Braford Cattle Facts, Profile, and Characteristics

Braford Cattle Facts, Profile, and Characteristics

Introduction to Braford Cattle Breed Profile:

Well, today let us talk about the popular Australian Braford Cattle Breed. 

The Braford breed is a cross between a Hereford bull and a Brahman cow. Conversely, it can also be a cross between a Brahman breed bull and a Hereford cow. The Braford is a highly adaptable beef breed with good disease resistance. The Braford breed was created to provide a consistent and efficient product for beef production. The makeup of the Braford breed is 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Hereford. Even though a true Braford breed meets those standards, 1/2 Brahman and 1/2 Hereford cross are known as F1 Brafords or F1 Baldies. They carry the characteristics of both the parents. The Braford is red color like a Hereford with white underbelly, head, and feet. It is stockier than a Hereford, though, getting the stockiness from the Brahman breed. The combination of Hereford breed and Brahman genes enables this synthetic breed to adapt, thrive and breed in a variety of environments from extreme heat to extreme cold. ​Braford breed is a medium-framed beef breed that can even thrive on low-quality veld and wean calves at an average of 45% to 50% of the cow’s weight. Average birth weights are between 30 and 36kg and weaning weights are between 200kg and 270kg.

Picture source:  Wikimedia Commons.

History of Braford Cattle Breed:

This breed was first done by Partin and Hudgins breeding, Alto Adams Jr. in Florida, 1947. It took a few attempts to get the exact genetics as the first bulls suffered with poor feet and eyes and were not used to the Florida climate. They began experimenting with different types of Brahman-Hereford cross bulls. Eventually he identified Braford breed bulls that were producing calves that met his needs and he used these bulls and their offspring to form what is recognized as the Foundation Herd of the Braford breed in the US. By basing bull selection on weaning and yearling weights and allowing natural selection to remove calving problems, Adams Ranch Brafords improved through the years to the point that Adams Ranch began to think about cattle breed development and recognition.

There is also a divide blood line in Australia. The Australian Braford breed was developed in Queensland in between 1946 and 1952. It is now a stabilized breed with approximately 50 percent Hereford breed and 50 percent Brahman genetic background.

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Typical breed Characteristics of Braford Cattle:

The Braford breed is primarily used for beef, but sometimes used for rodeo. Brafords are identified for superior maternal ability. Early puberty, good fertility, calving ease, optimum milk production, maternal aptitude and productive longevity have earned Brafords this distinguished reputation. Braford breed also has heat and insect resistance because of a chemical in their blood; this also makes them ornery by nature. They do most excellent in warm climates. Brafords breed has always been recognized for their superior maternal ability. Using Braford breed bulls on adapting purebred or crossbred cows allows cowmen to produce excellent replacement females with the Braford maternal edge.

Breed profile:

Breed Name  Braford
Breed Purpose                   Mainly Meat
Breed Size  Medium to large
Weight  Bulls:   Around 900-1000 kg
Weight     Cows:  Around 550-750 kg
Climate Tolerance  Native climates
Coat Color  Mainly red with white markings
Milk Yield  Poor
Country/Place of Origin  Australia.

The breed has a smooth, sleek coat, basically red color and white in color. In cool climates, their coats tend to be thicker in winter season. Whilst a variation in the degree of the red occurs and is acceptable, the markings are similar to that of a Hereford and Poll Hereford; hence the Braford breed is an ideal animal for crossbreeding with Herefords and Poll Herefords, as color troubles are not experienced with the progeny. Some degree of Brahman breed inheritance is evident in their appearance, the breed having a hump, a low-set puzzle, a loose dewlap and droopy ears.

Brafords breed has hooded eyes and good pigmentation around the eyes, providing protection and resistance to eye cancer, pink eye and blight. Brafords cattle are heat-tolerant and relatively ticks-resistant. Brafords breed can be either polled or horned. A strong point of the Braford bred is the breeding female, with her excellent reputation for fertility and her ability to rear a top value. Combine this with her reputation for ease of calving and you have one productive female. Mating age for females is generally from fifteen months old, depending on the conditions in which they are run.

Young bulls are, on average capable of working in a commercial situation from 18 months to two years old onwards. Braford shires have tremendous weight for age, with mature bulls averaging 900 kg–1000 kg. Mature cows average 550 kg–750 kg. Carcasses from the somewhat larger and later maturing animals tend to be well muscled, with a minimum of waste when slaughtered as yearlings and steers.

Breeding of Braford Cattle:

The basic principle governing breed cattle production is that a breed must be fit to survive and thrive in the environment in which it is raised, on a cost-effective basis. The cattle breed must have a reasonable balance between productive traits and carcass excellence, always remembering that without the first the second is irrelevant. The Hereford cattle breed, the world’s most numerous beef breed has singularly met these important economic criteria. Put another way a breed to succeed today must possess one or more single trait that is needed by the commercial beef industry together with the other characteristics required, such as: good fertility, calving ease, calf survival rate, milking ability, hardiness, longevity, rustling ability, fast rate of live weight gain, good feed conversion, conformation and carcass quality.


