May 31 Nelore Seedstock Operation

The last full day in Brazil was planned out to travel a couple hours to see a purebred Nelore seedstock operation in the morning and travel back five hours to Goiania for a Brazilian style barbeque.  The day was derailed from the beginning as we had bus problems and were on the side of the road in the middle of Brazil for over two hours. By this time in our trip we were in central Brazil so it was fairly warm outside in the sun.  We were eventually saved by a mechanic from town manned with a pair of jumper cables. 

            We finally got to Tulipa Farms, which is known, for their progress within the Nelore breed.  They fed us a very good lunch with traditional Brazilian food.  We then had a session on how replacements were selected to progress the Nelore breed.  The trait that they select for the most is early maturity.  In other words the goal is to have the heifers bred before 1 year of age.  At Tulipa they are improving this at a very fast speed by replacing a high number of cows each year. Because of this the average age of the herd is only five years old. 

            We then took a trip to the pastures to see what he was keeping back to breed and also some young pairs.  The Nelore at this ranch were very different from what we had seen earlier in the trip.  They were more moderate and easier fleshing than anything we saw the whole trip.  The unpolitically correct way to describe what they were trying to do would be trying to take Bos Indicus cattle and make them like Bos Taurus cattle while keeping the hardiness. Overall, this stop was my favorite because of the passion and dedication to make genetic improvements in the Nelore breed.  That was something that a lot of us could relate to even though it was for a completely different animal than we have in the US.

            Due to our bus problems we were unable to make our white tablecloth Brazilian barbeque, so we settled for a roadside gas station barbeque.  Brazilian style barbeque describes the way the meet is brought out.  Which would be, meat on skewers and as much as you could eat.  We ate everything from the Nelore hump, sirloin, cheese, to chicken hearts.  Overall it was very good especially for an unplanned stop. 

            The trip as a whole was something that I am very glad that I participated in.  It opened my eyes to a new place in the world and made me reflect on how blessed I am to be living in America where there is endless opportunity.

-Andrew Benning