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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/859

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839
CATTLE-RAISING IN SOUTH AMERICA.

thousands of head of stock; those of Parana are liable to a single affliction which is troublesome, the grub, from which the more southern districts are comparatively free. In Parana, the animal having passed his first year, continues to grow regularly and safely; in the southern districts he is exposed to many dangerous affections. The Parana animal has symmetrical proportions, a good size, well-developed bones, a thick hide well provided with hair, horns firmly planted and curved; the color only is variable. The southern stock, although faster growing, are irregular in their proportions, smaller than those of Parana, and do not give as much clear beef.

These diversities are attributable to differences in the media in which the cattle live. The seasons at Parana are regular. One, from December till the end of March, is marked by heavy rains coinciding with great heat; the other, including the rest of the months, is without rains or storms, but has abundant dews—a season of seven months of drought. The seasons are irregular in the southern regions. The winters are colder than in Parana, and are attended with heavy frosts. Long storms are not infrequent, and are often destructive to stock. The rains are not to be depended upon, but the heaviest of them fall in the winter; and the dry seasons come at irregular intervals. Calves are regularly born in the same months in Parana, because the animals, after having been exhausted by the long drought, have recovered their strength in the rich pasturage of December and January, and are in the best condition for heat in the following: months. The seasons of calving are irregular in the southern districts because the times when the rains fall and the pastures are good, on which the procreative ability of the animals depends, are irregular.

These facts are very remarkable, for they show that reproduction is not regulated directly by the climate or the season, but indirectly, through the condition of the pasturage. The further development of the young animal is also affected by the same condition. The Parana calf, born during the dry season, is badly nourished at first, but finding the pastures rich just when it has grown large enough to graze, and beginning at the same time to receive an abundance of milk from its mother, it takes on a rapid development, and soon becomes strong enough to endure the coming dry season. This season carries off all the weaker animals, especially those that are calved at a later than the normal time, and has in this manner contributed to the perfection and perpetuation of the characteristics of the breed.

The case is quite different in the south, where the increase and growth of the animals are as irregular as the seasons; great losses occur under exceptional conditions of weather; and herds are sometimes reduced one half in consequence of long droughts.

The capacity of the stock in Parana to endure the long annual droughts is doubtless increased by certain accessory features in the nature of the soil and in the wooded growth. The soil is clayey, and