Saturday, October 22, 2011

Santa Gertrudis and Santa Gertrudis Cattle Breeds

The Santa Gertrudis breed (see Figure 4) was developed on the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas. This composite breed consists of 5/8 Shorthorn and 3/8 Brahman. Santa Gertrudis cattle are dark red in color and can be horned or polled. Santa Gertrudis cattle are a desirable breed because of their overall hardiness. This breed adapts to adverse conditions and is productive in hot climates. Santa Gertrudis cattle also possess many desirable maternal characteristics.

There are approximately 250 breeds* of cattle recognized throughout the world, and several hundred breeds that are not currently recognized. More than eighty recognized breeds of beef cattle are available to producers in the United States. However, an exact count is difficult to obtain because other breeds continue to be imported and crossing existing breeds continuously creates new breeds. A breed is a group of animals of common descent and possessing distinctive characteristics that distinguish them from other groups within the same species. These groups are referred to as purebreds. The term purebred refers to the purity of ancestry and implies that there is genetic uniformity of all characteristics.

Santa Gertrudis
Santa Gertrudis Cattle
 Knowledge of breed characteristics is important to beef producers in purebred and crossbreeding programs. Crossbreeding is considered to be the most efficient means of commercial production, but highly productive purebreds are the backbone of successful commercial crossbreeding programs. Crossbreeding programs use breeds that possess complimentary characteristics to produce desirable offspring. The major characteristics that are important in beef production include mature body size, milk production, age at puberty, environmental adaptability, rate and efficiency of gain, muscle expression, cutability, and marbling.

Santa Gertrudis Bulls
The major characteristics differ in relative economic importance, especially when considering different
phases of the production system. Reproduction traits such as milk production and age at puberty are the
primary concern of a cow-calf producer, while efficiency of gain, rate of gain and carcass traits are most
important to stocker and feeder operations. Two characteristics that have a marked effect on most production
traits are mature body size and milk production. Other indicators that may be important are muscle
expression and age at puberty.


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