Alternatives for sustainable beef production in the Cauto Valley


Abstract


With the aim of strengthening the capabilities for beef production in the eastern region of Cuba, alternatives were validated for calf production and cattle fattening in grazing conditions. Thus, grazing systems were designed with compensation areas composed of biomass banks, associated with legumes and sugarcane, and strategic supplementation to the herds. For each purpose, the feeding balance of the year and of the dry season were elaborated. The herd was organized in two groups of production with line grazing, and several reproductive technologies were combined. The alternatives described permitted producing more than 148 kg of liveweight at weaning per cow in the reproduction stage and 165 kg of liveweight in calves at weaning. Birth rate was higher than 80 %, and the age of incorporation to reproduction was reduced in 4.2 months, and the age at first calving was reduced between 8 and 10 months. These alternatives permitted creating capacities for the fattening of bulls from the rearing unit and of milk lines on sustainable basis, with great biological and economical efficiency. The additional investments for the alternatives described are recovered in economically acceptable periods, if the weed infestation is inferior to 20 % of the area of the productive system. These periods are increased as the degradation of the system increases by the weed action. It is recommended to extend this work to all the units of cattle production.
Key words: cattle production, rearing, fattening, rational grazing systems, reproduction.

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