The Healthy Breeding Of A Beef Cow
Beef is one of the most appreciated and consumed in the world. For this reason, livestock has become an extremely profitable activity in many countries. The healthy rearing of a beef cow is essential for generating business and maintaining the quality of production.
Cow: morphology and behavior
We generically call “cow” the females of different races that form the mammal species “ Bos taurus”.
These animals stand out for their muscular body and imposing size, with a tail and elongated legs that end in hooves. In his face, his big eyes and huge snout stand out, with big nostrils. The coat is short and has different shades. Some breeds also have a pair of hollow horns.
They are intelligent animals with a great capacity for learning, but also strong and resistant. They tend to have a calmer and more sociable personality when raised under ideal conditions.
The cow has been with man since the most remote periods of human history. The animal is believed to have been domesticated for the first time nearly 8,000 years ago. Currently, countries such as Brazil, Argentina, the United States and China are the largest beef producers and exporters.
Main breeds of beef cows
The first step in investing in healthy beef cow breeding is to properly choose a productive breed. Some factors need to be considered, such as available space, climate, altitude, budget and the producer’s goals.
1 – Charolais
A breed originating in France, it is considered by many experts as the one that produces the best beef. It is one of the most requested in all European countries.
2 – Simmental
This Swiss breed has been created since the Middle Ages. It stands out for its privileged muscle training. It provides a very high quality meat, very tasty and low in fat.
The simmental is excellent and fast fattening, with great adaptability, longevity, docility and fertility. In addition, it has a double quality: it is an excellent producer of milk and meat.
3 – Aberdeen angus
Native to Scotland, it is the most popular breed in the United States, Argentina and Uruguay. It is highly valued for its great fertility.
4 – Brahman
Created and developed almost entirely in the United States, it produces meat of the highest quality. The breed also stands out for its precocity, size and fertility.
5 – Hereford
Originally from England, it has won important awards for excellence, thanks to the quality of its meat. This breed is known for its fertility, longevity, good fattening, low maintenance cost, docility and great adaptability. In addition to all these qualities, Hereford also produces excellent quality leather.
The healthy rearing of beef cows: advice and care
The healthy rearing of beef cows requires some special care in relation to feeding, reproduction, preventive medicine and the environment.
Feeding a beef cow
Breeding cows for meat takes into account fast and efficient fattening. But it is essential to offer quality food to preserve the animal’s health and meat quality.
Many exporting countries use a combined fattening method. The animal spends the first six or even nine months of life grazing freely, to prepare its digestive system and strengthen the organism.
Then, the cattle are transferred to corrals to speed up the fattening and thus increase the farmers’ profit. Then, the animal spends six to eight months ingesting a mixture with a high concentration of proteins based on grains, such as corn and soybeans.
The healthy rearing of a beef cow must have the animal’s health as a priority over accelerated fattening. Excess grain and lack of forage can cause serious digestive problems and even lead to the animal’s death.
It is always preferable to opt for natural and extensive breeding in fields with abundant pasture. When this is not possible, a diet rich in good quality forage is recommended to compensate for the decrease in pasture.
Ruminant mammals need abundant hydration to remain healthy at all times. An adult cow can drink about 30 liters of water a day. In addition, the highly protein mixtures used in fattening end up increasing the animal’s thirst.
It is essential to leave fresh, clean water at the animal’s disposal throughout the day. Or rely on an artificial lake (or other water source) in the countryside, where the animal can refresh and hydrate itself.
Despite their imposing size, cows tend to get sick easily, thanks to the numerous microorganisms present in the field. Therefore, it is important to take care of the vaccination and deworming of animals. And of course, have a specialized veterinarian.
The use of supplements, vitamins and concentrated antibiotics is also often used to strengthen the immune system in cows.