Brahman (Zebu Cattle)

Brahman breed

 

The Brahman breed (also known as Brahma) originated from Bos indicus cattle from India, the "sacred cattle of India". Through centuries of exposure to inadequate food supplies, insect pests, parasites, diseases and the weather extremes of tropical India, the native cattle developed some remarkable adaptations for survival which cattle producers in the USA found useful and advantageous.

 

Three principal strains of Indian cattle were brought to the United States and used in the development of the Brahman breed; the Guzerat, the Nelore and Gir. The Krishna Valley strain was also introduced and used but to a lesser extent.

The general similarity of the Guzerat strain to the cattle selected and developed in the USA would indicate that cattlemen working with the breed have generally preferred this type. 

 

It is said that during the period from 1910 to 1920, many cattle in the south-western part of Texas and the coastal country along the Gulf of Mexico showed considerable evidence of Bos indicus breeding. Naturally, many of the bulls that were used were the result of crosses with other breeds. Some breeders attempted to keep the stock pure, but they were in the minority.  Since there are records of less than 300 imported Brahmans (most of which were bulls), it must be assumed that other breeds supplied the foundation animals for the breed.  The bulls were used on cows of the European breeds and on the descendants of these crosses. By the fifth generation (31/32) the offspring carried not only a preponderance of Bos indicus breeding but selection pressure had permitted the development of an animal generally regarded as superior to the original imports for beef production. 

 

Today, its use in crossbreeding has become a great tool for the production of steers for various purposes. Its meat is highly appreciated in the five continents. 


The Brahman has become so essential in the tropics that many British and Continental breeds have been "adapted" to such zones by incorporating a relevant percentage of Brahman blood. Synthetic breeds have resulted from such crossings: Brangus - Braford - SimBrah - ChaBray - BeefMaster. These are just a few examples of Brahman popularity.

 

Photo courtesy of Tuscany Farms, www.tuscanybrahmans.com