'Compact Cow' Subject for Research
May. 25, 1987
TANLEON, Mexico (AP) _ A university researcher who has developed a ''compact cow'' is trying to prove that smaller is better for milk and meat production.
Jose Manuel Berruecos' compact cow is a zebu, but it is one-half to one- third the size of a normal zebu, a bovine of Asian origin.
Berruecos, chairman of veterinary medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, claims his 30 diminutive zebus are more efficient per acre than normal-sized cattle for milk and meat production.
''One normal zebu needs roughly 2 1/2 acres to maintain it,'' said Berruecos, speaking at the ranch in the north central state of San Luis Potosi where the animals have been bred. ''The same extension of land can support 10 small cows (zebus).''
The zebu, recognized by a large fleshy hump over the shoulders and loose skin under the head, is valued for its resistance to heat, disease and insects.
According to experiments conducted by Berruecos and ranch owner Angel Castrillon in this arid, tropical area, the compact cow proved itself 200 to 300 percent more efficient in milk and meat production.
Curiosity played a part in the project to produce a compact cow.
''I was interested in finding the lower limits of zebu's range,'' said Berruecos.
The compact cow weighs about 350 pounds, while a regular zebu averages 1,100 pounds.
Berruecos said the present herd of compact cows should increase from 30 to several hundred within 1 1/2 years by implanting embryos into ordinary cows.