The growth, which is expected over the next decade, would enable the industry to push further into higher-value export markets.
In its report ‘Beefing up in Brazil: Feedlots to Drive Industry Growth’, Rabobank said it expected Brazil to increase its feedlot capacity to 4.5 million head – more than double what it is now.
This would result in total head of fed cattle reaching 9m annually, which could result in an increase of fed beef production to 2.5 million tonnes annually by 2023.
Currently less than 10% of Brazil’s cattle is raised in feedlots, but Rabobank estimates the total investment needed to increase capacity by 2.5m head is between $250m-$500m.
Adolfo Fontes, an analyst at Rabobank, said: "The opportunities for Brazilian beef producers, feeders, processors and exporters appear very bright.
"Expected improvements in productivity and quality in the beef industry will help Brazil increase its presence in high-value export markets, such as Europe, Japan and South Korea."
According to Rabobank, the Brazilian beef industry is relatively inefficient by global standards, "with below-average sector productivity and yield parameters, suggesting significant opportunities exist for improvement".
It said the country would be well-placed to meet the needs of developing countries, which have seen economic and population growth, and with it a dietary shift towards higher-protein content meals.
Renato Rasmussen at Rabobank said: "Brazil is uniquely placed to fulfil this need, due to the country’s unmatched potential for expanding corn and soybean production – the two most universally-used ingredients for animal rations."
In view of the growth potential, the report noted that major changes to cattle management and nutrition would be required and suggested that producers would move towards more intensive production systems.
It predicted this intensification could result in a 3.2% compound annual growth rate in overall beef production grow over the next 10 years.