Theft and low birth rates are destroying the famous Gertrudis cows in Cuba

El hurto y los bajos nacimientos están acabando con las famosas vacas Gertrudis en Cuba

HAVANA, Oct. 12th.  Aside from the theft, which has affected 89 heads of Santa Gertrudis cattle – the superior breed of cows raised at the Turiguanó Livestock Company – the drop in the calf birth rate is the main reason for the drastic decrease in number of cows on that farm in Ciego de Ávila, which has collapsed from 12,000 in the 90s to less than 5,000 currently.

The number of cattle killed by theft recorded by the state company, located in the municipality of Morón, amounts to 89 so far this year, while the number of crimes committed was 64. This represents an index of 1.3 animals sacrificed for robbery, according to the province’s official newspaper, Invasor.

For its part, in the entire territory of Ciego de Ávila, some 1,689 cattle were illegally slaughtered in 2021, more than double what was recorded the previous year, when the loss was 824 animals.

The real problem, however, lies in the births of new offspring, which have been declining since at least 2018.

The real problem, however, lies in the births of new calves, which have plummeted since at least 2018. Twenty years ago, 85% of cattle had offspring, but in 2021 only 57% did, and this 2022, barely 43%, according to the official press.

With these forecasts, the hope of the Santa Gertrudis breeders sees the goal imposed by the Government of increasing livestock by 2030 as almost impossible, for which they would need an increase of 8,000 animals in the next five years.

One of the main factors of the collapse has been the shortage of nitrogen, essential to preserve the semen with which cows are fertilized, and whose purchase, during the covid-19 pandemic, was limited. The media then explained that a stallion would be brought from Santiago de Cuba to ride Turiguanó’s cows. But even that could not prevent the reduction in the birth rate.

The following years have not been promising either. In the first half of 2022, the calf birth plan in the province already reported 2,527 fewer calves than estimated.

Among the biggest concerns of the directors of the Turiguanó company is the failure to comply with the dozens of contracts they have with hotels in the Jardines del Rey keys, in the north of the province, and to which they have historically provided more than 100 types of cuts of beef and thousands of liters of milk.

The livestock company has not only failed in raising the cattle but “a series of orders” that are under its responsibility have also been unfulfilled.

The planting of cassava and the four hectares of tithonia (a protein plant) – intended for feeding the animals – remain incomplete, as well as the delay in the incorporation of twenty cows of other breeds to increase milk production. and, finally, the production of two tons of meat for the basic basket this year.