The Brahman is one of the most popular breeds of cattle intended for meat processing and is widely used around the world. Mainly used for breeding and the meat industry, the Brahman has been used to develop numerous other beef breeds including Brangus, Beefmaster, Simbrah and Santa Gertrudis.
History of the Brahman
The Brahman breed originated from Bos indicus cattle from India, known as the “sacred cattle of India”. Centuries of exposure to inadequate food supplies, insect pests, parasites, diseases and extreme weather conditions of tropical India resulted in the native cattle developing some remarkable adaptations for survival which international modern breeders found to be highly advantageous.
The American Brahman was the first beef cattle breed developed in the United States. It was bred in the early 1900s as a cross of four different Indian cattle breeds: Gyr, Gujarat, Ongole and Krishna Valley.
In South Africa, the Brahman was introduced to the beef cattle scene in 1954 when Mr Jurgen Crantz imported eight males and ten females from Texas, USA. The breed came to play a major part in the production of red meat in Southern Africa.
Brahman are characterised by a large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, large pendulous ears and abundant folds of skin. They vary in colour from very light grey or red to almost black. Their thick skin makes them resistant to insects and are known for their extreme tolerance to heat, resulting in being widespread in tropical regions. Brahman cattle live longer than many other breeds, often producing calves at ages 15 and older.
Brahmans are intermediate in size among beef breeds. Mature bulls must have a mass of between 750 kg and 1030 kg, and mature cows must have a mass between 500 kg and 660 kg. The calves are small at birth, weighing up to only about 30kg (60 to 65 pounds), but grow very rapidly and wean at weights comparable to other breeds.
Facts about the Brahman:
- Quick growth
- Early finish
- Abundant muscle
- Ideal formation
- Sexual precocity
- Regular calving