Weird cow breeds: Barzona cattle


The hardy Barzona was developed by blending Hereford, Angus, Africander and Santa Gertrudis blood.

Weird cow breeds: Barzona cattle

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The hardy Barzona was developed by blending Hereford, Angus, Africander and Santa Gertrudis blood.

Developed in one of the most demanding areas of America, the Barzona is a hardy beef breed with a distinguishable red coat.

In the 1940s Francis Norwood Bard set out to develop a cow herd that could thrive in the tough rugged lands of Arizona.

His breeding programme was headed by Elliott S. Humphrey, who spent months researching the vegetation, climate and land type. Weather conditions in the Bradshaw Mountain region were variable and included long periods of drought, very wet spells and snow in the higher country.

Desired characteristics included: hardiness, natural fertility, good mothering instinct, milking ability, strong feet and legs, wild-type grazing habits, easy calving, heat and insect tolerance and medium size with a suitable conformation.

They developed these desired characteristics through careful blending of genes from several breeds, namely Hereford, Angus, Africander and Santa Gertrudis.

The inclusion of Africander blood into the Barzona gene pool has much to do with the breed’s exceptional hardiness. The Africander is a south African breed, known for its ability to handle rough ground, heat and insect tolerance and disease resistance.

The Barzona breed became the only breed developed in the US to be established through the dam line, based solely on performance.

According to the Barzona Breeders Association, heifers calve easily at 24 months and breed back year after year even under stressed conditions. They produce exceptionally hardy calves, exhibiting high vigour.

The Barzona produces a high-yielding, muscular and well-marbled carcass with a high ratio of lean to fat. They perform well in the feedlot with a good feed conversion efficiency.

In 1968 the Barzona Breeders Association of America was formed in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then Barzona cattle have spread across the United Sates, from the snows of the Northwest to the grasslands of the Midwest, to the swamps of the Southeast, making a substantial contribution to the beef industry in America.

More information about the breed can be found on the Barzona Breeders Association website.

Photo credit: Bard Cattle Company

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