The Nellore Qualitas Breeding Program was designed to be the most efficient Nellore cattle selection system, using information from multiple herds based on Qualitas Genetic Breeding's experience in the planning and execution of breeding programs.

Responsible Company

The management of the Nelore Qualitas Program is under the responsibility of Qualitas Genetic Improvement, which is also responsible for the technical visits of the program. Qualitas Genetic Improvement is a consulting company specialized in beef cattle, operating for more than twenty-two years in the market, participated in the technical development of several large programs in national livestock.


The primary function of the Nelore Qualitas Program is to promote genetic improvement in the participating herds and, through a process of selection of young animals, produce bulls and heifers for improvement.

Nellore Qualitas was recognized in 2002 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), from which it received authorization to issue the CEIP, Special Identification and Production Certificate, for up to 20% of its bull and heifer production crop per year. Every year, MAPA audits Qualitas Genetic Improvement and approves the entire control and functioning system of the Nelore Qualitas Program, thus renewing the authorization to issue the CEIP.

All data collected by breeders participating in the Nelore Qualitas Program are processed together, ensuring maximum use of the information.

The Nelore Qualitas Program receives guidance from Prof. Danie Bosman from ARC – Pretoria – South Africa, in the evaluation and selection of animals for functional efficiency, a process that is used in addition to the selection process by EPDs to ensure greater effectiveness in the selection of young bulls.

Genetic evaluations and research to improve the selection of animals is carried out by UNESP through a partnership with Professors Dr. Lúcia Galvão de Albuquerque – UNESP de Jaboticabal – SP and Professor Dr. Josineudson Augusto II de Vasconcelos Silva - UNESP de Botucatu - SP.

Services provided

The Nelore Qualitas Program features a modular program design, perfectly fitting the needs of each property. In this format, the creator has autonomy to determine the services that will be used.

With the genetic analysis, the breeder participating in the Nelore Qualitas Program will have access to the genetic values of their animals, being able to determine the direction of their production and selection system. The genetic evaluation system will include important characteristics for the Qualitas production system, such as weight gain on pasture, resistance to ectoparasites, sexual precocity, etc.

The visits to the farms will have the function of training employees and auditing the production system. Guiding and training the workforce in relation to animal measurements and evaluations. Checking, also, if the norms of production and selection of the animals described in the Operational Manual of Production are being complied with. Visits are also made for functional assessment of all animals around 18 months of age. The need for the number of visits to the farm will be defined between Qualitas Agronegócios and the breeder.

Breeders who wish to use the guided mating service can opt for a functional assessment of all their sows. With this individual drawing of each animal, it is possible to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each one and then indicate the appropriate bulls for each dam.

Every year, Qualitas Agronegócios organizes visits to the main semen collection centers in the country to identify and functionally evaluate bulls with semen available for the market. All information about each sire is part of a list of bulls to be used by breeders in the next breeding season. In this list, each bull has a rating of risk of use. This risk depends on the amount of information each bull has. Young bulls without evaluated offspring and without genetic evaluation present a very high risk, while bulls already widely used in Qualitas and with several evaluated offspring present a very low risk of use, as we already know what the bull produces.

The top 20% of young males and females in the genetic evaluation of each crop are entitled to the CEIP (Special Certificate of Identification and Production), which is an official document granted by the Ministry of Agriculture to Genetic Improvement programs and which exempts certified animals from payment. of ICMS in case of transfer and interstate commercialization. Animals that are candidates for CEIP will be inspected by Qualitas technicians and a fee will be charged for each certified bull and heifer.

Functional Assessment

The Nelore Qualitas Program is the only existing genetic improvement program that is working with the functional evaluation of its animals on a large scale.

The term functional assessment refers to visual assessments performed on animals in traits of economic importance. These characteristics are not necessarily linked to the racial pattern and the aesthetic evaluation of the animals, but rather related to characteristics that impact the ability of the animals to perform better productively and reproductively.

All animals born in the program are functionally evaluated at an age close to 18 months of age for the following characteristics:

  • Breeding, Udder (females only), Muscularity, Frame, Trim, Hoofs, Bone, Depth, Backline, Croup Slope, Navel, Mouth, Tail Insertion, Coat, Temperament, Chamfer Deviation, Racial Characterization and Testicular Torsion ( males only).

This information and the EPDs of each animal are also used for the mating of all the matrices of the program in order to maximize the genetic gain of the next generation of animals. This process is carried out by Progênie, a company from Uberlândia that has the technology and personnel to process the mating of the matrices of the Nelore Qualitas Program. Investment in this service is handled directly with Progeny.

In this way, the Nelore Qualitas Program uses all the selection tools available to seek the maximum genetic gain in the herds involved in the program.

