Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science
Breeds of Livestock - Canchim Cattle
The Canchim breed is the result of scientific work, which aimed at obtaining economically, the best quality beef under Central Brazilian conditions, research continues even today, making the Canchim breed the most studied in Brazil. The Canchim bull, serving pasture bred zebu cows, produce early fast growing products, thereby attaining the end to which it was developed, being outstanding compared to other breeds, under the same number of calves, however heavier and of superior quality. Compared to European breeds, the Canchim bull produces calves with the same weight but in large quantity. The early fast growing products, the result of pasture crossbred zebu cows with Canchim bulls, can be slaughtered at 18 months old if in feedlots after weaning, up to 24 months old if in feedlots after grazing and at 30 months if bred exclusively grazing on the range.
Zebu cattle (Bos Indicus), introduced to Brazil in the last century, were extensively crossbred with herds of native cattle. The Indian cattle well known for its ability to survive in the tropics, adapted quickly to Brazil, and in a short time populated large areas, considerably improving Brazilian beef cattle breeding.
Despite of its rusticity, zebu cattle was found inferior to the European breeds in respect to being prococious and yield of meat. It became clear that the beef cattle population required genetic improvement.
Simply placing European beef cattle (Bos Taurus), highly productive in temperate climates, in Central Brazil, would not produce good results, due to their inability to adapt to a tropical environment. Besides the climate, other factors such as the high occurrence of parasites, disease and the very low nutritional value of the native forage.
Information of the breed
The European breed used in the information of Canchim cattle was Charolais. According to research at that time, Charolais cattle was chosen because of its high yield and for being the only European breed specifically for beef, and to present conditions to adapt to Central Brazil. In 1992 the Ministry of Agriculture imported Charolais cattle to the State of Goias, where they remained till 1936, when they were transferred to Sao Carlos in the State of Sao Paulo, today the Canchim Farm of the Government Research Station, Embrapa. From this herd originated the dams and sires utilized in the program of crossbreeding.
The main zebu breed which contributed to the information to the Canchim was the Indobrazil, although Guzera and Nelore where also used. Preference was given to the Indobrazil breed, due to the ease of obtaining large herds, and reasonable prices, which would have been difficult with Gir, Nelore or Guzera. The alternative crossbreeding programs initialized in 1940 by Dr. Antonio Teixeira Viana had the objective of obtaining first, crossbreeds 5/8 Charolais and 3/8 Zebu and second, 3/8 Charolais x 5/8 Zebu, and evaluate which of the two schemes was the most indicated. The total number of Zebu cows utilized to produce the half-breeds was 368, of which 292 were Indubrazil, 44 Guzera and 32 Nelore.
All the animals produced were reared exclusively on the range. A control of parasites was done every 15 days and the animals were weighed at birth and monthly. The females weighed up to 30 months and males up to 40 months.
The data collected during various years of work, permitted an evaluation of the various degrees of crossbreeding. The conclusion was that the 5/8 Charolais and 3/8 Zebu was the most suitable, presenting an excellent frame for meat, precocious, resistance to heat and parasites, and a uniform coat.
The first crossbreed animals with the degree of blood 5/8 Charolais and 3/8 Zebu born in 1953. Thus was born a new type of beef cattle for Central Brazil, with the name Canchim, derived from the name of a tree very common in the region where the breed was developed.
It was not until 1971 that the Brazilian Association of Canchim Cattle Breeders (ABCCAN) was formed, and on the 11th November 1972 the Herd Book was initiated. On the 18th May 1983 the Ministry of Agriculture, recognized Canchim type cattle as a Breed.
In the middle of the year 2000 the standards of the breed were renewed, with the Canchim breed fulfilling the necessary requirements for modern beef cattle. The Breed Standard Canchim 2000 consists of defining breed parameters and standards for selecting male and female Canchim capable of producing Canchim commercial bulls, able to produce early fast growing commercial cattle on the range and the focus of these definitions was the concept of PRECOCIOUS, bred on the to be understood as,
Precocious in weight gain, bred on the range,
Precocious of finish, bred on the range and
Precocious of fertility, bred on the range.
Likewise, in 2000, the Association, published, the first summary of Canchim bulls, with their respective EPDs, as part of the Canchim Breed Improvement Program in Partnership with Embrapa-Campo Grande and their Geneplus statistical analysis system. Based on information from 1953 to 1999, and 184.881 animals.
The Canchim breed, being a synthetic breed, permits breeders, through the development of new crossbreeding systems, to use the selection of the breeds used from the Canchim breed, besides the selection of the breed itself, as the most important factor for its development.
There are many Canchim breeders forming new blood lines. Today the Nelore breed totally dominates the Zebu breed in the formation of Canchim. American and French Charolais semen, from carefully selected bulls is also used and recommended by the ABCCAN to form new bloodlines.
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