Breeding Up to Brafords



In the UBB, a Purebred Braford is 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Hereford. Although an overwhelming majority of UBB Brafords are 3/8-5/8 Purebreds, UBB members recognize that no one combination of Brahman and Hereford will meet the requirements of all producers utilizing Brafords. Therefore, breeders are allowed to vary the relative proportion of the component breeds to best fit their needs and those of their seedstock-buying customers; even if the resulting cattle are not Purebred Brafords. Breeders of Purebred Brafords are allowed a small amount (5%) of flexibility to fine tune the percentage of their Brafords to help them better adapt to production needs. Similarly, the UBB does not sanction an inspection or classification program that dictates selection priorities of members breeding Brafords. While the association provides unlimited support for breeders desiring to breed superior, functional Brafords, it also recognizes that the breeders themselves must decide what their selection priorities must be to stay in step with their production environment and the market demands of their customers.

Today, sufficient numbers of registered Brafords are available to allow a breeder to purchase proven Braford Purebred seedstock on which to establish a herd of registered Brafords. Additionally, two fundamental alternatives are available for Braford breeders who prefer to breed up to multiple generation Purebred Brafords. Breeders can exploit superior Brahman and Hereford genetics to develop new lines of Brafords independent of the existing Braford population. Alternatively, breeders can take advantage of existing Purebred Brafords and grade up to Purebreds from a base of Brahman X Hereford cattle with known pedigrees and percentages.

As stated above, Purebred Brafords are 3/8 Brahman-5/8 Hereford or within 5% of this combination. One can recognize the registration certificate of a Purebred Braford since the class field will indicate that the animal is a “BRAFORD BULL” or “BRAFORD COW”. On the certificate of a percentage or base Braford, the class field will state the Brahman and Hereford makeup of the animal as in 1/2 BRAHMAN-1/2 HEREFORD COW. Sanctioned Braford shows require that the animals be Purebred Brafords (Braford on the class line) although some shows exist for percentage or base (Louisiana) Brafords.

Brafords have always been recognized for their superior maternal ability. Early puberty, fertility, calving ease, optimum milk production, maternal aptitude and productive longevity are attributes that have earned Braford females this distinguished reputation. Using Braford bulls on adapted purebred or crossbred cows allows cowmen to produce excellent replacement females with the Braford maternal edge.

Breeding combinations to produce purebred Brafords

Research on Brahman and Hereford crossing was conducted throughout the twentieth century and it continues today. Most of this research has concentrated on F-1 Braford cows that have been proven maternally superior in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Nebraska and virtually everywhere they have been evaluated, including Canada. However, an F-1 Braford cow cannot produce another F-1 Braford. Therefore, the greatest obstacle to using F-1 Braford cows is the difficulty of procuring a consistent supply of quality replacement heifers at reasonable prices. Continuous crossbreeding programs involving Brahmans and Herefords can produce Braford-type replacements. But, the inability to maintain uniform and consistent breed composition, and the problem of the breed composition extremes observed by Lush, have limited the usefulness of Brahman-Hereford rotational crossbreeding.

While some try to attribute the superiority of F-1 Braford females to maximum hybrid vigor, there is little doubt that the blending of desirable Brahman and Hereford characteristics makes the Braford females extraordinary. Hybrid vigor is transient, that is to say it is continually diminished as you get farther away from the F-1. Braford breeders begin with top Brahman and Hereford genetics and they maintain and enhance Braford superiority with generation after generation of selection for productivity. UBB Braford females, as well as replacements out of your adapted females and sired by UBB Braford bulls, offer a sensible solution to the “breed or buy” replacement female dilemma.
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