Mexico continues to be an important market for Colorado cattle producers

May 7, 2010
by WLJ

In March, several cattlemen from Mexico visited Colorado ranches to purchase cattle for their growing breedstock herds.

“These Mexican cattlemen were looking for cattle that thrive at high altitudes,” said Dawn M. Velásquez de Pérez, Colorado Department of Agricultre international marketing specialist. “We were fortunate to have several Colorado ranches make sales during this recent trip.”

Cattle living at an elevation above 5,000 feet can experience high mountain disease, also called brisket disease. This disease can lead to costly losses to the rancher by causing abortions, stillborn or weak calves at birth, and eventually death of the animal from heart failure. Dr. Tim Holt, assistant professor at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, utilizes the Pulmonary Arterial Pressures (PAP) testing system to identify cattle that are more susceptible to brisket disease.

“PAP testing is a tool that when used correctly, can increase profits in high elevation operations,” said Velásquez. “Sales opportunities exist for animals with better PAP scores.”

Cattle and calves are Colorado’s top agricultural commodity. In 2008, there were 2.6 million head of cattle in the state valued at $2.3 billion. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. and Colorado purebred breeding cattle exports.

The Mexican cattlemen plan a return visit in the fall to purchase PAP tested females for their ranches as well. For more information, contact Dawn M. Velásquez de Pérez at 303/239-4123. — WLJ