The Breed - Why Brahman
1.Genetically Versatile The Valuable Characteristics
The following traits illustrate the versatility of the Brahman`s genetic make-up. Consider these aspects carefully, and you will realize what one could achieve by using this breed judiciously.
2. Adaptable and Hardy
Ever since coming to Namibia, more than 50 years ago, Brahman cattle have made themselves at home under the prevailing cattle ranching conditions. That they are still here, and flourishing attests to their powers of adaption in an extensive and often harsh environment. The breed is known for its longevity as well it is not strange to come upon cows still producing at 15 years of age and sometimes even longer.
3. Hybrid vigour impacts on the growth of weaners and steers!
In the first cross,i.e., Brahman X Any other Breed of cow, the growth, vitality and sturdiness of the F1 propeny strike one immediately! They have smooth coats, adapt quickly, and if their mothers have good milk, they will turn the scale at weaning time.
By 18 months to two years, crossbred steers will have grown into strong, robust individuals, rounding off well on the veld. Now they are ready for marketing this is the payoff, because these steers weigh!! At 2 to 2 years, Brahman steers can still attain an A+ grade, because they shed their milk teeth a little later than other breeds, thereby qualifying for a premium. Of all the Namibian beef, exported to markets in South Africa and the European Union, 70% comes from veld-reared Brahman crossbred cattle.
One could also market the F1 and/or F2 heifer progeny for slaughter. However they are so pretty that most commercial producers usually do not have the heart to do this. They keep the best ones for breeding, knowing that these good looking crossbred heifers have the makings of great cows.
High class F1 and F2 Brahman crossbred cows, are outstanding females that really brought the Brahman?s message of hybrid vigour home to Namibian Producers. Roomy, adapted, functional cows they play a key role in the production of beef in this country.
4. Crossbreeding Plans
Good results accrue from using purebred Brahman bulls on European or British breed (Bos Taurus) cows. Or conversely, European or Bristish breed bulls on pure Brahman, Brahman F1 or F2 (Bos Indicus) cows. The hybrid vigour delivered from the Brahman component, will bring forth excellent growth in the crossbred calves, helped along considerably by superior mothering abilities of the Bos Indicus type dams.
Some ranchers believe that in order to manage successfully in Namibias dry and extensive conditions, their cow herds need a greater percentage of Bos Indicus characteristics, to ensure a higher degree of adaptability. They would then use Brahman bulls on Brahman F1 or F2 cows.
5. Resistance to ticks and disease
They have an oily skin texture, a short hair coat, and the ability to jerk their hides when they feel irritations on their bodies. This all helps in making the Brahman and its crossbreeds remarkably resistant to ticks and other biting insects. A capability that probably also accounts to a large extent, for their being able to withstand diseases as well.
6. Heat Tolerance
Brahmans have a large hide are, a higher density of sweat glands per sq. cm of hide, and a low respiratory rate. This all appears to contribute to the Brahman`s high level of heat tolerance. On the hottest days, one can find them resting in the full sun, without any signs of stress. This is of great importance in a country like Namibia.
7. Excellent Mothers
Brahman cows are well known for their mothering abilities. Many breeders and producers will attest to the extreme lengths to which they will go, in protecting their calves.
Don`t fool around with a Brahman cow that has a small calf at foot this is inviting trouble! This behavior is not indicative of bad temperament; its all part of adaptation.
8. Avid Foragers
Brahman will not stand at the gate waiting for hand outs! Once in their camps they forage actively and make the best use of the available grazing.
9. Good Walkers
Due to their efficient mobility, Brahmans can cover great distances in search of grazing. This is a huge plus factor in dry extensive regions. In times of drought when it becomes necessary to move cattle over long distances, breeders have reported in amazement at the Brahmans ability to walk.
10. Drought Resistance
When times of drought come around, Brahman cattle have repeatedly shown a marked resistance to hostile changes that then occur in the environment. Breeders and producers have repeatedly expressed open admiration for this strange phenomenon that the breed possesses.
11. Brahman`s are intelligent
Astute cattle breeders have all noticed the extraordinary level of intelligence that Brahman cattle exhibit. They cleverly turn this to their advantage, when handling their animals. Sensible use of this characteristic, can be a great help. Those who do not realize this, usually experience trouble when working their cattle. Never think that Brahmans are Bone-heads; keep an eye on them and see what they can do.
12. Brahman Temperament
Much has been written and spoken about the temperament of Brahman cattle. Suffice to say that the behavior of a herd of cattle, in most cases reflects the attitude of its owner. Stay away from irascible, ill-tempered individuals they belong in the slaughterhouse anyway! Handle Brahmans gently and with patience remember, if you treat them well, they will treat you well! Good temperament in Brahman is up to us not to them!