The Coneat Index in Uruguay: The Exceptional Uruguayan Measurement for the Soil Quality in Uruguay
The CONEAT index in Uruguay is used to define the current capacity of the country’s land, determined on the production of beef and ovine meat and lamb’s wool.
The quality of the soil of all rural lots of land in Uruguay has been analyzed and classified to know its potential usage. From the production point of view it is considered as the initial capacity of the soil to produce a certain yield per hectare per year, which theoretically can be expressed as a percentage of optimal yield achieved on the ground that offers the most favorable conditions under specific technology.
What is CONEAT?
This project started back in 1968 when the National Commission for the Agronomic Investigation of the Land was founded to develop criteria for the definition of the productivity of each parcel of land of Uruguay. (Comisión Nacional de Estudio Agronómico de la Tierra). The CONEAT commission recollected data from producers, technicians and also from field studies, laboratories and institutions that helped to develop the CONEAT index .
At that time, it was created purely for taxation and not for productive purposes. It was to map all rural standards of Uruguay, classifying them according to their soils and their productive capacity. Nowadays it is extremely useful to know the types of soils involved and its productive capacity when looking for land in Uruguay.
Creating the CONEAT Mapping
The photo interpretation of aerial photographs and delimited areas of homogeneous landscape, based on the observation of the topography, the surface drainage pattern, the natural vegetation and land use, the existence of rocky outcrops and nature, produced a general mapping of production for the CONEAT index.
The Coneat Index and the Soil Groups provide valuable information also for farming and for defining which land is good for different types of investments. The classification is done by defining the dominant soils associated, taking into account, some soil characteristics and properties plus associated features and references to vegetation and land use. The Coneat groups are not strictly basic soil map units, but are homogeneous areas defined by its production capacity in terms of standing cattle, sheep and production of wool.
Two Types of Coneat Index
1.The index of production outcome, based on soil type, fertility and productive capacity.
2.The real value index, which includes the parametric calculation of factors as distances to towns, accesses to land, road and services.
The second index has changed over time. In the 60’s, the country road infrastructure was much more rudimentary than today and not only their soils influenced the production of a field, but also the access to land and transportation.
The CONEAT index of final productivity determines operating costs in Uruguay
The impact of the CONEAT productivity index over farmland prices in Uruguay is clear since it states the relationship between land productivity and the type of soils present in the Uruguayan land. There is a very good advantage when using this index because it is easily understood by all agents of the agricultural sector. The disadvantage is that it considers exclusively parameters from livestock production, which may be questioned when applied to the comparison of land for other productive uses. Despite of this, the CONEAT index is widely used to value price of farmlands in Uruguay, as well as to compare productivity of rural lands.
While there maybe errors in mapping, generally the Coneat sketch with the distribution of soils is very accurate, giving a clear idea of what you’ll find on a tour of the field.
The CONEAT Measuring Scale
The Coneat Index was developed with a scale ranging from 0 to 200, being 100 the national average which is the average of the country’s land, and it refers to the production of 100 kilos of equivalent meat per hectare. It does not mean that there are 100 kilos of bull on the land, but a parametric that integrates the production of meat, wool and dairy farming.
Uruguay is Seeking a new Coneat Measuring Natural Grasslands
One of the aims of the future National Agricultural Information System will be the mapping of natural grasslands and achieving a cartographic map of natural fields to measure productivity on wild grasslands and establish a new kind of Coneat index.
The great opportunity is in the growing appreciation in the world for meat produced in natural areas, with special attention to animal welfare. Niche markets that are willing to pay more for products with these qualities are opened. Uruguay has 64% of natural pastures and is working to preserve them in a sustainable way.
The organization includes representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. With the aim of increasing production based on natural fields. Last September 2014, Grasslands Alliance signed a cooperation agreement with the National Meat Institute (INAC) with the aim of contributing to adding value to export beef products through joint certifications to value the use of natural grasslands of Uruguay.
For investment options on farm land, please contact us……..
Mary Ann Thompson