The aim of this study was the evaluation of the economic viability of a traditional model of beef calves production in extensive system, developed under the conditions of relevant receipts and input costs recommended for normal production conditions in the of Rio Grande do Sul state. There were two interviews in rural property for collection of data on the expenditure of resources, structures available for the system of production and occupancy rates of grazing areas. The results showed that major operating costs of the activity were the manpower and feeding the flock. In the land opportunity costs represented the largest proportion (52.0%) of the total cost. Fixed costs were higher variable costs (61.7% vs. 38.3%). Gross and net margins showed that the activity is sustainable but economically equilibrium point of calving (85.0%) was above average rates reported in the literature, and negative values for profitability (-19.0%) and profitability (-23.2%). It was concluded that the viability of production systems studied in this research can be obtained from the optimization of production technologies and the reduction of fixed costs without changing the recipes.
beef cattle; production costs; balance point; profitability