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The Brahman or Brahma is a breed of Zebu cattle (Bos primigenius indicus) that was first bred in America from cattle breeds imported from India. Brahma cattle were produced by cross-breeding Kankrej, Gujarat, Ongole, and the Gir (or Gyr) strains. The Brahman is one of the most popular breeds of cattle intended for meat processing and is widely used in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, United States, Colombia and Australia among many other places.
The American Brahman was the first beef cattle breed developed in the United States. It was bred in the early 1900s as a cross of four different Indian cattle breeds: Gyr, Gujarat, Nelore and Krishna Valley. The original American Brahman cattle originated from a nucleus of approximately 266 bulls and 22 females of several Bos indicus (cattle of India) varieties imported into the United States between 1854 and 1926.
The Brahman is mainly used for breeding and the meat industry. It has been crossbred extensively with Bos taurus (European) beef breeds of cattle. It has been used to develop numerous other U.S. beef breeds including Brangus, Beefmaster, Simbrah and Santa Gertrudis.
Brahman cattle are known for their extreme tolerance to heat and are widespread in tropical regions. They are resistant to insects due to their thick skin. Brahman cattle live longer than many other breeds, often producing calves at ages 15 and older.
In Oman and Fujairah, Brahman bulls are used in the traditional sport of bull-butting. It involves two of these bulls engaging in a ferocious round of headbutts. The first one to collapse or concede its ground is deemed the loser. Brahman bulls being readied for this sport are kept on a special diet of milk and honey for gaining superior strength.
The American Brahman Breeders Association was formed in 1924 as the official herd registry to track and verify cattle bloodlines. This organization is now headquartered in Houston, Texas. The name "Brahman" was created by the American Brahman Breeder's Association first secretary, Mr. J. W. Sartwelle. The first president of the Brahman Association was Mr. Linton "L.S." Harris of Kissimmee, Florida.
Some of the Brahman bulls in a paddock, Tipperary Station, Northern Territory, Australia
Heat Tolerance. Studies at the University of Missouri found that Brahman and European cattle thrive equally well at temperatures down to 8°F. They found that European cattle begin to suffer adversely as the air temperature goes above 70°F, showing an increase in body temperature and a decline in appetite and milk production as 75°F, is passed. Brahmans, on the other hand, show little effect from temperatures up to and beyond 105°F. Although heat tolerance is only one factor in environmental adaptation of cattle, it is considered the most important. These are some of the other factors that allow Brahmans to adapt to adverse conditions.
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