All programs “All Inclusive” that enter in Punta Arenas stop at The Ranch Cerro Negro, located 187 km from Punta Arenas, 60 km from Puerto Natales. It is the place where visitors will be welcomed by a very special family who has worked at the ranch for several years. They will make you feel like at home.
You will taste delicious “empanadas” prepared by Mrs. Patricia, and roast –“asado al palo” made by her husband, Don Gerardo, who also will present you his skill in shearing sheep, typical activity of Patagonian ranch.
Finally, their daughter, Pearl, will guide you and explain you the interesting history of this Croatian family, as well as she will provide details on how it works and operates a Patagonian ranch today.
History of the Ranch
Cerro Negro has been a part of the family Kusanovic property since 1945, when Antonio Kusanovic, Croatian immigrant, bought the concession from Sepulveda, who had leased the land from state under the name “Estancia Anita.”
Later, the ranch was transferred to his son, Antonio Jusanovic Senkovic, who bought Cerro Negro in 1983. Finally, in 2000, the family, including his two daughters, two sons and his wife, Ms. Amor Eliana Marusic Figueredo, was associated under the name of Kusanovic y Kusanovic Ltda. becoming the owner of the territory.
Antonio Kusanovic Jersic came from Croatia in 1904, he was 15 years old. He began working in Punta Arenas with relatives who had arrived here few years earlier. When he was 20, he decided to start his own butcher shop in the center of the city.
The beginning of the ranch
The strong want to raise his own livestock caused that he bought his own ranch. At the beginning, he raised sheep and later with the introduction of the new breed of cattle Hereford, brought to Patagonia from Australia and Canada in the 70’s, he decided to work with this breed, and with Corriedale sheep.
The Ranch Cerro Negro has 6,000 hectares, just 4,500 of them are used, the rest is forests of Lenga, where the cattle can´t pass.
The ranch is home for 1,600 sheep, where each produces 4.5 kilos of wool, and 300 head of cattle, which are guarded by shepherds and their dogs. Sheep are usually sheared and bathed once a year by an expert, with his scissors is sheared between 200 and 250 sheep per day.
This work is done mainly by people from Chiloé, a large island located in the region of Los Lagos in Chile. They work during the shearing season, from November to February, cutting from ranch to ranch.
In recent years, livestock increased to rising of calves, which are exported to the region of Magallanes.