Beefmaster Cattle Offer Many Reasons To Be A Breed Of Choice.

Published on Thu, 10/06/2011 - 1:53pm

Beefmaster cattle are a combination of Zebu, Hereford and Shorthorn that has been in existence since the early 1950’s.  They are a unique combination of Bos Indicus and Bos Taurus breeding that allows them to excel in any environment.  Today they can found from Wisconsin to Texas, California to Florida and every place in between.  The Beefmaster Foundation herd excels in the cold environment of Colorado and about 50% of the registered animals are found in the hot, humid environment of Texas and Florida.  The three breed combination has built in heterosis that will further be enhanced in mating them with the industries commercial cattle population.

Many cattlemen are unaware of the level of increase in productivity that crossbreeding offers the cattle industry.  Scientists suggest that as much as a 25-30% advantage may exist by use of crossbreeding.  Because of the many generations of repeated top-crossing of Angus bulls on the commercial cowherd the industry has seen a significant loss in heterosis.  “Most will agree that the Angus breed and the Certified Angus Brand (CAB) have had a tremendous success in product marketing over the years,” stated Tommy Perkins, Executive Vice President of Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU).  “However, cattlemen can reap even more economic advantage by using another breed to capitalize on the advantages of heterosis and breed complementarity.”

The Beefmaster breed of cattle is a multipurpose breed that is full of convenience traits.  When used in a crossbreeding program, Beefmasters will add growth and efficiency in all phases of the production chain.  This added growth and efficiency will put dollars in your pocket at the cow-calf level and all the way through the feedlot phase, giving you the best of both worlds. You get all the convenience traits in the female along with a crossbred, high performing calf with excellent carcass traits.

Traditionally, the Beefmaster cow has provided the low birth weights, calving ease, fleshing ability, efficiency and conception percentage that is unequalled in the beef industry.  Use of Beefmaster influenced cattle will allow you to be a low-cost producer with fewer inputs at the cow/calf level.  Reduced per cow cost will become a requirement of cow/calf operators to survive in the current and evolving beef industry. Economics 101 suggests that cow/calf producers can achieve greater profitability or minimal losses by cutting per cow costs.  These cost cutting measures are built into the Beefmaster influenced female.

Beefmaster cattle offer the perfect balance of convenience, breed complimentarity, and heterosis retention.  For example, a cross between a commercial Angus cow and a Beefmaster bull would combine high levels of marbling from the Angus with high efficiency and growth of the Beefmaster.  Thus, the resulting crossbred progeny should combine quality grade and cost of production attributes to maximize value in a retained ownership management system.  This mating would allow the producer to optimize Bos Taurus percentage in an excellent replacement female or a fast growing, efficient, high quality feeder calf. 

In conclusion, heterosis has an impact on many traits but it is most beneficial in improving performance in the lowly heritable traits like reproduction.  Beefmaster cattle, recognized as a breed by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1954, were selected following founder, Tom Lasater’s, six essentials. The six essentials consist of disposition, fertility, weight, conformation, milk production and hardiness.  Beefmaster breeders continue to strive for the Standard of Excellence by using the six essentials.  Beefmaster females, purebred or percentage, will add disease tolerance, insect tolerance, heat tolerance, longevity, docility, calving ease, maternal abilities and hardiness. 

Contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or go to our website at for additional information.