Precocious female pays “rent” on time

The female is the genetic heritage of the farm. Who has never seen this phrase repeated tirelessly by geneticists? With the objective of improving the base of breeding herds associated with its genetic improvement program, Nellore Qualitas has just introduced two new characteristics into its universe of evaluations: probability of early calving and super early stayability, the latter calculated in an unprecedented way in the country. , from a database of more than 10,000 precocious and super-early sows evaluated by the program, that is, females that calved for the first time at 24 months of age.

The novelty just announced by Qualitas meets the current demand of the genetics market, which is to identify the best dam, be it a dam of bulls in a center or an efficient “machine” within a herd, so that capital invested for its production returns in the shortest possible time to the producer. For the director of Nelore Qualitas, Leonardo Souza (better known as Leo), the breeder has a “tenant” who costs a lot on the farm (parent stock), and who, in most cases, owes the “rent” ( productivity). But, with good selection and management, this tenant can keep the debt up to date or even pay it off sooner. “When I anticipate my pregnancy, I anticipate my profit”, he observes.

To launch its two new EPDs, Qualitas carried out a survey on farms associated with the program, compiling data from 30,000 sows, to assess how long a heifer that becomes pregnant at 24 months takes to pay. It was found that, until the second calf is weaned, the costs to produce, recreate and keep it in the herd are greater than the value obtained from the sale of its children. It is only after the third brood that the money invested returns to the producer. This is if she commits at two years, has a regular delivery interval of 12-13 months and the cost of invested capital is not considered. It takes exactly 5.8 years to settle your debt with the breeder (see table)

Due to its economic importance, stayability has become popular in recent years, becoming a thermometer of female productivity and the “darling DEP” of pickers. She recommends that the dam remain active in the herd until the age of six, producing at least three offspring during this period, which, in theory, would allow her to “pay off her debt” with the producer, but with the shift caused by cattle ranching. short cycle and an increasing number of herds challenging females at 14 months, the traditional stayability (six years of permanence) ended up “expiring”. After all, pregnancy at 14 months makes it possible to reduce by a year the time for the female to pay for herself within the calf herd, if not fail.

Anticipating the “boleto” In the stayability just launched by Qualitas, females must commit early, reconceive the following year and produce at least three calves by the age of four. “If it fails, it does not meet the proposed challenge, nor does it remain in the herd”, explains Leo, ensuring that program associates strictly follow the determination to discard sows due to failure in conception (see example reported by him in the box). In the EPD of early calving probability, the requirement is that the female delivers the calf at 24 months and not just that she becomes pregnant at 14. The characteristic goes beyond the “pure and simple” probability of pregnancy and specifically considers the delivery of the calf. calf by the female. “Many producers assess this characteristic based on the pregnancy diagnosis. We recommend evaluating at farrowing, as this DEP provides an increase in the profitability of the calf, greater production of calves and, consequently, a higher rate of enjoyment of the herd”, says Leo.

Grades 1 (success) are assigned to females that give birth around 24 months and zero (failure) to those who give birth at about 36 months. The scores are associated with the new DEP training methodology to identify the bulls that produce a higher percentage of daughters with their first calving at 24 months of age. “The female needs to calve, wean a good calf and commit again for at least three years. If she is excluded from the herd before then, regardless of the reason for discarding, it means that she has not been paid for”, says Leo, reinforcing the need to associate the two new traits for greater efficiency in breeding. “In exceptional years for replacement, like 2020, the sow can pay for itself with two pups, but in normal periods, the correct account is three. The assessments complement each other”, he says.

In this sense, the director of Qualitas gives the “spoiler” of what lies ahead. By 2021, the program should launch the “Matriz Qualitas” index, fully focused on maternal issues, adding to the two newcomers the already veteran maternal ability. For the time being, early calving probability and SP stayability will be introduced only as EPDs in the breeding program, which currently has its index composed of the following weights: weaning weight (24%), post-weaning weight gain (38 %), muscularity (19%) and scrotal circumference (19%)

“We are currently studying the correlations and seeing how the other characteristics are behaving in relation to the new insertions”, says Leonardo, ensuring that the producer is already able to use these EPDs to his advantage

The new index, however, will not change the composition of the current one, as this ranking will be directed exclusively to producers who breed or wish to improve the genetic base of the herd. “In addition to the reproductive characteristics, the rancher must look at the other criteria evaluated by Qualitas to choose the ideal bull”, warns Leonardo, stressing that the secret of a good selection is in the balance. “The animal must be as complete as possible in all aspects, so we reduce the risks of a targeted, but inefficient selection.”


Leonardo Souza
Leonardo Souza
Veterinarian from the Federal University of Goiás, specialist in Beef Livestock at Rehagro, managing partner of Qualitas Genetic Improvement, with 21 years of experience in the areas of management, production and genetic improvement. The Qualitas Genetic Improvement Program has more than 40 farms in the states of GO, TO, RO, SP, PR, MG and MT and also in Bolivia, totaling a herd of more than 250,000 heads.

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