Braford cattle are a breed of beef cattle. They are raised mostly for meat production.

Characteristics of Braford:

The Braford breed, which is called the SA Braford in Southern Africa, was developed in Australia and in the US during the late 1940s. The combination of Hereford breed and Brahman genes enables this synthetic breed to adapt, thrive and breed in a variety of environments from extreme heat to extreme cold, and Brafords cope extremely well with South African breed cattle diseases. SA Braford stud herds are beginning in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. There are also SA Braford breeders in Namibia and a commercial herd was newly established in Mauritius. The SA Braford breed Society says fertility is the most important selection criterion in the SA Braford breed.

Braford Cattle breed is known for their reproductive abilities and will continue to produce healthy calves even under duress. In drought situations, more than 90 percent of the cows will continue to birth healthy calves. They reach puberty earlier and bulls are destructive breeders. Because Braford breed calves are born quite small, Braford bulls may be served to heifers or cows of other breeds to impart crossbred hardiness into other cattle herds. Braford Cattle breed have good maternal instincts and make attentive, protective mothers. They have really good milk production abilities and easy calving. After their 30-kilogram birth weight, the vigorous calves have rapid rates of gain and able to wean around 7 months of age. Steers in the feedlot typically gain about 2.15 kilograms each day.

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Fertility is the single most important quality considered in the choice of the SA Braford. The intercalf periods of our top Breed graph cow herds are 368 and 375 respectively, and the society as a whole is aiming to achieve average ICP of 400. Braford breed bulls have exceptional libido and strict selection is done on scrotal circumference.


The winning combination of top Hereford breed and Brahman genes enables the Braford to adapt, reproduce and thrive in a variety of very different environments from extreme heat to extreme cold, wet and dry environments and Brafords breed cope extremely well with South African diseases. Current Braford breed studs operate successfully in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. There are also Braford cattle breeders in Namibia and a commercial Braford stud was recently established in Mauritius.


Brafords breed is medium frame beef cattle that have the potential to utilize even low quality grass to produce on average weaner calves of 45-50% of cow weight. Average birth weights are between 30kg-36kg and weaning weights should be in the range of 200kg- 270kg. The SA Braford breed consistently performs exceptionally well at the Eastern Free State Veldbulklub. Over a period of nine years the Braford groups have realized Average Daily Gains on the veld grass of between 626grams-752grams for the duration of the test and have been the breed with the maximum selection percentage of all breeds. In intensive feeding environments such as feedlots Brafords breed can average as much as 2kg weight gain per day.

Ease of management:

The number of Hereford breed herds in the UK continues to expand at a phenomenal rate for many reasons, not least because of their ease of management from ease of calving ease of handling.

Ease of Calving:

Herefords breed has traditionally been used in the dairy sector because of their easy calving; resulting in an increased calf crop, viable cross-bred calves and reduced veterinary costs. During the past 10 years, finishing weights of Hereford sired progeny have increased significantly, averaging in excess of 300kg deadweight. However, calf birth weights and ease of calving have remained stable, providing a welfare friendly environment for breeding females.

Breed Qualities:

The Braford cattle breed was developed for beef production and durability. Along with the ability to thrive in hard climates, the Braford breed cow is renowned for her maternal qualities. That includes high fertility, calving ease and good milk production. Braford cattle breed cows usually have longer reproductive lives than other breeds. Not only is the cattle heat-tolerant, but it is insect-resistant and can fare better than other breeds under drought conditions. Although not bred for rodeo, the Braford cattle breed is often used for that purpose in competition. Physically, the Braford cattle breed sports the red-and-white coloring of the Hereford but is far stockier. The Braford’s breed, size derives from the Brahman ancestry.

Cost of Brafrod Cattle:

Braford cow costs nearly $1200 to $2500 depending milk production, age, lactation status.

Distribution of Braford Cattle Breed:

A Braford breed herd is at home in all environments. Braford breed commercial and stud herds are successfully operating under every climatic condition Australia has to offer, as well as those in New Zealand, proving Brafords’ adaptability. There are now well over 25,000 registered Brafords, mostly in Queensland and New South Wales.

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Advantages of Braford Cattle Breed:

  • Good meat quality
  • Early maturity and high presentation on forage based diets
  • Adaptability – Herefords breed thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions
  • Very excellent temperament
  • Easy calving capacity
  • Very good fertility

Disadvantages of Braford Cattle Breed:

  • Not all Herefords breeds are calm, docile animals.
  • Milk production is deemed poor by majority breeders.
  • Not exactly suitable for areas which produce good-quality forage on a consistent basis. These cows are more for the poor-quality rangelands versus the good-quality pastures suitable for larger, more nutrition-demanding cows.

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Last Updated: December 29, 2018
Author: Jagdish

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