La Pradera Ranch

Life on La Pradera Cattle Ranch: Reaping the Fruits of the year’s work

Dr. Pablo Diaz Saubidet DVM
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At this time of the year  (in the middle of autumn and the beginning of the dry season), the separation of the calves from their mothers begins. This is called Weaning.

This is where we see the culmination of all the effort made throughout the year. As a calf producing ranch, we work all year round to maintain a healthy herd, impregnate the cows, attend to their calves and finally wean them to send them to fattening fields or raise the females who will become future mothers.

While weaning is a traumatic process for the calf, since it stops being accompanied by its mother, it is something necessary at La Pradera due to the seasonality of the rains. The weaning is done when the calves are between 6 and 7 months old, at a time where the contribution of breast milk in their nutrition is minimal.

 By separating the calf from its mother, we allow for the mother to rest from producing milk and recover its body condition to face the Dry season called SECA which begins in mid to late June. This is the most complicated period in the field, as the pastures do not grow in quantity nor in quality, as compared with the rainy season. Thus, by weaning early, the cow has between 1 to 1.5 months to gain about 20 to 30 kilos.

At the end of the dry period in early October, the new calving period will begin. The fact that the cows have a good body condition at calving will allow them to produce more milk for their next calf, so we will have healthier and heavier calves in the next weaning.

This dedicated herd management, along with genetics results in the good quality characteristics of the calves of La Pradera. These calves are therefore some of the most sought-after calves in the region.