Food Efficiency

Selecting for Food Efficiency

On August 20, 2010, a very important step was taken in the genetic improvement of the Nelore breed in Brazil. The Nellore Qualitas Efficiency Assessment Center – UFG was inaugurated in Goiânia (GO). The initiative was the result of a partnership between Qualitas Genetic Improvement, the School of Veterinary Medicine of the Federal University of Goiás – UFG and the producers participating in the Nelore Qualitas Program. The project consists of measuring individual food consumption and weight gain, to identify the most efficient animals in the use of food.

The first experiment gathered 120 bulls with the highest genetic values from the 2008 harvest of the program and aimed to identify sires with greater potential for meat production and lower food intake, meaning direct savings in the rancher's pocket. These animals received a controlled diet and were weighed and analyzed every 21 days to monitor their growth. With a mean age of 22 months, the animals were evaluated for 90 days.

The 15 best bulls after this first test were sent for semen collection. Which was distributed on the farms of the program partners to evaluate the performance of the progeny of these breeders. As Feed Efficiency is a highly heritable trait, we hope to provide even greater returns for ranchers who are selecting and utilizing this genetics.

For 2016 we had a new achievement for the selection system of the Nelore Qualitas Program – We started a partnership with UNESP in Botucatu – SP. Prof. Dr. Josineudson Augusto II, who is already one of those responsible for the genetic evaluations of the Nelore Qualitas Program, which made possible and will be responsible for the new Food Efficiency Assessment Center of the Nelore Qualitas Program, which was named CIGNA (Center for Innovation in Genetics and Nutrition) . The agreement with UNESP in Botucatu was signed with the Director of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Prof. Dr. José Paes de Almeida Nogueira Pinto and had the support of Prof. Dr. Nenê Silveira, whom we thank for helping us and encouraging this partnership.

The big news is that as of 2016, the entire food efficiency assessment system has been automated. Qualitas Genetic Improvement invested R$ 262,000.00 to acquire a complete system from the company Intergado to evaluate 120 animals per test. On the other hand, UNESP built the paddocks where the animals are placed and is responsible for conducting the tests. From now on, all food consumption information and animal weighing will be automated and monitored in real time. As a result, we increase the accuracy of the information needed to identify the most efficient and profitable bulls produced in the Nelore Qualitas Program.

The collected data were analyzed in the Nelore Qualitas Improvement Program and the results will generate postgraduate theses and scientific publications.


The Nelore Qualitas Program is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) through the CEIP certification – Special Certificate of Identification and Production. The recognition, by MAPA, was in 2002, from which it received authorization to issue the CEIP for up to 20% of its male and female production crop each year. The CEIP legitimizes the most outstanding animals that were accompanied and qualified by the Nelore Qualitas Program. This is very important when you want to guarantee the quality of the animals.

Ordinances establishing the Special Certificate of Identification and Production - CEIP:
Ordinance 22 - Ordinance 267

Measurement Schedule

This guide aims to portray the practices and activities adopted by the Nelore Qualitas Program, which aims to promote the genetic improvement of the Nelore herd, through the selection of matrices and bulls, evaluation of progenies and selection of the best animals.

batch formation

Batch is a group of animals raised in the same environment and submitted to the same managements, ideally, batches of up to a maximum of 150 animals.

The formation of lots is vital for the functioning of the Nelore Qualitas Program, as it prevents animals raised in different environments from being directly compared.

When dividing lots, always separate the animals by month of birth, preventing animals with very different ages from being compared.


Birth – Animals must be weighed within the first 14 hours after birth. In the case of weighing outside this period, do not inform the weight as birth weight.

Weaning – The animals should be weighed between 7 and 8 months of age, ideally the month in which the calf turns 7 months old.

Fasting for 12 to 14 hours before weighing is mandatory.

Yearling – In this management, the scrotal circumference (SC) will be measured and all animals – males and females – will be weighed. Yearling weighings should be carried out in the second half of November and February.

Fasting for 12 to 14 hours before weighing is mandatory.

To facilitate the understanding of the weighing schedule, we set up a calendar to guide the procedures.

Weighing Schedule_Measurements_Qualitas

Functional Assessment

Between January and March, the team from Qualitas Genetic Improvement will carry out a visual assessment of all the animals of the crop to be evaluated.

The results of this evaluation will be used in the genetic evaluation, of type characteristics and for the correct mating of the heifers.


All activities performed in the Nelore Qualitas Program are periodically recorded in specific software.


Data must be sent to Qualitas Genetic Improvement in magnetic form twice a year:

  • July 30 – with data on animals weaned to date;
  • Until March 30th – with the complete data of the harvest to be analyzed.

Functional assessment

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.

Selection System

The Nelore 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.

Assessment Method

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.

Quality Index

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.