AMRICAN WHITE PARK
AUS. FRIESIAN SAHIWAL
AUS. MILKING ZEBU
By: Race de la Moyenne et Haute Belgique, Belgian Blue-White,
Belgian White and Blue Pied, Belgian White Blue, Blue, Blue
These cattle originated in central and upper Belgium and they, at one
time, accounted for nearly half of the cattle in the national herd.
Local red-pied and black-pied cattle were crossed with Shorthorn
cattle imported from England from 1850 through 1890.
Some sources also site the introduction of Charolais
breeding throughout the 19th century. A true breeding policy was established
in the early 20th century when the breed was established. At one time
the breed was divided into two strains, one primarily for milk production
and the other a beef animal. Selection is now primarily for beef.
The Belgian Blue Breed of beef cattle is relatively new to the United
States but is rapidly gaining acceptance with beef breeders and dairymen.
Belgian Blue cattle as they exist today are the result of selective
genetic breeding and development conducted in Belgium by Professor Hanset
at the AI Center in the Province of Liege.
In the late fifties, a debate arose among the
breeders, the question being whether to maintain the dual-purpose type
as it was or to select for more muscling. The muscling prevailed. Concerning
this critical period, three famous AI sires are to be cited: Gedeon
and two of his grandsons Ganache and Vaiseur. From them came the model
of the breed.
Physical Characteristics of the Belgian Blue
The Belgian Blue is a large sized animal with rounded outline and prominent
muscles. The shoulder, back, loin and rump are heavily muscled. The
back is straight, rump is sloping, tail set is prominent and skin is
fine. It has fine but strong legs and can walk easy.
The color can be white, blue roan or sometimes black. The breed is known
for its quiet temperament. Weight and height of animals recorded averages:
European comparisons between the Belgian Blue and Charolais
found the Belgian Blue to have a higher muscularity, milk yield and
The Belgian Blue animals were also older at
sexual maturity. Calving interval and calf mortality was approximately
equal and Belgian Blue performed lower in calving ease and calving
rate. Some sources stated that delivery in Belgian Blue cows
is often by caesarean.
Results of studies conducted in Belgium show that the carcass characteristics
of the Belgian Blue were expressed in the crossbreds whose commercial
value was then substantially increased.
The observation explains the growing interest for the Belgian Blue
breed as a terminal sire, it's carcass composition and it's growth
In an extensive 3 year test, done by the USDA at the Meat Animal Research
Center, Clay Center, Nebraska, the Belgian Blue crossbred cattle were
tested with the industry standard Warner-Brazner shear test for tenderness.
The Belgian Blue cattle had a lower shear value
than the Hereford-Angus contemporary average, 12.8 versus 12.9, with
comparable tenderness and flavor on the sensory panel.
Belgian Blue cattle also exhibited less than
half the fat cover, .21 inch cover versus .45 inch cover, a 53% reduction.
Belgian Blue is on line for the new standards. The Belgian Blue also
showed 16% less marbling and 14.2 more ribeye area than the average
Belgian Blue Breeders, Inc.
European Association for Animal Production, Animal
Genetic Data Bank
Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, 1985, MSO-AGVET (Merck &
Co., Inc.), Rahway, N.J.
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types
and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.
American Belgian Blue Breeders, Inc.
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2002. Oklahoma State University Board of Regents. All rights reserved.