The expansion of the cattle frontier
The expansion of agricultural lands in the past 30 years has pushed cattle raising to poorer soils. It thus posed new challenges to the breeder, who must stretch his imagination to devise new management methods. Against this background, Brangus stands out as a crucial tool to turn these marginal lands more productive: stocking rates can be increased with larger beef yields per unit of land.
In the past decades we were faced with the challenge of raising cattle in the Argentine subtropical zone. Such expansion brought about a significant process of genetic absorption with Brangus, which improved existent cattle herds. Quality in breeding herds became increasingly homogenous, rebreeding and weaning percentages improved thanks to rational management including subtropical pastures, which brought dramatic changes in the very notion of stocking rates.
Breakthroughs in sanitary expertise were evident in endo – and ecto – parasites control. Genetics was coupled by technological changes, but such changes needed Brangus as a starting towards productive genotypes and the necessary proportion of Zebú to maintain toughness in an ever challenging environment Brangus breed has witnessed the most spectacular growth in Argentina as from 1980. It currently comes third in beef breeds over the nation. The largest development occurred in the north and north-east of the country. The past five years have witnessed a 50% increase in registered and purebred operations. Future expansion will probably happen in the north-west and west of the country: dry, hilly areas that demand Brangus positive traits and toughness.
It is also the breed with the most promising future within America. That is because its member countries need to bring early maturity and beef quality into their herds, albeit without giving up roughness.
Exports of breeding stock, semen and embryos to Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Colombia have increased significantly. Argentine breeders have responded with high quality genetics, adapted to the climate conditions in the South American tropical zones.