as corn or soybeans during the dry season when less grass is available. Sheep may also be given mineral supplements to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. Sheep feeding management in Brazil is therefore important for maintaining the animals’ health and ensuring that they have enough food to eat during times of drought.

In case you missed it: 16 Key Rules for Effective Sheep Farm Management: From Planning to Reduce Production Cost

Sheep Feeding
Image Source

Sheep house design in Brazil

In Brazil, sheep houses are designed to protect the animals from the hot, humid weather. The roofs are often made of thatched palm fronds, which keep the inside of the shelter cooler than the outside temperature. The walls are usually mud or adobe bricks, which help regulate the temperature and keep the sheep cool. Sometimes, windows are placed high on the wall to let in light and air but keep out predators.

Sheep farming business plan in Brazil

Brazil has a wide variety of climates and terrain, which supports a diversity of sheep breeds. The main producing regions are in the south and southeast of the country. Sheep farming in Brazil generally follows traditional methods, with flocks grazed on natural pastures. However, some intensively farmed wool is produced using modern techniques such as rotational grazing and feedlots.

The main market for Brazilian wool is China, which imports around two-thirds of Brazil’s production. Wool is also exported to other countries in South America, Europe, and Africa. There are around 13 million sheep in Brazil, with the majority bred for meat rather than wool production. However, the wool industry is growing in importance due to rising demand from China and other markets.

If you’re thinking about starting a sheep farming business in Brazil, there are many things you need to know. First, you’ll need to obtain a license from the Brazilian government. This can be done by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture or the National Institute of Animal Husbandry. Once you have your license, you’ll want to find suitable land for your farm. Sheep require plenty of space to graze, so choose a large enough property to accommodate your flock.

Once your farm is set up, you’ll need to purchase some sheep. You can buy them from another farmer or import them from another country. If you decide to import sheep, you’ll need to ensure they are quarantined before entering Brazil. Quarantine facilities are available at major airports and ports throughout the country. When setting up your farm, you’ll also need to create adequate housing for your flock. Sheep need shelter from the sun and rain, so build a comfortable barn or shed. You’ll also need fencing to keep them safe and secure. 

Sheep farming types in Brazil

  • Brazil has three main types of sheep farming: extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive.
  • Most sheep in Brazil are raised extensively, meaning they are mostly left to fend for themselves in open pasturelands. This type of farming is cheaper and requires less labor, but it results in lower wool quality and yields.
  • Semi-intensive sheep farming is more labor-intensive and expensive but produces higher-quality wool. In this type of farming, the sheep are given supplementary feed and are protected from predators and harsh weather conditions.
  • Intensive sheep farming is the most expensive and labor-intensive method, but it yields the best wool quality. In this farming, the sheep are kept in enclosed areas where they are given constant care and supervision.

In case you missed it: Earning 70 Lakhs from Rose Cultivation in 5 Acre Polyhouse: The Success Story of a Flower Farmer

Image Source

Are sheep profitable on a small farm?

  • The size of your flock will determine the profit you can make. A small flock of 10-20 sheep can easily provide enough wool and meat for a family but won’t bring in a lot of income from sales. A larger flock of 100+ sheep can provide a good income but requires more land and resources.
  • The type of sheep you raise will also affect profitability. Meat breeds like the Dorper are more profitable than wool breeds like the Merino since they produce more meat per animal. However, wool fetches a higher price per pound than lamb meat, so raising a wool breed can be more profitable if you have the market.
  • Location is another important factor. If you live in a location with a high demand for lamb meat or wool, you’ll be able to get higher prices for your product. Conversely, if there isn’t much demand in your area, you may have to sell at lower prices or ship your product to another area to find buyers.

Sheep farming profits in Brazil

The profitability of sheep farming in Brazil can vary depending on many factors, including the farm size and location, the type of sheep being raised, and the market conditions for wool and meat. Large commercial farms near urban areas can be profitable, as they can access a larger market for their products. The type of sheep raised also affects profitability. Sheep bred for wool production fetch higher prices than those bred for meat, so farms that focus on wool production tend to be more profitable.

However, sheep farming is not a highly specialized industry in Brazil, so there is still good demand for meat from sheep even if they are not specifically bred for it. Finally, market conditions play a large role in determining sheep farming profits. The price of wool and lamb meat fluctuates depending on supply and demand, so farmers must keep up with market trends to maximize their profits.

Sheep farming loans in Brazil

  • As the world’s largest wool producer, Brazil is an important player in the global sheep industry. To support the country’s sheep farmers, various financial institutions offer loans specifically for this purpose.
  • The Brazilian government offers two types of loans for sheep farming: investment loans and working capital loans. Investment loans are intended to purchase animals, while working capital loans cover day-to-day expenses such as feed and labor.
  • Most banks that offer agricultural loans have special programs for sheep farmers. These programs often include lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. Brazil’s largest banks offering sheep farming financing include Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, and Caixa Econômica Federal. Several smaller regional banks also offer this type of financing.
  • Farmers should be prepared to present a business plan and collateral when applying for a loan. The loan amount will depend on the size and scope of the operation, as well as the farmer’s credit history.

Sheep farming problems in Brazil

  • Drought – This is a major problem in parts of Brazil and can lead to sheep dying or being sold off.
  • Footrot – This condition affects sheep’s feet and can make them uncomfortable. It can also lead to death if not treated.
  • Pesticides – There have been reports of sheep being affected by pesticides used in agriculture, which can lead to illness or death.
  • Diseases – Several diseases, such as contagious ecthyma and scrapie, can affect sheep. These can often be fatal.

In case you missed it: Common Mistakes in Sheep Farming: For the First Time Sheep Owners

Sheep Farming
Image Source

Sheep farm setup cost in Brazil

The initial setup cost for a small sheep farm in Brazil can be as low as R$2,000. This includes the purchase of two to three breeding ewes and one ram. The start-up costs can be higher if you buy fencing and other infrastructure. Assuming you have the necessary land and infrastructure, the main costs associated with sheep farming are feed and pasture, veterinary care, and labor.

Feed costs will vary depending on whether you are growing your feed or purchasing it from a supplier. Pasture costs will also vary depending on the quality of the land. Veterinary care is an important cost, as sheep are susceptible to various diseases and parasites. Finally, labor costs can be significant, especially if you hire someone to help with the day-to-day care of the livestock animals.

Sheep farming challenges in Brazil

  • One of the biggest challenges faced by sheep farmers in Brazil is finding enough grazing land for their animals. Sheep require a lot of grass, and much of Brazil is either too dry or too crowded to graze comfortably. This has led many farmers to move their herds frequently, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Another challenge is the climate. Brazil can be very hot and humid, stressing sheep and making them more susceptible to disease. Farmers must provide plenty of shade and water for their animals during the hottest months.
  • Despite these challenges, sheep farming in Brazil can be a rewarding experience. Those who can overcome difficulties can enjoy a unique way of life while helping to provide food for the country’s growing population.


Brazil has become one of the world’s leading wool and lamb meat producers. Brazilian sheep farming is an industry that has been growing in recent years. It is now the world’s second-largest producer of sheep meat, behind only China.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here