The Qualitas Program is a specific genetic improvement program for meat production in tropical regions. Our objective is to select, through modern and scientific techniques, the animals that will potentially be the best reproducers and matrices for the herd, using resources efficiently with maximum gain.
Check out Marconi's statement about the Qualitas program
To be eligible for the program, the animal must have its history tracked since birth. Then follows the verification of weight at weaning, scrotal circumference and weight at 15 months. This will generate the genetic evaluations and establish a ranking of the animals. They have to pass two Visual Assessments of Suitability (VLE) or functional characteristics: one at 15 months, before genetic assessments, and another at 18 months at the time of final certification approval.
For the selection and classification of animals, a genetic index is established, the Qualitas Index, which has 60% of its weight directly on characteristics of high importance for those who produce meat in the field – post-weaning gain and muscularity. And 40% of its weight in important characteristics for the production of matrices – Weaning weight and Scrotal Perimeter (related to female sexual precocity). aWith this index, the animals are visually checked again, at 18 months, to be approved and certified. Bulls with the best indices are selected for feed efficiency testing.
In the end, only the 10 best sires are chosen for the progeny test, thus guaranteeing the genetic advancement of the herd. Index Weighting: 20% Weaning Weight + 40% Post Weaning Gain + 20% Scrotal Perimeter + 20% Muscularity.
The functional assessment of animals identifies external characteristics of the animal that are correlated with its physiology and productivity, in the Nelore Qualitas Program it is used in a complementary way to production characteristics.
In order to facilitate calf delivery, it is important that the cow has a slightly inclined croup. Cows with flat rumps have a conformation of the pelvis that narrows what we call the “birth canal”, making it difficult for the calf to be born. The assessment takes this slope into account. Grades from 1 to 5 are given. Grade 1 means excessively sloping croup and 5 means flat croup. The ideal is the animal that has a score of 3.
Animals with problems with upright will present locomotion difficulties and, in the case of bulls, may compromise reproduction, preventing him from jumping during cow cover. The straightness is evaluated laterally, frontally and behind the moving animal. Grades range from 1 to 5. Extremely angular stances (the animal appears to be sitting on its hind limbs) receive a grade of 1 and a grade of 5 is given for straight stances (called “chicken leg”). The ideal aplomb receives a grade of 3.
The mouth of a grass-eating bovine is extremely important. It is the animal's food "harvester". The mouth notes range from 1 to 5 and the wider the mouth the higher the note and the better.
The hooves are the base of support and locomotion of the bovine. Any injury or defect will compromise your performance and survival. At Qualitas, animals that have any hoof problem, especially long hooves, are discarded.
Another common bone deviation is the chamfer deviation or “crooked face”. Even if, at times, we cannot prove whether the chamfer deviation in the animal was due to an accident (example: “gatekeeper” in the face), or it is a genetic defect, we prefer to discard it.
We have already said that the Nelore only conquered the Brazilian territory because of its characteristics of adaptation to the tropics. Dark skin, white fur and resistance to ticks are the Nelore's strengths. In addition, the thickness of the animals' leather is also very important. Thick leathered animals have a greater vascularization in the skin and a greater number of sweat glands. The skin also functions as a mechanical barrier against worms and worms. In Nellore there is a great variation in the thickness of the hides of the animals. Therefore, we are measuring the thickness of the leather using a caliper. It is checked just behind the termite, in the middle region of the animal's thorax, where it is easier to perform it. Pulling the animal's skin, we check the thickness of what we call "double leather" with the caliper. Thus, we identify the animals that have thicker leather and, therefore, are more adapted.
This is an English word (it is said “fraime”). It is a reference to the height of the animal. Both very short and very tall animals are undesirable. Animals that are too short will not reach the ideal slaughter weight and animals that are too tall are usually late, both from a reproductive and fat finishing point of view. They also have a worse carcass yield. Grades range from 1 to 5. Animals grade 1 are very small and animals grade 5 are very tall. Note 3 indicates ideal height.
When we visually evaluate the animal, we verify that it does not present any defect in its vertebral column, which is the support axis of the thorax and abdomen. Animals that are “sealed” (that have scoliosis) or with some deviation in the spine are discarded.
