Credit: AP/Youtube

What's the Deal with Brazil's $4 Million Cow?

Viatina sold for $4.2 million last year, but all of a sudden, ranchers in Brazil decided to show her off. The reason? Good genetics.

Last year, Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis set a record as the most expensive cow in the world when she sold at auction for $4.2 million. But it wasn't until Monday that she was revealed to the world. So why is this $4 million cow getting so much attention now?

Well, Viatina-19 has become a celebrated example of Brazil's success in the cattle industry. According to researchers, Brazil is the second largest beef producer and largest exporter in the world. In 2021, it produced some 9.7 million tons of beef, earning about $8 billion in annual revenue. And ranchers are now using Viatina's genetics to breed future generations of cows.

Why show off the $4 million cow now?

Lately, the owners of Viatina have reportedly been putting her images up on highway billboards to highlight the prize cow. The purpose is to show off the superiority of Brazil's cattle with the hopes that more will consume the beef. Cows like Viatina-19 are used for breeding. Wealthy ranchers will use the eggs and semen from champion cows to create embryos and then implant them in surrogate cows.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Cleiton Borges, Viatina's veterinarian, said: "I would say that Viatina is a combo. She combines breed beauty, reproductive capacity, modern genealogy, all in a single animal."

According to Guinness World Records, Viatina-19 is a Nelore, a type of breed recognized worldwide for its exceptional qualities. Although the breed originated in India, it has become an important stock for Brazilian ranchers. Its distinguished features include bright white fur, loose skin, and a hump just above its shoulders. They're also known for tolerating high temperatures.

"I believe she's the world's best," said Ney Pereira, one of Viatina's co-owners. "We need to share her around the world. And the commercial way to do that is to export its genetics, and we are going to seek that path going forward."

Those interested in using Viatina's genetics can buy her egg cells for $250,000.