Experts say: the most important thing when preparing an animal for an exhibition is its well-being

One of the most important activities in the livestock sector is without a doubt the exhibition of their animals at fairs and competitions, where the efforts of all medical and agricultural professionals in the process of raising animals are rewarded.

Until July 23, Bogota hosted the AgroExpo exhibition, which is considered the largest agricultural fair in the country. Cattle shows and auctions have been one of the most popular events, not to mention the many academic events organized and hosted by the Colombian Cattlemen’s Federation (Fedegan) to commemorate its 60th anniversary.

Julián Jiménez, veterinarian and owner of the El Esfuercito cattle ranch in Paratebueno, Cundinamarca, explains that participation in such events also requires appropriate animal genetics, optimal physical space and trained professionals to control the growth of individuals.

“This is a company that is run from the moment the calf is born, to be able to tell if he can go to the fair or not, once he is selected, he starts to take special care in terms of feed, nutrition, management, health of the calves and, in addition, the welfare of the animals for them,” commented the veterinarian.

In addition, it clarifies that, especially for participation in an event of such a nature and importance as “AgroExpo”, movements on the farm are planned or carried out several months in advance, during which those responsible for keeping and raising animals must choose the best ones, since the number of animals allowed per livestock is limited.

What does the preparation consist of?

“So the preparation starts four or five months before the fair, what is it? in which a person starts to choose, since we have a limit on the number of animals that can be brought to the fair, that is, each farm can only bring three animals that represent it, and then its best animals are selected that represent the genetic base that you make on your farm at the moment,” said Julián Jiménez.

Another important factor in the presentation of livestock at fairs and competitions is the obedience of specimens, since during the days of the exhibition they must be evaluated by both the jury and visitors. This process begins at birth and requires specialized personnel to carry it out.

“How does it start? There are people who specialize in handling animals, which we call grooms or livestock managers, they feed the animals every day, no matter if it rains or shines, and they start to manage them properly, very calmly, take care of the animals a lot so that they are not treated badly, so that they become temperamental animals, so that they are tame animals and they can be seen by all the public that comes here for AgroExpo 2023,” said Dr. Jimenez .

Raising these animals requires a great deal of economic effort, if you will, since the feeding of the entries is mainly corn silage, hay and concentrates, a diet which no doubt contributes to the fact that, after being selected for a particular fair, cattle can show good physical and aesthetic condition. In addition, the organizers require participating farms to have zoonotic disease-free farm certificates.

The way she moves from her usual home to the competition venue has a decisive influence on the well-being of a show cow or bull, so farms pay special attention not only to the vehicles in which they are transported, but also to the people who do this work.

“The trucks are adequate, that is, the driver of the truck must be a calm person who does not show any zeal and who is brought with great care, mattresses, rugs or some kind of devices are placed so that the animals are not torn in any part of them by wood or pipes that the truck brings. The fact is that these are floors without gavers, or they are covered with a lot of rice husks, which get wet so that they do not rise in the wind, and animals can have an infection in the eyes, ”the veterinarian explained.

It is important to note that all breeds that have qualified have several award categories, in addition, recently calved cows bring their calves, but the animals participating in the competition are over nine months old.

Since the purpose of fairs and competitions is not only to reward cattle, but also to acquire samples that help the genetic improvement of the herd, Julián Jiménez recommends that when buying an animal, a clear understanding of several factors.

“The first thing to take into consideration is what will be its purpose, if you want to produce meat, milk or if you want to have a dual purpose, this is the first projection, then you have to see what environmental conditions and what quality of feed you have on your farm in order to be able to introduce a breed there, and at the moment you want to know about the breeds that you are targeting, if you want to be a pure meat farmer, fattener, then you can get animals for fattening and subsequent slaughter, it depends, the more genetics an animal has, the more nutrients and an adequate diet it needs so that it can develop all its genetics, ”explained the veterinarian.

Finally, he noted that animal acclimatization processes vary by breed, because some animals have a cold climate and are easier to adapt to the temperatures that exist in Bogotá, where AgroExpo is held, while others have a hot climate, which for obvious reasons this process is slower, so farmers should conduct preliminary research when mobilizing their animals for competitions and exhibitions.

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