Can you tell us briefly the history of the National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (ACRUGA)?
The National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (A.C.R.U.G.A.) is a non-profit organisation, with a business nature and associative base, with its own legal personality, constituted and officially approved under the protection of the regulations in force at the time, on 20th October 1968.
The National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (hereinafter ACRUGA) was set up in 1968 and was initially registered in the National Register of Professional Organisations under number 654 and in the General Register of Purebred Cattle Breeders’ Associations under number 10. It is recognised as such by the European Union, having adapted, as appropriate, to the corresponding legal provisions. It is currently registered in the National Register of Associations, in Section 1st, with the national number 616219.
Since 1975, this Association has been the collaborating entity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in charge of managing the Stud Book and the Improvement Programme of the Rubia Gallega breed throughout Spain.
The Breeding Programme currently developed by ACRUGA, due to the adaptation to the European regulations and the Royal Decree 45/2019 of 8th February, is supported by the team led by Dr Altarriba Farrán from the Department of Anatomy, Embryology and Animal Genetics of the University of Zaragoza.
The main objective of the programme is to improve the productive efficiency of this breed, which is based on obtaining quality meat from a calf slaughtered before 10 months of age and reared in a specific production system, with natural lactation from birth to about 7 months of age.
What activity has it developed since its creation?
ACRUGA has been working for and in favour of the Rubia Gallega breed and its breeders for more than 50 years, developing under its responsibility the conservation, evaluation, and selection of the breed, as well as the dissemination, promotion, encouragement and expansion of the breed at national and international level. The purpose of the work established in the association is based on preserving the inherited genetic heritage, improving it and adapting it to the times, as well as defending the interests of its members.
Among the main purposes of the association, we find the following:
– The representation, management, and defence of the interests of the members.
– The defence and protection of the “Rubia Gallega Breed”.
– The promotion, expansion, and selection of the Rubia Gallega Breed cattle, ensuring its purity.
What market or producer-driven changes have taken place in the National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (ACRUGA)?
Over the years we have seen that our genetic selection cannot only focus on the production of kg of meat, but we must also work on other important aspects of our breed, such as calving ease or the high maternal aptitude of our breeders, as these are highly important factors in the production system of our stockbreeders.
Could you situate the breed with macro data (no. of farmers/partners, no. of mothers, general production characteristics, reproduction, and quantity of products) obtained during 2019?
We currently have 1645 livestock farms.
A total of 37450 animals of which 23450 are breeding females and 484 breeding males.
During 2019, 277782 doses of semen were marketed, 121172 for national destination and 1560610 for international destination.
7217 animals were slaughtered under the protected geographical indication Supreme Galician Veal Rubia Gallega Meat.
What are the achievements and advantages of the Rubia Gallega at national level?
In addition to Galicia, we currently have farms in Aragon, Andalusia, Extremadura, Castilla León, Castilla la Mancha, and Madrid. In all cases, the breed’s gentleness, hardiness and adaptability, together with the production of high-quality meat in animals with very good conversion rates, are the main advantages of our breed.
What are the barriers you have found in introducing the Rubia Gallega genetics among breeders?
The main barriers we have encountered are strong competition from other meat breeds and farmers’ lack of knowledge of our genetics.
What are the most important factors in the decision-making process of breeders to bet on the Rubia Gallega?
The hardiness, the breed’s ability to adapt to any climate or circumstance, the excellent conversion rates and average daily gains are very important factors, but the excellent quality of Rubia Gallega meat, a meat that is highly appreciated both nationally and internationally, is one of the main factors that farmers consider when choosing our breed.
What would be for the National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (ACRUGA) the work of LGFS to help and support internationalisation?
To make our breed known on the international market, to provide information to our association about possible markets, as well as to speed up the bureaucratic procedures.
Thank you very much for your time. We hope to be able to add value to the internationalisation of the National Association of Breeders of Selected Cattle of the Rubia Gallega Breed (ACRUGA) and of the autochthonous Spanish breeds.