Beefmaster Cattle: Guide, Info & Facts

Excellent for new farmers, Beefmaster cattle are in wide use in several countries, and has been proven to produce quality cuts, exceptional milk, and a gorgeous hide. They are approximately 50% Brahman, 25% Hereford and 25% Shorthorn.

Beefmaster Cattle are a dual-purpose American composite breed that was specifically bred to be a high performer and has been given the moniker “The Profit Breed”.

Where Does Beefmaster Cattle Come From?

In 1908, Ed Lasater, a cattleman, began a composite program in South Texas to produce a dual-purpose cattle breed that was suited for commercial use as both a meat and milking breed. Profitability was the cornerstone of what he set out to achieve.

Yet, it ultimately was his son Tom Lasater who refined the Beefmaster breed and is credited with its creation.

Tom listed out six essential traits that he believed are required in order for beef production to be profitable for ranchers:

  • Weight
  • Conformation
  • Hardiness
  • Disposition
  • Fertility
  • Milk production

His Beefmaster cattle met the requirements for all six.

It is believed that three main types of cattle were combined to create Beefmaster cattle, including Brahman cattle, Hereford cattle, and Shorthorn cattle. Other breeds were introduced briefly at different times including Gir and Nelore in the early days of the program, and Guzerat, which Lasater added in 1952.

While the exact percentages aren’t known, most people believe that the Beefmaster breed gets roughly half of its genetics from Brahman cattle, and the remaining 50% is split evenly between Hereford and Shorthorn cattle.

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Using the best examples of each breed guarantees heterosis when crossbred, which can be seen in other composite breeds such as the Brangus (half Angus and half Brahman) which is well known for highly vigorous calves.

Beefmaster cattle were recognized as a breed by the USDA in 1954. They have gone on to be one of the most widely used American cattle in the United States, and have been exported to South Africa, Brazil, and other countries.

Four different breed associations exist for Beefmaster Cattle:

Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU)

Western States Beefmaster Breeders Association

The Beefmaster Cowman

National Cattleman’s Beef Association

Beefmaster Cattle Breed Characteristics

Official Breed NameBeefmaster Cattle
Scientific NameBos taurus indicus
OriginUnited States
AppearanceWell-muscled, polled breed with excellent conformation
A rich reddish-brown colored coat that is usually solid in color
May have light or white mottling on their faces
Known for thick necks and legs, and tight dewlap
Calf Weight77lbs
Mature Cow Weight1760lbs
Mature Bull Weight2600lbs
Ready To Breed13 to 15 months
Gestation Period279 to 287 days
First CalvingsAround 2 years
Time to Slaughter12 to 18 months
Carcass Weight632lbs
Expected Lifespan11 years
Known ForHighly profitable beef cattle
Milk production
Leather goods
WeaknessesLack of color uniformity
Pendulous sheaths
ClimateAdaptable to both cold and hot climates
beefmaster cattle standing on grass and eating

What Is So Special About Beefmaster Cattle?

Beefmaster cattle are a true American dual-purpose breed that were bred for qualities of temperament and productive value rather than color or size.

One of the most well-known beef breeds in America, Beefmaster cattle are known for high-quality carcass traits with lean meat that is full of flavor and marbling.

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Beefmaster hot carcass weight averages 632lbs and has a ribeye area of 11.51 square inches. The Warner-Bratzler Shear Force average for the Beefmaster breed is 7.47.

Roughly 72% of Beefmaster carcasses grade as Prime or Choice. Yield Grades of 1 or 2 are given on approximately half of all cuts.

Beef is the number one use for Beefmaster cattle, though milk productivity is the second most important trait of all six essentials according to Tom Lasater.

Beefmaster cows produce 1 to 1 and a half gallons of milk per day. This milk is suited for drinking, cheesemaking, and use in other dairy products, yet it is most often used strictly for growing calves quickly.

Cows produce a heavy calf each year and are able to fully support growth and development through the rich milk she provides.

Why Should I Raise Beefmaster Cattle On My Farm?

  • Great breed for novice farmers for ease of management
  • Beefmaster cows make excellent mothers
  • A reasonable birth weight allows for easy calving
  • Beefmaster calves have a higher weaning weight than other beef breeds at an average of 520lbs
  • No known health issues and high disease and insect resistance
  • Beefmaster cattle rarely get pink-eye
  • Docile temperament that is easy to handle
  • Can handle a wide range of climates and environments but do exceptionally well in hot climates due to bos indicus blood
  • Beefmaster cattle have desirable skin that is widely used in the leather industry
  • Beefmaster bulls used in crossbreeding add growth and efficiency throughout production increasing profitability
  • Calves are high-performing, vigorous, and gain weight readily
  • Beefmaster cows lower costs due to less input at cow/calf level of production
  • Steers put on weight easily, with the average yearling weight being 866lbs

Christina Pichler

A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for cows owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of cows, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Cow Care Taker in 2022.

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