With distinctive floppy ears and a humped back, Brahman cattle are easily distinguished from other breeds. Although the ancestors of the breed came from India, Brahman cattle are now used for beef production in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Australia, Colombia and the United States.
History of Brahman Cattle
Brahman cattle were first bred in the United States, mainly using three breeds of cattle imported from India: the Guzerat, the Nelore and the Gir. Bulls from these three breeds were mated with European cows to produce Brahman cattle, which most closely resemble the Guzerat breed. The aim of these early breeders, who originated the Brahman in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was to create a strain that could be used for meat production.
Brahman Cattle Physical Characteristics
The most distinctive physical characteristics of Brahman cattle are their floppy ears and humped back. They also have horns that curve upward, sometimes with a slight tilt to the rear. These characteristics make Brahmans easy to recognize.
Brahman cattle have an intermediate size compared to most American beef cattle. Bulls typically weigh between 1,600 and 2,200 pounds, while cows are smaller at 1,000 – 1,400 pounds. Although calves are born relatively small, they grow quickly. Cows calve regularly, making Brahmans a good choice for breeding.
Most Brahman cattle are light or medium gray, with bulls usually darker than cows; however, the breed also includes some bulls that are almost black, along with some red individuals. Underneath their thick hair, Brahman cattle have dark skin to protect them from the hot sun.
Brahman Cattle and Temperature Tolerance
The loose skin that hangs around the Brahman’s neck also helps it to deal with hot weather. These folds of skin increase the surface area of the animal, allowing heat to dissipate. Brahman cattle sweat very easily as an additional cooling mechanism. As a result, they’re a popular beef breed in hot climates. Whereas European breeds suffer from reduced milk production at air temperatures above 75 °F, Brahmans continue to produce well until 105 °F. Studies show that Brahmans cope just as well as European breeds at cold temperatures, all the way down to 8 °F.
Temperament of Brahman Cattle
Brahman cattle are docile and affectionate. They respond well to good handling and are intelligent compared to other breeds. They’re a hardy breed that can thrive in a wide range of conditions.
Brahman Cattle and Beef Production
Brahman cattle grow quickly and easily put on muscle. These characteristics make them good beef cattle, and they’re used on ranches across the USA and Mexico, in South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and in South Africa and Australia.
Many other beef-producing breeds have been created by crossing Brahman cattle with European breeds. The Brangus, Beefmaster, Santa Gertrudis and Simbrah were all created in the US using Brahman cattle.
American Brahman Breeders Association
The American Brahman Breeders Association has its headquarters in Houston, Texas. It was formed in 1924 and still tracks the bloodlines of Brahman cattle.
Learn More About Brahman Cattle
To learn more about Brahman cattle, and to find out whether this hardy and good-natured breed could be the right choice for your ranch, fill out the form to request more information.