Santa Gertrudis cattle
are a tropical beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...
breed of cattle developed in southern Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...
on the King Ranch
King Ranch, located in south Texas between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, is one of the world's largest ranches. The ranch, founded in 1853 by Captain Richard King and Gideon K. Lewis, includes portions of six Texas counties, including most of Kleberg County and much of Kenedy County, with...
. 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
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...
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
The Beef Shorthorn breed of cattle was developed from the Shorthorn breed in England and Scotland in around 1820. The Shorthorn was originally developed as a dual purpose breed, suitable for both dairy and beef production. However different breeders opted to concentrate on one purpose rather than...
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 .
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 colour, 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
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
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
Cattle station is an Australian term for a large farm , whose main activity is the rearing of cattle. In Australia, the owner of a cattle station is called a grazier...
raises Santa Gertrudis.
There are 11,500 registered in the United States.
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.