Also Known By: Hartón del Valle, Vallecaucana, Valle de Cauca
The Hartón breed is a Criollo type of Bos taurus that were brought by the Spanish conquerors to the high part of the Cauca river valley of Columbia around 1539. The breed has been developed mainly in what is today Departamento del Valle del Cauca, at 950 m.a.s.l., 24ºC and a year rainfall of 1536mm., (dry tropical forest). The most recent census shows about 5460 heads in the Cauca Valley Department and a lower figures in the other departments of Colombia. The National Breeders Association of the Creole Cattle Hartón del Valle, Asoharton, was founded in 1976 and since then has been working for the preservation, genetic improvement and development of the breed. It has also developed breed standards for the Hartón dual purpose system of production. However the breed is sometimes used exclusively for either beef or milk production, according to the preference of each breeder.
The mean linear type traits evaluation, for 662 cows and 11 bulls over 2 years of age, without previous genetic selection was 80 points (good plus). The adaptation of the Hartón breed to the tropical environment is shown through its high tolerance to heat and diseases, a long live span, low mortality, high fertility and reasonable yield of beef, milk and work. The reproductive traits of the breed are: calving interval 360-390 days, calving rate 93.1%, gestation length 287.4 days, estrous cycle in heifers and cows 20 and 21 days respectively, puberty 12 months, effective service 22-24 months and age at first calving 32-33 months. The birth weights are 31+4.6 kg. for females and 35+5.7 kg. for males. The breed has a slow growing rate but reaches 308 kg. of live weight at 22 months in heifers and 426 kg. in four year old cows; in males the growing process is a bit more accelerated and can reach live weights of 280 kg. at 18 months of age, 443 kg. at 36 months, and 750-980 kg. in bulls five years old or more.
The milk yield varied accordingly to the degree of selection, the presence or absence of the calf at milking and the nutritional management. With the presence of the calf at milking the milk yield is 1353+ 157 kg. in a 245 days lactation period, and with the absence of the calf 1956+546 kg. in 298 days lactation period. The variability of milk production measured by the standard deviation (546 kg.) shows the possibility for the genetic improvement of the breed in the milk output especially in the case of milking without the calf presence. In the 296 referred lactations, 11% of the cows had milk yields averages above 3000 kg. The milk has 4-5% fat, 3.6% protein and 12.5% total solids. The partial income from milk sales was 65% and for breeding and sold animals 35%. The annual utility was 58.9%. Most farms use traditional technologies. However, advanced farms use contemporary technologies with the purpose to increase productivity. The breed has been used for the production of crossbreds and hybrids with European and Zebu (Bos indicus) breeds either for milk or beef with good results. This has been one of the ways by which the breed was reduced in previous times.
William Ortiz M., Irenarco Casas, and Marino Valderrama; Av. 54 # 106-26, Bogota, Colombia S.A., email@example.com
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.