Why Use Brahman
The American Brahman excels in adding hybrid vigor to their offspring when crossed with other breeds, resulting in more money in your pocket as a beef producer. Hybrid vigor (or “heterosis”) is an animal breeding or genetics term that is achieved by crossing two different strains, varieties, breeds or species. In the cattle world, maximum hybrid vigor is obtained by crossing totally unrelated animals, achieving the “best of both worlds”.
Because of this added hybrid vigor, the use of Brahman bulls with European or English breed cows is one of the most popular crossbreeding practices in the United States, with the resulting Brahman F-1 calf in high demand by cattlemen for replacement females or feeders in the feedlot.
Years of crossbreeding research has consistently shown that ranchers get higher levels of heterosis when you cross a Brahman with a British or Continental breed compared to just breeding British or Continental breeds to each other. Because of this, Brahman cattle are often referred to as crossbreeding’s common denominator. The Brahman F-1 cross is consistently superior to other crosses in weight per day of age and carcass efficiency. The Brahman F-1 is also very popular because these cattle display many important characteristics of their Brahman parent, such as drought resistance, heat tolerance, disease and parasite resistance and increased longevity.
QUEENS OF COW COUNTRY
F-1 Brahman females are maternal machines….they have increased milk production, higher fertility, and wean faster-growing calves with fewer inputs. Plus, she will have a longer productive life, raising more calves over her lifetime than other breeds. In the feedlot, Brahman hybrid steers remain healthier and make the most rapid, efficient gains while producing heavier, higher yielding carcasses that are free of excess fat, which today’s packer and health-conscious consumer demand.
Brahmans have dark skin pigmentation, which filters the intense rays of the sun as well as keeps the breed free of cancer eye. Other environmental adaptations which make the Brahman breed so well suited to so many areas of the country include the ability to utilize lower-quality feed, to travel longer distances for feed and water, and to resist insects and external parasites while withstanding vast climactic differences. They also have the ability to reproduce on a regular basis in a stressful environment. Brahman cattle show no effect from extremely high temperatures.
A factor which contributes to the Brahman’s unique ability to withstand temperature extremes is a short, thick, glossy hair coat which reflects much of the sun’s rays, allowing them to graze in midday sun without suffering. In severe winters, Brahmans grow a protective covering of long, coarse hair beneath which a dense, downy, fur-like undercoat can be found. An abundance of loose skin, characteristic of the breed, also aids in its ability to withstand warm weather by increasing the body surface area exposed to cooling. In cold weather the skin is contracted, increasing the thickness of the hide and density of the hair, which aids in retaining body heat. A special feature of the Brahman breed is their ability over other breeds to sweat freely, which contributes greatly to their heat tolerance.
GAIN EFFICIENCY & CARCASS QUALITY
Brahman hybrid calves and those out of Brahman F-1 cows are noted for their fast gains, and it’s a fact that these calves consistently produce more weight per day of age than most other breed contemporaries. Brahman cross calves are more desirable to feed in many parts of the country during hot, humid months when the feed efficiency of European and British calves and crosses decreases. The ability of these Brahman cross cattle to finish during warm seasons is a definite economic factor in their favor.
While efficiency is an important quality of the Brahman and its crosses, the carcasses are known for their high cutability, which results in a high yielding carcass with limited fat. In a recent study conducted by Texas A&M, Angus and Hereford cows were bred to Brahman bulls. The resulting steers were handled as calf-feds going directly into the feedlot at weaning. The steers were fed for 180 days and slaughtered at 13-14 months. The first calf crops produced 89 steers, with no death loss experienced postweaning. Of those fed, 58 percent of the steers graded Choice, with the rest in the window of acceptability.
Tenderness readings using the Warner-Bratzler Shear-Force Test were taken at 0, 7 and 14 days. With this data, a rating of 10 pounds or less is considered satisfactory for supermarket sales, while a rating of 8.7 pounds or less is desirable for steaks utilized in quality restaurants. Eighty-four of the 89 samples were below the 10 pound level at 14 days with the best rating being 5.7 pounds.
Add more beef to your milk program with the American Brahman! The American Brahman is known the world over for their crossbreeding excellence, however many dairy producers in the southern United States and South and Central America also utilize the American Brahman in crossbreeding with dairy breeds. These dual purpose animals are the future of the cattle industry in the tropics. Using American Brahmans in the tropics will result in adaptability, fertility, disease resistance and longevity. American Brahman genetics give you heavier weaning weights, more quality beef, and more salvage value at production termination. They also add additional butter fat content and protein, as well as increased production and net income.
Recent crossbreeding reports from South American have shown the American Brahman to be an ideal cross with a variety of dairy breeds including Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, and more.