For meat production, the greater the muscle development, the better the carcass yield. To assess muscularity, two points are verified in the animal in which we do not run the risk of confusing muscle with fat. The first is the perimeter of the forearm. The greater the perimeter and the more developed the muscles in this region, the greater the amount of muscle in the carcass. The second point is the “duckling” muscle on the animal's hind limb. The more prominent and prominent it is, the better the muscularity. Grades range from 1 to 6 and the higher the grade, the better.
The thickness of the bones is important to ensure that the animal is able to support its weight without affecting its locomotion. However, animals with very thick bones wear out more and cannot keep up with the herd, especially bulls in the breeding season. Grades range from 1 to 5. Animals grade 1 have very fine bone and animals grade 5, thick bone. The ideal score for bone is 3.
The Nelore's dark pigmentation made it adapt very well to the Brazilian climate. The composition white fur + dark fur is the most efficient for the thermal balance of the animals. That's why we should select well-pigmented animals (dark skin) and avoid depigmented animals (areas with pink skin). Grades range from 1 to 4. Grade 1 for very large depigmentation (discarded), grade 2 for depigmentation in lower regions of the body, grade 3 for good pigmentation, but without black extremities (vulva in females and testes in males) and grade 4 for very well-pigmented animals with black vulva or testicles.
Whoever produces meat on grass should look for animals with long, well sprung ribs. This indicates that the animal has a good plant for processing the grass. Depth grades range from 1 to 5 and the higher the grade
Hormonal balance is essential for reproductive functions to occur normally. Any imbalance is translated into changes in the animal's conformation, and it is this principle that we apply in visual assessment for reproduction. The fertile female has a more delicate head, does not present extremely developed musculature and the external genitals (the vulva) are well developed. Animals with well-developed breastbone muscle, accumulations of fat at the hip tips, aggressive behavior show signs of subfertility. The bull should have a well-developed and masculine head. Coarse dark hair on the neck and termite is desirable. The musculature must be well developed and there must be no homogeneous accumulation of fat in the carcass. Grades range from 1 to 6 and the higher the grade the better. We emphasize that fertility is really proven when cows produce one calf per year and bulls are approved annually in the andrological exams. And the interesting thing is that the signs of subfertility that we look for in the visual assessment will rarely be found in animals that fulfill their reproductive function.
We currently know that a large part of the aggressive behavior shown by cattle, when in contact with humans, is the result of mistakes made by humans towards the animal. The bovine is an escape animal and only becomes aggressive when it feels threatened. Therefore, when we refer to temperament, we are actually evaluating the fear that the animal has of the human being and not necessarily of aggressiveness. This fear among animals is inheritable. More “tame” (less fearful) animals generally perform better because they experience less stress. The scores range from 1 to 5 and the higher the score, the more tame the animal.
In addition to measuring the scrotal circumference and visual assessment for reproduction, bulls are also evaluated in relation to the positioning of the testes in the scrotum. According to observations made in South Africa by Danie Bosman, it was found that daughters of bulls that had testes that were not positioned parallel and with the tips of the epididymis in the same position were more quickly discarded from the herd because they were empty at the end of the breeding season. rides. According to him, any deviation from the normal pattern of the testes is a genetic defect and should be avoided. In Qualitas we classify animals with scores from 1 to 3. Score 1 for animals with testicular torsion greater than 45º, score 2 for testicular torsion less than 450 and score 3 for animals with well positioned or normal testes.
Milk is the calf's main source of food until the first 4 months of its life. The greater the cow's milk production during this period, the better the calf's weight at weaning. The evaluation of the udder of the females is done with the visualization of the animal from behind. We verified the development of the teats and if the animal had enough leather “left over” in the udder. Grades range from 1 to 4, the higher the grade, the better.
Navel length is important when referring to bulls. Most of Brazil's pastures are medium to high in size. Stumps and other plants are also found. Under these conditions, bulls with a long navel are more likely to suffer a foreskin injury and make the bull unfeasible for breeding. On the other hand, animals with very short navels usually have a smaller amount of leather and generally have inferior development. Grades range from 1 to 5. Grade 1 is given for very short navel and grade 5 for very long navel. Note 3 is ideal.