International genetics: Wyoming producers look for international exchange option
On Oct. 2, Wyoming Business Council Livestock Genetics Program Manager Scott Keith and producers Kim Cullen and Greg Addelman set off on an eight-day trip to Argentina, which was filled with tours and educational presentations.
“It was a great trip,” comments Keith. “The area we were in was different than I had visited before, and there were a lot of purebred breeders that are raising and providing genetics to the Patagonia region.”
As a significant component of their visit, Keith, Cullen and Addelman attended a national livestock show in Argentina at the city of Bahía Blanca.
“We were in the southern part of Buenos Aires province at Bahía Blanca – the city that is called the gateway to Patagonia,” explains Keith. “We were very well received at the show.”
Cullen and Addelman conducted workshops at the show, as well, to educate Argentinian producers about Wyoming cattle production.
“Kim did a fantastic job,” says Keith. “She talked about some of the cows and talked about what she liked and what she would do differently. Then, she went into the trade show and sat down with producers to talk more about her cattle.”
Keith notes that producers were intrigued by genetics options from Wyoming.
“Greg did a demonstration that looked at the bull side of things,” he continues. “Greg talked about what our systems look for and what we do differently from a fitting standpoint.”
With large crowds at both presentations, Keith says the information was well received and the Argentinians were well prepared for the visit.
The Wyoming group also participated in a variety of tours, looking at livestock operations, farms, feedlots, genetics businesses and a university.
The tours were hosted by Ricardo Cantarelli, Cabana la Argentina at Col. Pringles, Alejandro Spinella, Cabana Don Romeo at Ollivaria, commercial and show bull producers from the Buenos Aires province, and Joaquin Ferreria, veterinarian from San Martin de los Andes, Neuquen province.
“They are really doing a lot to improve their operation,” comments Keith. “They are looking to raise between 200 and 300 commercial bulls to sell and build Argentina’s genetics.”
Cabana Don Romeo is home of the 2012 Palermo Champion Bull, the largest cattle show in Argentina.
The first visit was Banco Genetico La Legua, a genetics company managed by Gonzalo Scazzola and Damian Sanso, which yielded insight to the burgeoning genetics industry in Argentina.
Clovis Argentina, S.A., the feedlot operation, has a capacity of about 1,500 head, all of which are also raised on the ranch. Guiseppe Neri serves as president of the operation.
“We also visited another operation on the coast that is strictly commercial Red Angus called Estancia El Palomar,” he said. “They raise breeding stock and graze on land similar to Nebraska’s Sandhills.”
The operation is run by Mariano Martinez and utilizes native grass, as well as oats for grazing. Their native pastures have been developed by broadcast seeding, to introduce more variety.
The similarities in environments made the trip provide some valuable learning opportunities.
In an attempt to set up continuing educational opportunities, the group also visited the Universidad Nacional del Sur, or the National University of the South.
“We went to the university and met with the head of their Animal Science Department, an Extension educator and the head of the International Studies Department,” comments Keith. “We are going to set up a protocol for a program to provide three different levels of student exchange.”
The first level of exchange would be two to four week intensive course involving both classroom work and a ranch practicum experience.
“The second level would be an internship program where students could spend three to six months on several ranches,” he explains. “The third part would be an exchange, not necessarily working with students, but an effort to host tours.”
Steve Paisley, UW Beef Extension Specialist, will be spearheading efforts on this end.
Exchange efforts with Argentina are far from over, notes Keith, who adds that a number of trips are already in the planning stages.
“We are looking into doing another reciprocal exchange of travelers to the National Western Stock Show in Denver again, as well as the next opportunity to take a larger group to the Patagonia region to another show in March,” says Keith.
He adds that Addelman and Cullen are also working to develop genetics programs, including both semen and embryos, for consideration by the Argentines for the next breeding season.
“Some of their genetics would also be worthwhile to see how it would work here,” Keith says, “but we are still working on those options.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.