The first activity for the day was a visit to a regional Angus show held on the outskirts of Durango. With some of Mexico’s premier Angus breeding establishments presenting their animals the stalls were a hive of activity. Skilled handlers were pampering, clipping, spraying, painting, grooming and preening their animals in preparation for the ring. The facilities cattle were being displayed and shown in were impressive and professional, with spectators also viewing from comfortable stands with excellent service.
Our visit to Durango has coincided with the World Angus Secretariat, hence the showground was awash with Angus connoisseurs with guest judges from around the world who were very complementary of the standouts in the classes.
The type of animal displayed were of a more moderate frame than those common across our home country of Australia, attributed to the harsh environment which these cattle have been bred to thrive in. The influence of the british and euro breeds in the north of Mexico has hugely changed the quality of the animals being produced in Mexico both for the domestic market and the lucrative live trade into the United States.
From the cattle show we had a short bus trip to the La Granja Ranch, home of John & Connie Howard. The property was once close to town, but now has housing estates backing up to the walls. The Howards were gracious and entertaining hosts, Johnnys impeccable english, dry sense of humour and intimate knowledge of his business and industry made for a fascinating visit. Johnnys family were originally from Texas and have been ranching in the area for many years, his brothers even branched out to ranching on the Roper River in the Northern Territory, Australia. The current business in Durango operates as a trading operation, buying weaners in at approx 250kg from local producers and are fed on irrigated predominantly rye grass pasture and then a dry feed mix until they are sent out at around 450kg. Steers into the United States is the preferred target market, with the local bull market being marginally profitable at best. Hearing about the intense scrutiny the live cattle go through at the border reminded the Australians very much of our live export processes. All cattle must be individually identified and be identified with an M brand. The males must be castrated and females speyed. The animals must have been TB tested, be free from any parasites and be in a good health without displaying any signs of sickness or injury. If animals are found not to meet any of the requirements then they are rejected. The lady of the house, Connie, hosted a wonderful lunch which included traditional mexican food and drink, live music and a presentation from the esteemed Mezcal distiller Mr Mares. A vigorous tasting session resulted in some moves on the dance floor and heartfelt thanks from the FNBA crew for their hospitality.
- Australian Young Leaders