Trienta y Tres

Today was our first day in our second town, Trienta y Tres (Day 4), and we visited the INIA experiment station cow- calf operation. I have learned a lot about beef cattle production from all of the farms, but today I felt like I learned the most about the research and changes they are trying to implement into their program. This INIA station has a herd size of about 450 cows covering 1100 hectares of land. One of the first things that we learned when we came to Uruguay is that their main production breed is Hereford, whereas our main production breed in the States is Angus. Most of the farms here manage their herds on natural grading conditions without grain. Starting in 2012, the research station started to crossbreed their Hereford cows with red Angus bulls. They started to crossbreed in order to improve size, birth rate, and have a moderate growth rate. We studied how in the States we use a nine point system and Uruguay uses a six point system for rating cattle. While standing in the middle of one of the pastures, someone in the group asked about toxic weeds and I thought it was very interesting how they keep their herds from not eating them. They collect all of the toxic weeds in the pasture and burn the pile in the same pasture with the cows; this makes the herd not like the smell of the burning weed so they will not come around it again. Most of the cow-calf farms in Uruguay are smaller than 200 hectares. At this point in the trip, I think I can speak for more than just me when I say that we are having the time of our lives. We have laughed until our stomachs hurt every night and have already made so many memories. Bruno has made everything on this trip so fun and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds!