Why this cow is worth $4MILLION after stealing the show at high-stakes auction

Tran Hanh
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June 05, 2024

Among millions of cows in the world, there’s one which stands out from other livestock.

Supercow Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis currently holds the world record for being the most expensive cow sold at auction.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Mara was sold for $4.2 million on July 1, 2023.

Weighing more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kilograms), she’s twice as heavy as the average adult for her breed.

Mara was sold for three times more than the previous record holder.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis was sold for $4 million. Weighing more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kilograms), she's twice as heavy as the average adult for her breed.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis was sold for $4 million. Weighing more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kilograms), she’s twice as heavy as the average adult for her breed.

Ney Pereira and his daughter, veterinarian Lorrany Martins, give an interview inside a stable at his farm in Uberaba, Minas Gerais state, Brazil

Ney Pereira and his daughter, veterinarian Lorrany Martins, give an interview inside a stable at his farm in Uberaba, Minas Gerais state, Brazil

The cattle industry in Brazil is a major source of cash flow for the country’s economy and is the world’s top beef exporter – and Viatina-19 is a testament to Brazil’s quest for the ultimate beef cow.

The million-dollar cow is a result of years of meticulous breeding.

Elite cattle auctions, with exorbitant price tags, turn prizewinners into shared investments for wealthy ranchers.

These moguls of the meat industry are playing a genetic lottery, harvesting eggs and semen from champions.

Their goal: creating embryos to be implanted in surrogate mothers, hoping to birth the next generation of super cows.

‘We’re not slaughtering elite cattle. We’re breeding them. And at the end of the line, going to feed the whole world,’ one of Viatina’s owners, Ney Pereira told AP News. ‘I think Viatina will provide that.’

But what makes this cash cow worth all that money?

Lorrany Martins, a veterinarian and Pereira’s daughter, said the cow’s price tag is based on a trifecta of three desirable traits: rapid muscle growth, exceptional fertility, and most importantly, the consistent ability to pass these qualities on to her calves.

Lorrany Martins, a veterinarian and Pereira's daughter, said the cow's price tag is based on a trifecta of three desirable traits: rapid muscle growth, exceptional fertility, and most importantly, the consistent ability to pass these qualities on to her calves.

Lorrany Martins, a veterinarian and Pereira’s daughter, said the cow’s price tag is based on a trifecta of three desirable traits: rapid muscle growth, exceptional fertility, and most importantly, the consistent ability to pass these qualities on to her calves.

Other factors include the cow’s value posture, hoof solidity, docility, maternal ability and beauty

She also said breeders are willing to pay a whopping $250,000 to collect Viatina-19’s egg cells. 

‘She is the closest to perfection that has been attained so far,’ Martins said. ‘She’s a complete cow, has all the characteristics that all the proprietors are looking for.’

To put things in perspective, Beef cows cost between $2,500-$3,000 and are bred for meat production. A dairy cow costs roughly between $900-$3,000 and is bred for milk production.

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