The Santa Gertrudis may not be a cattle breed you are familiar with, but you may have seen them if you’ve spent any time in the Southeastern US, especially along the Gulf Coast. These cattle are good beef producers and tend to stay reproductively active late into their lives. For more information about the Santa Gertrudis cattle, read on!

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Quick Facts about Santa Gertrudis Cattle

Breed Name:Santa Gertrudis
Place of Origin:United States
Uses:Beef
Bull (Male) Size:1,650–2,200 pounds
Cow (Female) Size:1,320–1,870 pounds
Color:Red
Lifespan:13–20 years
Climate Tolerance:Hot, humid weather; tolerant to cold
Care Level:Moderate
Production:Moderate to high

Santa Gertrudis Cattle Origins

The Santa Gertrudis cattle is a beef cattle breed originated in Texas around the 1900s. The first Santa Gertrudis breed program began in 1910 with the goal to produce a beef cattle breed.

Preference was shown for breeding red into the Santa Gertrudis breed. They were bred from Brahman and Shorthorn cattle. There are some discrepancies as to what percentage of each breed accounts for the parentage of the Santa Gertrudis.

Santa Gertrudis
Image Credit: cctm, Shutterstock

Santa Gertrudis Cattle Characteristics

These large, stocky cattle have a large amount of loose skin around the neck, giving them the appearance of a Brahman. They may also have loose skin around the navel and brisket or the lower portion of the chest where it meets the abdomen.

These cattle are highly adaptable and are hardy to a range of environments. They thrive in the hot, humid environment of the Gulf Coast, showing a great adaptability to hot weather. They can tolerate cold weather as well, although it isn’t their preferred environment.

Bulls reach up to 2,200 pounds, while cows reach up to 1,870 pounds, making both males and females excellent options for beef production. Males and females tend to stay reproductively active longer than many other cattle breeds, with females calving up to 13–15 years of age, while males may be active studs to age 15 and beyond.

Uses

These hefty cattle are bred primarily as beef cattle. The females are highly productive, calving readily. This makes the Santa Gertrudis cattle a great option as food production animals. They are not known for their milk, although their handsome, red hides can also be used as cowhide rugs.

Appearance & Varieties

The breed standard of the Santa Gertrudis calls for a primarily red animal. They were selectively bred to develop the beautiful red coat the breed is known for. Some Santa Gertrudis cattle may have white markings on them as well, but these should not make up a significant portion of the coat. White markings most commonly appear on the forehead or the flanks. This breed can be either polled or non-polled, so horns may appear on the breed, but they are not a requirement for the breed.

Santa Gertrudis
Image Credit: cctm, Shutterstock

Population, Distribution, & Habitat

Since they were developed in Texas just over 100 years ago, the Santa Gertrudis cattle is primarily distributed in Texas and along the US Gulf coast. They are mainly distributed across parts of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Due to their high value as a beef breed, they are also bred in other locations, but primarily distributed across the Southeastern United States.

Are Santa Gertrudis Cattle Good for Small-Scale Farming?

If you have the capacity to slaughter cattle, then the Santa Gertrudis cattle breed may be a good option for your small-scale farm. They are not particularly valuable for milk, but they do reproduce well, calving late into their lifetimes. This means that they can also have value for sale if you are interested in breeding and selling calves. They are beautiful cattle with a lovely, red coat and a hardiness to unpleasant, humid environments.

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Conclusion

The Santa Gertrudis cattle is a hardy and adaptable breed that would be beneficial for small-scale farmers. While the Santa Gertrudis cattle breed is not known for its high milk product, it is a good cattle to have for small-scale beef farming.


Featured Image Credit: Celso Margraf, Shutterstock