The tropics is quite a harsh environment. Although the temperature is generally consistent throughout the year, the humidity fluctuates significantly. This causes heat stress on the animals and can lower productivity.
The way we mitigate these possible losses is by choosing the right cattle for the environment.
There are two main types of cattle and both have very different traits, Bos Taurus (European cattle) and Bos Indicus (Asian cattle).
Bos Indicus are highly adapted to tropical climates whereas Bos Taurus do not fair very well, they suffer from excessive heat stress.
Bos Taurus are more placid, handled easier and provide higher quality meat due to extensive breeding techniques that date back hundreds of years.
By combining the two we get animals that are very well adapted to the tropics that can handle the heat and the humidity and also produce high quality beef without being difficult to manage. This is what is know as crossbreeding.
– Heterosis (hybrid vigor)
– Hardiness (Stronger immune system)
– Feed Efficiency
Research has shown that part of the reason crossbred animals are hardier than purebreds is due to a stronger immune system. They develop better immunity when vaccinated.
Weaning weights for crossbred calves produced from parents of two different breeds are generally about 5 percent higher than those of straight bred calves. This translates into stronger, healthier animals.
Research has also shown that a crossbred cow is 8 percent more efficient (more performance on less feed). A crossbred animal can reach its target weight faster.
Crossbred animals are much easier to handle, they have a higher tolerance for stress. This greatly reduces handling problems such as moving them from one paddock to another and also handling them in the corral.
The breeds we use on our farms are:
Senepol (Red Poll x Zebu)
Brahman (Gyr x Guzerat x Nelore)
Santa Gertrudis (Brahman x Shorthorn)
Simbrah (Simmental x Brahman)
Brangus (Brahman x Angus)
Beefmaster (Hereford x Nelore)
Every crossbreed has its own traits but at the end of the day they all produce high quality meat on a pasture raised diet. So preferring one breed over another is personal preference.
That is just my opinion, obviously cattle breeders would beg to differ and probably want to get into a fight about which breed is better.