Renova Herd to attend to 253 rural properties located between Fundao and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga)
The genetic improvement of the cattle herd of the rural properties in municipalities affected by the collapse of the Fundao dam is part of the actions undertaken by the Renova Foundation. The goal is to increase milk production, combining artificial insemination technology with management techniques.
The assessment related to technical assistance began in August 2017. Between October and November, dissemination of the action began. Interested cattle farmers get in touch with the Renova Foundation teams and a veterinarian evaluates to determine which cows are eligible for insemination. Enrollment in the program, called Renova Herd, is voluntary and there is no limit to the number of animals per property. However, the cows must be of adequate age, good breeding conditions and heath.
According to the leader of agroforestry operations of the Renova Foundation, Giorgio Vieira Peixoto, Renova Herd will initially attend to 253 rural properties located between Fundao and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga). The rural property owners are the ones that select the breeds for the insemination of their cows. There is Friesian, Girolando, Gir and Jersey cattle semen available. The potential of the existing herd, the conditions of the region where the farm is located and the necessity, or not, of more hardiness influence the choice.
Rural producer Leonardo Jose de Castro, from the Moinho Farm, located in the Barreto district of Barra Longa (MG), opted for the Girolando breed. “It adapts better to the climate here,” he explains. Of his 30 cows, nine were eligible for insemination. He finds the program extremely positive and believes it will improve the quality of cattle throughout the region, both for milk and for meat, bearing in mind that the calves being born might be bull calves. On his property, he believes there will be a 20% increase in milk production, based on the improved genetic condition of the cows. “And I want to continue in the program and inseminate more cows to get an even better result. It is a positive and good action for everyone,” he adds.
According to Isabela Guimaraes, a zootechnician and forest operations analyst of the Renova Foundation, those interested in having their cows enter the program should contact the dialogue or field teams to make the request. The request can also be made by calling 08000-312303. “The action has been well received. Every day we are contacted by new owners who want to participate in the Renova Herd,” she says. According to Isabela, after selecting the cows that are eligible for insemination, she tells that a veterinarian goes to the farm to do a gynecological examination on the cows and applies a hormone, which induces estrus in the same period. Insemination takes place about 10 days later.
Since the calves will be born about nine months later, it is still too early to measure the results of the program. “But we expect that the daughters produce more milk than their mothers,” explains Isabela Guimaraes. In this case, since the milk production of each heifer will only begin after three or four years, the process of genetic improvement can only be seen in the medium term. At the same time, in order to contribute to the improvement of productivity of the properties, technical assistance work is carried out to define goals and improve management techniques. All the work is done with the effective participation of the cattle farmers.