Agriculture and Cattle RaisingInnovation and technology at the service of the sector
Through the company Sirculo Agropecuária, the group operates in Agriculture, Forestry, Fruit growing, Viticulture, Pig and Cattle breeding.
CROPS AND FORESTS
In the agricultural holdings there are cork oak forests and undergrowth, annual irrigated farmland and non-irrigated farmland crops, with a predominance of mixed seeds and permanent crops such as vineyards, prickly pears and permanent pastures. Holdings have over 200 ha of cork oak forests, yielding approximately 180.000 kilos of cork.
The choice of crops
Crops are chosen according to the needs of the animals and soil characteristics. Crops that are best suited to the climate of holdings are selected by means of soil tests. A procedure of mixing different seeds is followed, in order to find the proper balance between irrigated farmland and the non-irrigated farmland seeds.
The Integrated Production mode, in line with the principles of Organic Agriculture, was a natural choice for Sirculo Agropecuária, a company that is strongly committed to full sustainability.
Prickly pears, namely the Optuntia Ficus-Indica variety, is a fruit that, in Organic production, is fully adapted to a region like the Alentejo. Their cultivation allows optimizing resources such as energy and water and using renewable energy and irrigation systems with low water consumption. Fruits are extracted from the fig tree for direct consumption, for the fresh produce market; juices for direct consumption, for the natural juices market; oil and powder from the seeds, for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties recently demonstrated by scientific research. This fruit has a high marketing potential, widely exploited in various parts of the world such as South America, the USA, South Africa, Greece and Italy.
Vineyards are located in Casa Branca 20 km away from Estremoz, in a “Terroir” that is favourable to the Aragonez and Trincadeira varieties and produce about 70 tons of grapes a year. Other than grape-related commercial activity, Sirculo Agropecuária produces the typical Alentejo wine, aromatic, strong and balanced, very dark in colour and concentrated, and its unique tannin structure favours a surprising ageing in the bottle. The allotment of these varieties gives the wine a greater exoticism and elegance and after fermentation in winepresses it rests first 6 months in oak barrels and a further 6 months in the bottle.
Sirculo Agropecuária’s pastures are the cornerstone of its cattle raising activity, which aims to be as natural as possible. During most of the year, animals graze on permanent pastures and on the undergrowth of the cork oak forest, where they have food, shade, water points and roaming space. At times of food scarcity, namely in the summer months when the pastures become dry under the sun and lose their nutritive value, the animals receive supplementary feed from in-house grown fodder. A quality product is thereby ensured which allows animals to keep ideal weight and bone mass throughout the year.
Sirculo Agropecuária aims to become self-sufficient and thereby less dependent on external factors. It is equally committed to environmentally beneficial farming methods so as to ensure a sustainable future for the next generations.
Montibérico, a company owned by Sirculo Agropecuária, was set up in 2008 and started its activities with about 50 Iberian breeding cows of advanced age, long past their reproductive cycle. It currently has 850 pure Alentejo breeding cows, produces 13.000 animals annually and has an annual renewal livestock rate of 50%, thereby constantly improving its product. Almost all of it is exported to Spain. Like other companies in the group, Montibérico is a company with a high degree of social and environmental responsibility. In line with this philosophy, it reuses the livestock effluents that it produces to improve the quality of the soil thereby increasing its productivity without resorting to chemical fertilizers. Montibérico is the leader in Iberian pig production in Portugal and uses the latest technology available in the market to provide the best conditions to the animals and fully control their farming.
The breeding stock consists in 250 crossbreed Limousine cows which yield 225 calves a year. Bulls, fine specimens of the Limousine, Salers and Angus breeds, are exceptionally sought-after, including the breeding males.
The characteristic features of these breeds are their excellent calving record, fast growing, hardiness and docility.
The holding operates in an integrated production mode whereby the animals spend as much time as possible in the open and receive feed supplements only at time of need, when the land is unable to produce feed with the quality and quantity required under the quality standards of Sirculo Agropecuária.
This is the groups’ company, held by Sirculo Agropecuária, that operates in acquisition, construction and management of farming and cattle raising holdings.