The Brahman breed originated in the USA in the early 1800s where it was developed from the progeny of four Indian Zebu breeds. Some infusion of local British breed (Bos taurus) cattle also occurred during its development.
Early Brahman importations into Australia can be traced as far back as the turn of the century. However, it was not until 1933 that significant numbers were imported by a syndicate of Queensland cattlemen. Further importations from the USA were made from 1950 to 1954.
The Brahman has developed as a major beef breed in the tropical humid and subtropical dry areas, particularly in Queensland, north-eastern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the north coast of New South Wales.
Brahmans are characterised by a hump above the shoulders and a pronounced dewlap. The coat is short and can be light to dark grey, various shades of red, or black. They show typical Bos indicus characteristics of shielded eyes, loose folds of skin on the dewlap and prepuce, and droopy ears. Brahmans are intelligent, inquisitive and shy. The breed is medium in size with a tendency to later maturity, so carcases of young animals tend to be lean.
The Brahman is suitable for crossbreeding, giving excellent hybrid vigour in the progeny. It has been involved in the development of stabilised crossbreeds including Braford, Brangus, Droughtmaster, Charbray and Santa Gertrudis.
Further information can be obtained from the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association Ltd at:
PO Box 796
Rockhampton QLD 4700
Ph: (07) 4927 7799
Fax: (07) 4922 5805
The author thanks the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association for their assistance in preparing this Agfact.
Photographs: Courtesy of the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association.