Santa Gertrudis cattle

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Santa Gertrudis cows and calves
Santa Gertrudis bull

Santa Gertrudis cattle are a tropical beef breed of cattle developed in southern Texas on the King Ranch. They were named for the Spanish land grant where Captain Richard King originally established the King Ranch. This breed was officially recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1940, becoming the first beef breed formed in the United States. The origin given by King Ranch is that it was formed by mating Brahman bulls with Beef Shorthorn cows, with the final composition being about 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Shorthorn. In 1918 King Ranch purchased 52 bulls of 3/4 to 7/8 Bos indicus breeding to mate with 2500 pure-bred Shorthorn cows on the ranch. At this time the American Brahman breed as such did not exist nor were there pure-breed Bos indicus available in the United States .[1]

Monkey was born in 1920, a son of Vinotero, one of the bulls who was purchased in 1918. This bull became the foundation sire for the breed. With the birth of Monkey and a decision to line-breed came a very uniform and very hearty breed of beef cattle. These cattle are red in color, display a blend of Bos indicus and Bos taurus attributes and may be polled or horned. In addition to being a hardy breed, other characteristics include good milking ability, good for beef production, excellent mothering ability, ease of calving, high heat tolerance and parasite resistance, and an ability to turn off (sell or use for food) a steer at just about any age. The steers also show good weights for their age as well as good weight gains whether on pasture or in a feedlot.

In 1950 the Santa Gertrudis Breeders International Association was formed at Kingsville, Texas.

Santa Gertrudis cattle are known the world over for their ability to adapt to harsh climates. They were exported to Australia c. 1951 and have been subjected to inspection and classification since then. The Santa Gertrudis Breeders (Australia) Association was established in 1954 and the Santa Gertrudis Group Breedplan has operated in Australia since 1994. Anna Creek, Australia's largest cattle station raises Santa Gertrudis.

There are 11,500 registered in the United States.[citation needed]

Breed characteristics[edit]

The breed is cherry red, occasionally with white markings on the underline, and has a short, smooth, slick coat. Santa Gertrudis cattle show many of the Bos indicus characteristics: the hide is loose and there are neck and navel folds; the male has a small Zebu-type hump. Ears are medium to large and individuals are horned or polled. The female is noted for her ease of calving and milking ability.

The breed is noted for heat tolerance as well as tick and bloat resistance. Carcases from very young cattle develop a large eye muscle of meat with little or no waste fat. Older steers yield well, with minimum fat cover acceptable to premium world markets. Weight for age is a noted attribute of the breed. Quality and uniformity in registered cattle is enforced by a rigid classification system by the breed association.


  1. ^ [1]. Referenced February 17, 2008.

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