Pay day starts with superior Beefmaster cows. Indeed, the Beefmaster female has stayed true to her original purpose: to help ranchers in tough environments improve performance, survivability and longevity. So, if you are giving up ground in traits that matter, consider Beefmasters. The breed will jump-start your cattle and give your next calf crop a performance boost.
Beefmaster is a beef breed developed in America that improves beef quality and production efficiency when crossed with any other cattle breed for commercial beef production. The breed originated in Southern Texas in the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s. The Lasater family originally developed a large herd of Hereford cattle carefully selected to withstand the heat and insects of the Texas Gulf Coast region, but they were still not perfectly suited to that difficult environment. So Lasater began to experiment with incorporating Bos indicus or Zebu genetics, in the form of Gyr and Guzerat bulls from India and Nelore from Brazil. While the practice of crossbreeding was virtually unheard of at the time, they immediately saw a tremendous jump in productive traits, such as weight gain and reproductive rates. This is genetic advantage known as heterosis or hybrid vigor.
By the early 1930’s, the ranch also incorporated Milking Shorthorn genetics, to augment milk production and carcass quality. They could immediately see that the three-way hybrid was far superior to the two-way crosses. The final composite ended up at roughly 50% Bos indicus and 50% Bos taurus (25% Hereford and 25% Shorthorn).
As Lasater developed the breed, he also formed a unique selection philosophy known today as The Lasater Philosophy. The concept is to only select cattle for economically relevant traits, which he distilled to these Six Essential traits. The Six Essentials are weight, conformation, milk production, fertility, hardiness and disposition. It is the only breed in history to be selected only using pressure for productive traits, as opposed to aesthetics.
In 1937, the herd was closed to outside genetics with continued internal development to cull low-performers and upgrade all traits together equally. By 1954 the foundation herd was recognized by USDA under the name of Beefmaster. In 1961, Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) was founded and is headquartered in Boerne, Texas. Beefmaster ranks fifth in the U.S. in terms of membership and is the largest of the American breeds. The association has over 3,000 members registering around 19,000 calves annually. Beefmasters also enjoy a rapidly growing international footprint, with established associations in nine countries worldwide.
The breed has rapidly grown around the world and has become known as the prime maternal cow for serious commercial cattlemen that appreciate their production excellence, particularly in harsh desert or tropical environments. The breed has excelled across most regions of the United States and is the leading breed of choice for commercial cattlemen in Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Panama, Columbia and several other Latin American regions. Beefmasters were introduced to Europe in 2014 by way of Italy and since have grown in popularity throughout Poland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Germany and most recently Turkey. With global demand for higher-quality beef growing geometrically, Beefmasters provide the perfect breed to cross on commercial cattle to improve production efficiency and carcass quality, while not sacrificing adaptability.
Beefmasters are well known within the international beef industry for their successful adaptation in tropical climates. While this has proven true in Central America and Thailand, this unique breed succeeds in high altitude deserts, as well as in cold and wet environments. The Lasater Foundation herd was moved in 1948 to Matheson, Colorado – where it remains to this day. The Lasater Ranch is located on the Rocky Mountain plains, which is known for its high altitude, snow, extreme cold and meager grassland for foraging. Meteorological review has shown that Matheson has more extreme cold in winter, heat in summer, and coastal plains type conditions than the Republic of Poland. Beefmaster cattle also flourish in the deserts of South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. They thrive in the mountains of Colombia and Venezuela, as well as Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
Commercial cattlemen have noted substantial economic gains from using Beefmasters to provide an average increase of 27 kilograms, or more at weaning when compared with other breeds. They excel post-weaning as well, with faster weight gains, excellent feed conversion and carcass yields around 64%. Land grant universities in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma are conducting research projects to evaluate carcass quality and feed efficiency through utilizing Beefmaster for crossbreeding on popular breeds such as Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Simmental, Limousin and even some dairy breeds. The Noble Research Institute is also working with Beefmaster Breeders United to conduct economic research on grass-fed, and grain fed carcass merit. Their research points to the heterosis gains showing “an extra calf” when weaning weights produce 50-75 extra kilograms per calf born.
In a time when sustainability is becoming increasingly critical, Beefmasters have repeatedly demonstrated that they are highly efficient converters of both forage and feeds into lean, tender, high-quality beef. A recent study at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) demonstrated Beefmaster’s dominance when compared to 18 of the most widely used beef breeds in the United States. In 2017 the University of Bologna Animal Science Department evaluated potential benefits of Beefmasters for the Italian beef industry. The research concluded that Beefmasters provide the strongest heterosis of any bovine breed in the world. Other such composite breeds have been successful for short term results, but the retained heterosis produced through crossbreeding with Beefmasters is strong and will generate long term benefits.
To summarize, the Beefmaster female excels in all maternal traits. They get bred easily, year in and year out. They make raising good calves look easy. And they possess excellent longevity because they do not break down in tough environments. So, if your cow herd has lost its ability to adapt to changing times or challenging environments, maybe it is time to rebuild with proven, Beefmaster females. Nothing beats a Beefmaster. Learn more about what the Beefmaster cow can do at www.Beefmasters.org.