21st October 2015
This morning the young leaders got the opportunity to have a breakfast meeting with the Brazil delegates to discuss how each country goes about getting youth involved into agriculture. Each of the nations discussed their approach of encouraging youth engagement as well as the youth’s opinion on succession and the issues that they face getting into the beef industry.
We then visited the property of Tres Maria which is located partway between Durango and Mazaltan. Durango is well known for its beef production as it exports around 120, 000 calves a year. Durango has just come out of the worst drought in living memory but is now receiving the best weather they have ever had, getting rain at least once a week every week for the last 18 months.
Tres Maria ranch is family owned and operated by two brothers Billy & Gerardo Estrada who are a third generation on the property. They established an Angus and Brangus stud in 1985 which now consists of 250 stud breeding cows plus bull and heifer replacements on the 1250ha property. The ranch on average receives 500ml of average rainfall which typically falls between June and September. It is 2400 metres above sea level and gets down to -18 degrees in winter.
Their breeding programme consists of calving all year around. The reason why they calve year round is so they have bulls on hand all year as they sell most of their stud stock at local fairs by private treaty. All cows go through An AI process over 2 heat cycles with genetics, some of which they import from Canada, USA but also use local genetics.
The stud is well known and has a great reputation. This is important throughout Mexico, as business is mainly done with an emphasis on reputation and phenotype rather than buying bulls on expected breeding values. Tres Maria ranch are well known through attending fairs and have had a lot success over time and recent success last weekend winning both the Heifer and Bull champion at the Brangus National Show.
As a stud they focus on producing a moderate size animal to cope with the local Mexican climate, making a more efficient animal compared to the traditional Canada, UK, USA’s bigger frame animals.
Calves are weaned at an average of 250kgLW and grazed on pasture have access to creep feeding where they get given grain. They aim to get their 14 month bulls to 450kgLW by sale date and typically get an average of $4000 for their bulls which includes a $1000 subsidy from the government (which is to encourage bull buyers to use proven genetics. Around 80% of the bulls are sold to breeders and the rest are sold as bull beef.
After the farm tour we were given the opportunity to have a ride on ranches horses.
After Tres Maria, we jumped back on the bus to reach Mazatlán, this was a 3 hour trip, on the main Durango- Mazatlán highway. This recently constructed superhighway through amazing canyon country contains over 60 tunnels and 160 bridges including one of the tallest bridges in the world being over 440m high! We also changed time zones on this trip dropping back an hour.
- New Zealand Young Leaders