Zebu breed, livestock business with a future for the country
The advance of zebu breeds as a basis for strengthening the productive conditions of bovine activity in the Colombian tropics is evident.
Although the profitability margins are very narrow in the breeding of zebu cattle in the different Colombian regions, the breeders of the country consider that it is still possible to continue investing in this bovine business due to the adaptability that these cattle have to the tropics, especially to the heat, humidity and insects, and by the meat and dairy production that these animals can give.
Among the best zebu breeds that exist in Colombia, Brahman and Nerole stand out, for their excellence in meat; the Gyr, for its dairy production; and Guzerá, for its dual purpose work. Each of these lineages has demonstrated the potential they have to take advantage of the products they provide. (Read: Genetics, food and animal welfare, keys to winning at the Cebu National Fair)
According to Andrés Arenas Gamboa, executive director of the Colombian Association of Cebu Cattle Breeders, Asocebú, and vice president of the Meat Guild Chamber, Brahman cattle, besides being a breed of excellence, provide precocity, productivity and fertility .
“Performance tests in herds grazing show that the gains of these breeds, on average, are 700 grams per day: in males, over a thousand grams and in females, without any type of supplements, at 550 grams” , adds Arenas Gamboa.
Land area, equal to productivity
For Gustavo Loboguerrero, president of the Angus and Brangus Association of Colombia, so that people in the country begin to consider that livestock can be profited from, they must know that the volume of animals is exclusive to the land area .
Loboguerrero explains that if the land where the cattle farm is not productive, it occurs in one hectare per animal, but if, on the contrary, it is productive, it occurs in an area of between 1.5 and 2.5 hectares per animal. (Read: Cebu cattle breeders prepare for Agroexpo 2013)
“The Holstein breed, which is native to the Friesian region, is of high quality for dairy production, since it can be obtained daily between 25 and 45 liters of milk. In meat, the Brahman breed is a meat producer par excellence, since it can generate between 15 and 20 kilograms of meat per month ”, adds the president of the Angus and Brangus Association.
For his part, Daniel Osorio, zootechnician at the University of Antioquia and technical assistant of the Association, reports that the zebu breed is considered, in the world, as one of the best tools to initiate crossbreeding programs.
“Its excellent rusticity, productive duration and maternal ability are, for sure, fundamental to increase productivity in the cattle farm, due to the high hybrid vigor that is generated when crossing the bos indicus by the bos taurus (Asian and European races)” explains Osorio.
Pure livestock, good business?
With regard to pure livestock, people who start in the cattle field wonder about the profitability of it. Given this, Asocebú assures that it is profitable, since a pure specimen is worth two or three times more than a commercial animal. (Gallery: Norman, a breed worth two)
“Pure cattle ranching is focused on producing the breeding stock and replacement females for the other cattle herds in the country. From each animal, on a close average, a production of 20 liters can be obtained and, with crosses, approximately 20 to 30 liters ”, says Andrés Arenas Gamboa.
The panorama in Colombia, to date, is stable. About 40 million hectares in the country are dedicated to livestock activity; 60% are located at altitudes lower than 1,000 meters above sea level and at temperatures that range between 23ºC. and 32ºC.
According to the Colombian Association of Cebu Cattle Breeders, of the more than 26 million heads that make up the national herd, 99% of the cattle in the country are Zebu or have Zebu genetics due to the properties obtained in the business.