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Santa Gertrudis

The founders and management of King Ranch have always had the vision of developing hardy, heat tolerant breeds of cattle that could also produce beef of superior quality.

photo_santa_gertrudisOver the course of many years, devoting many resources to the project, King Ranch, under the leadership of Robert Kleberg Jr. and Dick Kleberg, were able to develop the Santa Gertrudis breed.

This breed is recognized worldwide as being able to function productively in hot, humid and unfavorable environments. In order to accomplish this goal, King Ranch breeding experts selectively crossed Indian Brahman cattle with British Shorthorns to develop an animal which is recognized as being 5/8ths shorthorn and 3/8ths Brahman. In 1920, many years of experimentation culminated with the birth of Monkey, a deep red bull calf. Monkey became the foundation sire for not just a superior line of cattle, but for an entirely new breed. In 1940, the Santa Gertrudis breed was recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the first beef breed developed in the United States; it was also the first breed developed anywhere in the world in more than a century.

An early decision to linebreed Santa Gertrudis cattle resulted in much more uniformity than in any of the other American breeds.

As a result of this early practice of linebreeding, Santa Gertrudis are especially adapted to crossbreeding. When ranchers and breeders use Santa Gertrudis cattle in crossbreeding programs, the resulting crosses yield high levels of hybrid vigor. Cattlemen who have used Santa Gertrudis cross females generally consider them exceptional animals.

Today, the Santa Gertrudis thrives in harsh ranching climates all over the world, and is the most prevalent breed of cattle in Australia. The development of the Santa Gertrudis breed is a testament to the vision and persistence that have characterized King Ranch’s operations from the very beginning.