Brahman Meat Quality

Testing for Brahman Meat Quality at a laboratory is relatively new. This awareness started taking a hold with the inception of the BGP in 2015. Let’s be honest, Brahman has been laboring under the stigma of breeding tough meat forever.

Now, since the actual testing of meat samples for Meat Quality traits, a few things became clear.
1. Yes, we will have to improve meat quality in our Breed
2. But there are opportunities to select for good tenderness values
3. Of the test group below, 33.8% of the samples met at least Retail requirements.

The test group combines results for South Africa and Namibia, but our best South African candidate in this test group was DVB16200, with a Shear Force value of 3.3, which puts it well inside the requirement for Restaurant quality.

So, where does it come from….

In order to find the genetics to change the image of Brahman, we will need to test our animals to find the ones carrying the good qualities. Once an animal is found to carry good tenderness genes, it would be beneficial to genotype the parents (if available), as well as paternal and maternal siblings.

Seeing as your bull calf tested for meat tenderness has been slaughtered, he cannot be used in a breeding program. So, test his sire and dam, to see where the good tenderness comes from, and once a parent can be

Identified, test his brothers and sisters. In this case, sire Bos-Blanco Ele Loxacrata or dam Jachtpad Louise 06 611 individually or in combination may be the key to this calf’s Shear Force value.

Heritability of Meat Tenderness is stated as being medium to high, so genetic progress can be made relatively fast, but depending on factors like slaughter procedure, addition of growth stimulants, ageing, etc. It would probably be beneficial to Brahman meat quality if the use of the growth stimulant Zilmax could be avoided (refer results from Dr Philip Strydom, BGP results, July 2017).


“Every feedlot jumped at the opportunity to use Zilmax these days and some other less aggressive products while we know it affects quality in more than one way.” According to Dr Strydom.

Animals which were fed Zilmax (Zilpaterol), consistently yielded higher Shear Force values than animals where ES (electric stimulation) and aging were used.

From V8 Ranch (Texas, USA):

“Any true seedstock producer realizes that ultimately it is the commercial man who buys our product. And the commercial cattleman’s ultimate customer is the consumer. Raising better beef isn’t just a buzzword, it is something we put into practice every day of the year here at V8. We know there are people out there who say “Brahman cattle can’t grade” or other stereotypes like that. We know that to be false…and we know it because we have the actual data to prove it. As one of the largest suppliers of Brahman cattle to the commercial cattleman, we have made it our mission to share the results of our quest for carcass improvement. When you buy a bull from us, you’ll get his carcass ultrasound data. We also have actual harvest data from the largest number of purebred Brahman steers to go through the ABBA carcass evaluation program. We’re working hard to show the facts about the Brahman breed and we would love to share our findings with you.” – Posted on September 10, 2014 by V8

It starts with a decision – we have to decide that this is something that is worth pursuing, and then put action to our decision. 

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