From the Desk of the ABBA Executive Vice President

I am very pleased to have been asked to lead the American Brahman Breeders Brahman breed; Brahman is the oldest US breed in the world that has been selected and bred for tropical beef production.

The Brahman breed association exists to ensure the genetic integrity of the Brahman breed though the registry and to promote the Brahman breed, both are important functions and have many facets. Registration papers not only document the familial history with the three-generation pedigree but also the animal’s genetic merit. Only purebred livestock registries offer this service, what else can you purchase that provides the type of genetic information that a registration paper offers you as an owner?

The second responsibility of your Brahman breed association is to promote your Brahman purebred cattle. I wrote “promote”, not sell. Promotion of your breed occurs by having an open and visible association office and webpage, creating brochures and producing newsletters and magazine, supporting shows and performance tests, sponsoring educational booths at educational cattle events, and interacting with universities and supporting research, etc. The Brahman breed is unique in that these promotional activities are conducted not just domestically but all around the world. The Brahman breed has all the genetic attributes that every other breed wants and needs for them to be as successful in the hot and humid tropical and subtropical environments of the US and around the world.

The ability to maintain and regulate a stable body temperature in hot, humid environments is not just a function of slick (and shiny) hair and a large number of bigger sebaceous (sweat) glands but also a more intricate vascular system that dissipates heat by circulating heated blood to be cooled nearer the skin surface.

Hot and humid climates produce coarser forages that are lower in digestibility, protein, and many minerals. Those warm season grasses have higher levels of structural carbohydrates that reduce the digestibility and lower the protein level. Often those climates have higher amounts of rainfall that reduce the mineral content in the soil. Brahman cattle were selected and bred under those conditions and as a result, Brahman cattle are about 10 percent more efficient in energy utilization than non-Brahman breeds, in part due to slightly longer periods of digestion (and absorption of those digested nutrients). Slightly longer digestion periods are beneficial when forage quality is low, it allows the microbes in the rumen more time to digest the coarser material. Brahman cattle are also better at storing some minerals, conserving them for when they are needed such as copper, zinc and selenium.

When I was a student at Texas A&M, I wrote (literally because I can’t type) a paper on Shorthorn cattle. In my research I found that it was said that in the 18th and 19th centuries “the sun never set on Shorthorn cattle” because they were part of the English influence around the world. I am sure that is no longer true of that breed but it is certainly true of the Brahman breed in the 21st century!

The Brahman breed is a unique genetic resource that has solid foundation, both in it’s cattle and it’s members. I am sure that many of you know me but if you don’t I hope to meet you soon. My door will always be open.

Joe Paschal