ALL ABOUT CRIOLLO: Researchers at The Jornada in Las Cruces have uncovered a old breed type of cattle that is changing modern ranching, is well-suited for our land, and is gaining popularity as a food source. Learn more about the history and future of the Raramuri Criollo.
Criollo: The Cattle That Can Change Ranching in the Southwest Desert At the Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a unique biotype of cattle is thriving in the arid lands of the Desert Southwest. These gentle animals with their multi-colored coats and upsweeping horns are Raramuri Criollo cattle. They have a set of genes that sets them apart from other cattle, as a result of their long 500 year history in the Americas. Scientists at the Jornada are uncovering how these genes allow them to survive in harsh lands with minimal supplemental help from ranchers. Some ranchers throughout the Southwest are bringing Criollo onto their ranches.
Criollo have been in the news quite a bit lately as a sustainable and low cost way to ranch cattle. They are well-adapted to their landscape. But few people realize that the reason for their remarkable abilities is a function of their 500+ year history in the Americas. There are many types of Criollo across North and South America, but they are all of a common lineage. Criollo is an old Spanish name given to people and animals born in the Americas of European decent.
Raising Criollo: Cost Efficient Cattle Not Afraid to
Use their Horns
The Raramuri Criollo’s genetics allow them to thrive in the arid lands of the desert Southwest to a degree that differs from that of common European breeds. Few people know that as well as Dennis Moroney, of 47 Ranch in Cochise County, Arizona. Dennis has been ranching with Criollo cattle since the Jornada had enough available for him to purchase six years ago. Now his ranch has over 90 pure Criollo cows and many crossbreds. The Criollo’s smaller frame and diverse browsing behavior allow it to range from low areas to high on top of ridges all within a single day.