Top 5 Beef Cattle Breeds

We''re all familiar with Angus, but what are the other top breeds of beef cattle?

1. Angus The Angus breed was first imported to Victoria, Kan., from Scotland in 1873, since becoming the most dominant beef cattle breed in the U.S. The American Angus Association claims that Angus and Angus-cross cattle make up more than 60 percent of our commercial cowherd. To qualify as Certified Angus Beef, animals must meet ten strict requirements, including hide color, marbling, and rib-eye size.

2. Hereford After the Texas Longhorn (and briefly the Durham), the Hereford became the dominant American beef breed. Originally imported from Herefordshire, England, in 1817 and spreading with settlers as they fenced off the American West, the Hereford became popular for its early maturity and efficiency. Hereford remained the dominant breed through the 1960s and remains influential in many crossbreeding programs.

3. Gelbvieh The Gelbvieh breed is one of the oldest German cattle breeds, first developed around 1850 in three Franconian districts of Bavaria. After World War II, Germany used a stringent selection program to repopulate its cowherd, using conformation, carcass quality, and milk production in the progeny-testing system. The breed was first imported to the U.S. in 1971 (when U.S. regulations were passed to allow for importation), which has approximately 45,000 active, registered Gelbvieh cows.

4. Limousin The Limousin breed is native to the old provinces of Limousin and Marche in central France. French breeders placed a great deal of emphasis on a deep chest, strong topline, well-placed tailhead, and strongly muscled hindquarters. The result was an efficient, hardy, and adaptable animal well suited for meat production. Imported here since 1971, the Limousin breed (muscle and efficiency) has been bred with the Angus breed (marbling and maternal traits) to create the popular Lim-Flex hybrid/cross.

5. Simmental Developed in the Swiss Canton of Berne, the Simmental was officially established in 1806 and first imported to the U.S. in 1971. Among all cattle breeds worldwide, this breed is second in numbers only to Brahman. The American Simmental produces the outstanding performance and productivity thanks to expansive within-breed blending.