Range cattle must tolerate various climatic conditions to be economically viable. That’s one reason that the Beefmaster cow came on the scene. The breed scores full marks on the six essential qualities that are desirable in these animals: disposition, hardiness, confirmation, weight, milking production, and fertility. That makes them a good all-around choice for the novice farmer or rancher.

The Beefmaster is one of the new kids on the block compared to other well-established cattle breeds. However, its popularity has grown in part because of how easy this animal is to manage on several fronts.


Quick Facts about Beefmaster Cattle Breed

Beefmaster cattle
Beefmaster cattle (Image Credit: Beefmaster Breeders United, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Breed Name:Beefmaster
Place of Origin:South Texas
Uses:Meat and by-products
Bull (Male) Size:2,645 pounds
Cow (Female) Size:1,760 pounds
Color:Light to dark red
Lifespan:Up to 11 years1
Climate Tolerance:Tolerates extreme temperatures well
Care Level:Easy; good for the novice farmer
Production:Mature at 9 months to 4 years

Beefmaster Cattle Breed Origins

Ed Lasater got the ball rolling in 1908 for what would eventually become the Beefmaster cow from southern Texas. His son, Tom, perfected the breed that was a mix of 50% Brahman (Bos inidus), 25% Milking Shorthorn, and  25% Hereford (Bos taurus). The original intent was to selectively breed an animal that could handle the harsh Texas climate.

Lasater succeeded admirably, with the Beefmaster earning USDA recognition in 19542. The cattle are robust animals that pose few calving or health issues. The breed’s adherence to the six essential qualities is unique among these animals. These guidelines3 were the brainchild of Lasater, who recognized the importance of these inheritable traits.

Beefmaster Cattle Breed Characteristics

The Beefmaster is a gentle animal, both cows and bulls. Its disposition is one of its defining qualities. One can call it easygoing because it’s less likely to cause problems. Its hardiness also makes it an economical choice. It is a fertile animal that will calve once a year. The cows make excellent mothers. These cattle are also insect-resistant and healthy, causing few issues.

Beefmaster Cattle Breed Uses

While its primary purpose is meat, the Beefmaster also produces a decent amount of excellent milk for dairy products and high-quality leather for other uses. The breed has a lot to offer on all scores. They are fast-growing for beef cattle, with outstanding meat quality and marbling. The cows are low-maintenance with a long productive life.

It’s worth noting that the Beefmaster makes a profitable choice for ranchers interested in crossbreeding their herd, too. They can take advantage of the benefits of maternal heterosis to produce more viable calves. It can significantly improve average daily gain, survival, and the calving rate. The present population reflects the traits from the Foundation Herd with its outstanding qualities.

Beefmaster Cattle Breed Appearance & Varieties

The Beefmaster is a medium-sized animal with thick legs and a well-proportioned body. The breed standard calls for bulls to have a masculine appearance and cows feminine. The cattle should have a muscular back and neck with a clean dewlap. Its disposition figures prominently in the standard, with discriminations against nervous or aggressive traits.

The breed standard does not specify a color. However, you’re more likely to find Beefmaster cattle in varying shades of red. The animal doesn’t have horns.


Population, Distribution, & Habitat

The Beefmaster is a hardy range animal that can live in most climates. That makes it a popular choice for range managers. Its population is primarily in the United States. However, you’ll also find the breed in Mexico and South Africa for the same reasons that it is raised in this country. That explains why the Beefmaster Breeders United sits in the top ten of cattle registrations.


Are Beefmaster Cattle Breed Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Beefmaster is a well-adapted animal that can make an excellent economical choice for small-scale farming. Its tolerance and robust health are desirable traits that can help novice farmers get a profitable start in this industry. Perhaps its best qualities are its docile temperament and multi-purpose use. Whether you raise livestock for beef or dairy, the Beefmaster belongs on your shortlist.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay