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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The size of the cattle herd in Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter, grew for the first time in three years in 2019, according to data released on Thursday by the government’s bureau of statistics IBGE.

The country’s herd totaled 214.7 million head in 2019, a 0.4 percent rise from 2018, driven by a retention of female cows for breeding and a 5.1 percent growth of the herd in Mato Grosso state, IBGE said. In 2018 and 2017, herd size had declined.

Mato Grosso, where most of Brazil’s grains . . .

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