| Advantages for selecting Brangus beef cattle for your next Youth Beef Cattle Show |
WHETHER YOU’RE NEW to the Youth Beef Cattle Show scene or just thinking about raising your first beef cattle, it’s important to consider your options. One of the first things you’ll learn about if you’re plugged into 4-H is how to “know your beef breeds.” If you’re like me, and you’ve been raised in a farming family, then chances are you already know a little bit about the different beef breeds and can identify at least a few.
A favorite pastime of mine from childhood was having our family Thanksgiving dinner out in the pasture. (This would, of course, involve shoveling the area after the herd was moved out!) There was always good food, good fun, and great communion with loved ones while we enjoyed being a part of God’s great earth! All the while, you could see the Brangus herd in the backdrop while we gathered around the fire, so I’m part-and-partial to the breed.
The Brangus was developed from Angus and Brahman cattle. “Why?” you ask. To utilize the superior traits of both, of course! The successful balance of genetics was found at about 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Angus, and so, the Brangus was born. What resulted was a beef breed that has several advantages, for both commercial ranches and for the newcomer youth interested in raising cattle for his or her next 4-H Beef Project. Brangus is typically black or red in color with a sleek coat and pigmented, loose skin (with folds at the neck). The ears can be medium to large in size, and the bulls have a moderate hump. Here are some basic benefits of the breed:
• They are resistant to heat and high humidity, which is a huge advantage to our hot (and at times, very unforgiving) Florida climate.
• They are hardy in cold climates, and although we don’t need to worry about that too much here, we still get a few freezing nights in January through March.
• The cows are good mothers (if you’re considering breeding).
• They are resistant to ticks and bloat.
• They are good foragers.
• There’s rapid weight gain, which is another benefit for a newcomer to the 4-H Beef Project.
• The carcass has less excessive fats than other breeds.
Other breeds you commonly find at a Youth Beef Cattle Show are Angus, Brahman, Santa Gertrudis, and Zebu. If you’d like to find out more information about Brangus, or any beef cattle breed, you should contact your local 4-H club. They can point you to more educational materials that will help you make the best decision. Visit www.florida4h.org to get started, or ask your ag program teacher at your local school.
article by JESSICA JOHNSON
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Johnson is a Polk County, Florida, native, and was raised amidst the citrus and ranching industries, with family on both sides deeply rooted in agriculture. She currently works at SIG Insurance in Winter Haven and enjoys establishing lasting relationships with her neighbors and clients. To contact Jessica, call (863) 738-0827 or email Jessica@sigprotects.com.