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13 Best Beef Cattle Breeds

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Deciding which breed of cattle to raise can be a daunting task. You may have been considering beef cattle for years and have a plan about where to start, or you may be just starting out in the field of agriculture and in need of a bit of information. Either way, there is an abundance of information that you can find to help give you that confidence in your decision.

The best beef cattle breeds have a long history of being raised for beef production. They have desirable characteristics such as fast growth and high fertility. However, there is no single breed that fits all the criteria. A careful selection of beef cattle breeds will ensure you get a breed that gives you maximum benefits.

How To Select Best Beef Cattle Breeds

When you are looking for a beef breed, you should choose a breed based on its performance in three areas:

  • Ease of calving
  • Carcass quality
  • Feed efficiency

The term “beef cattle” refers to the breeds of cattle raised for their meat. The beef industry is one of the largest industries in the world, with millions of beef cattle getting slaughtered each year.

When selecting a quality beef breed, you should keep in mind that not every bull will fit your perfect production scenario because each bull has different needs and resources.

However, you should consider their growth rate, feed efficiency, body measurements, longevity, and carcass merit when selecting a cattle beef breed. Weather-hardy animals can do well in places where there is extreme temperature.

Below are some of the best cattle breeds you can consider when looking to purchase some beef cattle to add to your herd.

curious black cows

1. Aberdeen Angus

Aberdeen Angus is predominantly black in color, although you can still find red Angus. This breed is resistant to harsh weather, is adaptable, undemanding, matures early compared to other breeds, and has a high carcass yield.

Angus is also used to improve carcass quality in other breeds.

2. Hereford Cattle

The Hereford Cattle are dark red to red-yellow in color and have a white color running from their face to their underline. The Hereford Cattle also have white markings below their knees.

Mature male Hereford cattle weigh up to 1800 pounds. Mature female Hereford weighs 1,200 pounds. They are well developed in places considered valuable cuts (back, loin, and hindquarters).

3. Charolais

They are the oldest french cattle breed. They are white or creamy white in color and were developed in central France from the Charolles district. They are among the finest beef cattle in the world. Their beef quality is excellent and is mostly used in improving other cattle breeds.

Charolais can withstand extreme weather and graze pastures that other cattle breeds don’t feed on efficiently. They are bred for their meat.

brown cow

4. Piedmontese Cattle

The Piedmontese cattle breed produces flavorful and tender meat that makes them a beloved beef cattle breed. They originate from the Piedmont region in northwest Italy.

They are prized for their excellent muscle mass, and their muscle fibers are tender. Piedmontese cattle produce meat with fewer calories, high protein per ounce, and less fat.

5. Beefmaster

The Beefmaster is a dual-purpose breed that is resistant to drought, heat, and insects. They are light red to dark red and are moderate in size, and the bulls are aggressive breeders.

Beefmaster cattle are known to have a high growth rate, good maternal qualities, and they can efficiently convert feed into meat. These factors make them an ideal choice for both large-scale commercial purposes as well as small-scale farming.

This breed was developed in the early 1930s by Tom Lasater from crossing Hereford cows and Shorthorn cows with Brahman bulls.

The Beefmaster mixture is thought to be about 25% Hereford, 25% Milking Shorthorn, and 50% Brahman. It is sometimes called Brahman Beefmaster.

aubrac cattle outdoors

6. Aubrac

The Aubrac beef breed is from Southern France from the Plateu de l’Aubrac Massif. An adult Aubrac weighs 2000-2600 pounds. It has a wheat-colored coat in varying shades. The skin on their shoulders and the croup are dark-colored. They are medium framed with well built muscles and are sturdy.

This breed is extremely fertile, has notable longevity, and is a very hardy cattle breed. The Aubrac beef breed has naturally marbled, well-built, tender meat, making it a favorite among large-scale and small-scale beef industries.

7. Drakensberger

Drakensberger is hardy and adapts well to local conditions. They produce tasty meat that even the famous Vasco da Gama loved. Their meat is tender and succulent, and they have low mortality.

They are indigenous to South Africa and weigh anywhere from 1800-2400 pounds. They have a smooth coat. They adapt well to all conditions, and have long productive years of 14 years and more.

8. Caracu

Caracu is a dual-purpose cattle breed that is adaptable and hardy. This breed was created in Brazil. They are medium to large breeds with a short coat. They are light tan to beige in color.

They are resistant to parasites and diseases and can easily digest coarse fiber.

brown limousin cattle

9. Limousin

Limousin is a french breed from the Limousin and Marche regions of France. The beef from Limousins is highly sought after.

A limousin’s carcass can have up to 80% meat yield. The meat has good marbling quality, is tasty, and is tender. Their meat has lower fat content with less calories and less saturated fat.

10. Turano-Mongolian

The Turano-Mongolian beef breed is native to China. It is a hardy breed and can handle freezing weather exceptionally well. This breed is small to medium-size with a reddish-brown color, and some may be black. They have thick skin and hair and have lamps and dewlaps.

They possess a sturdy bone structure and are kept for their milk and meat. The bulls weigh between 1100-1300 pounds, while the female weighs between 600 and 900 pounds.

11. Simmental cattle

The Simmental cattle breed is a cross between large German cattle breeds and smaller cattle breeds indigenous to Switzerland. Their name is derived from the area where they were first bred (Simme Valley).

The Simmental is a good beef breed with good growth and a large build. They produce good quality meat with excellent marbling. Simmental cattle breeds are also an excellent choice for cross-breeding.

woman feeding two brown cows on a farm

12. Gelbvieh

Gelbvieh is a cattle breed from the Franconian district of Bavaria, Germany.  It was developed in the mid-eighteenth century and kept for its milk, meat, and work. They were initially called red-yellow Franconial cattle.

Gelbvieh is primarily kept for their meat. They have a high rate of gain and feed efficiency and adapt well to different climate conditions.

Their meat is high-quality and tender due to their high growth rate. They produce great carcasses when crossbred with British breeds.

13. Shorthorn

Shorthorn cattle breeds come in red, roan and white. They produce high-quality meat with excellent marbling and tenderness.

They also have an excellent gain rate with a good feed conversion capacity. They are sometimes horned or polled and are bigger. They grow quickly and efficiently.

Final Thoughts

When choosing the best cattle beef breed, it all depends on what you are looking for in terms of meat quality, carcass weight, market demand, and cost.

The cattle beef breed that you select for farming will depend on the objectives and the conditions of you, your farm, and the demands of the consumers.