As a meat enthusiast or livestock farmer, you’re likely aware of ‘Angus’, particularly Black Angus, known worldwide for premium beef. However, there are other black cattle breeds with equally high-quality meat. In our blog post, we explore the top five black cattle breeds celebrated for their outstanding beef.
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1. Black Angus Cattle
Originating from the counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus in Scotland, Black Angus is one of the most popular beef cattle breeds around the world. These medium-sized, solidly built bovines are renowned for their deep black coat, although a red variant also exists. The Black Angus breed has been favored due to its hardiness and ability to adapt to various weather conditions.
Black Angus beef is prized for its marbling, which enhances juiciness, flavor, and tenderness, making it a favorite for upscale dining and meat sellers. Its efficient feed conversion results in quicker growth, further boosting its commercial demand.
2. Aberdeen Angus Cattle
It’s important to note that the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed is essentially the same as the Black Angus. The term ‘Aberdeen Angus‘ is often used in the United Kingdom and Europe, whereas in the U.S., the term ‘Black Angus’ is more commonly used. This breed is naturally polled (without horns) and has a strong, muscular body structure, which contributes to a high yield of meat per animal.
Angus beef is favored in the beef industry not only for its taste and texture but also for its hardy nature and easy management by farmers. These cattle have high survival rates and often don’t require assistance at birth. Their ability to thrive in diverse climates and pastures makes them a top choice for farmers in many areas. The dependable quality of Angus beef consistently satisfies consumers, contributing to its strong market demand.
3. Black Hereford Cattle
As a derivative of the traditional Hereford breed, Black Hereford cattle have been selectively bred to retain the favorable traits of the Hereford while introducing the solid black coat of the Angus. These medium-to-large size cattle are known for their distinctive white face contrasted with a smooth black body. Renowned for their superior feed efficiency, Black Herefords have become an increasingly popular choice for commercial beef production.
Black Hereford cattle produce a high-quality beef product with excellent marbling, contributing to a succulent and flavorful dining experience. The breed’s commendable feed efficiency and growth rate also mean that farmers can produce a substantial amount of high-quality meat in a relatively short timeframe. This combination of efficient meat production and superior eating quality has led to the growing popularity of Black Hereford beef within the commercial beef industry.
4. Black Simmental Cattle
The Simmental, an ancient and globally prevalent cattle breed, hails from Switzerland’s Simme Valley. Black Simmentals, recognized by their large stature and distinctive black hide, embody the breed’s hallmark robustness, high productivity, and adaptability. Their gentle temperament and superior maternal instincts endear them to breeders.
Black Simmentals are prized for their substantial meat production due to their big, muscular frames, resulting in high carcass weights and more meat per animal. Their beef boasts a fine texture and desirable marbling, improving taste and tenderness. With rapid weight gain, they reach market weights quickly, making them an economically beneficial choice for beef farmers.
5. Black Gelbvieh Cattle
Originating from Germany, the Gelbvieh breed (pronounced ‘Gelp-fee’) was initially established as a triple-purpose breed, serving for milk, meat, and draught work. The Black Gelbvieh is a variant that combines the productive traits of the original breed with a solid black coat. These cattle are medium to large, and known for their muscularity and overall balance.
The Gelbvieh breed excels in terms of carcass yield, producing a high percentage of saleable meat relative to live weight. Black Gelbvieh cattle, in particular, are known for their lean, well-marbled beef that delivers a great eating experience. The breed’s high fertility rates and calving ease further enhance its appeal for commercial beef production, offering an efficient and profitable option for farmers and ranchers.
As NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen explains in the video
NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen
- Gelbvieh cattle originated in Germany and were first imported to the US in the 1970s when the American Gelbvieh Association was founded.
- Gelbvieh are known for traits like superior growth, fertility, cow longevity and carcass weights.
- Balancer cattle are a cross between Gelbvieh and Angus, bringing together the best maternal traits of Gelbvieh with qualities like marbling from Angus genetics.
- Heterosis or hybrid vigor from crossbreeding allows for improved calf vitality, growth and environmental adaptability.
- Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle offer good hybrid vigor when crossed with British breeds.
- The maternal strengths of Gelbvieh females are highly valued, especially their fertility and longevity.
- Gelbvieh genetics bring more milk production potential compared to some other breeds.
- Commercial producers using Gelbvieh influence report very good feed to gain performance.
- Longevity is an overlooked but valuable trait where Gelbvieh females stand out over many other breeds.
- The American Gelbvieh Association provides marketing programs like Balancer Edge and Feeder Finder to help producers get premium prices.