Growing food for a better future
What is Beefalo?
Short version:Beefalo is a cross between the American bison and any beef breed. The beef is leaner, bolder in taste, fewer calories, less fat and less cholesterol. It is the only beef recommended by the American Heart Association.
If you’re good with that answer. Stop reading now. But if you want know more…..
Long version. Beefalo is a cross between the American bison and any beef breed. For example, you can cross the bison with an Angus, a white faced Hereford, Belted Galloway, Charlotte, Limousine, Simental, any beef breed.
Take a Bison and cross it with, (for example) an Angus. That calf will be will be 50% bison. Given that this is a hybrid, and most hybrids are infertile, you should probably do this to about 30 animals so you can get something that will breed again. Hedge your bets.
Three years later, once that 50% bison offspring now reaches maturity and can be bred, breed it back to a 100% bison. That progeny will be 75% bison.
Three years later, when that 75% bison offspring now reaches maturity and can be bred, breed it to a beef breed that has no bison in it. For example an Angus.
The offspring of that breeding will have 37.5% bison.
Congratulations, after 8 years of breeding, you have just made a baby Beefalo. This offspring will be fertile and is now the base of your Beefalo breed.
Why on Earth would you want to make this cross?
The health benefits of eating bison are well known. Less fat, less cholesterol, more protein. A very lean animal. However, bison can also be tough and gamy. Our domestic beef breeds are fatty, high in cholesterol, high in fat and high in calories. Eating that kind of beef everyday leads to cardiovascular problems.
So, the cross between bison and a beef breed marries those two worlds together. You get a leaner beef, a beef that has less fat, less cholesterol, fewer calories, but still retains marbling that you would find in traditional beef. In addition, the pelt on a bison is considerably thicker than on a domestic cow. As a result, the pelt insulates them from the heat and the cold; meaning, you no longer have to have as much fat in their bodies. Additionally, Beefalo can perspire. That is a characteristic given to them by the bison.
All of the prime cuts come from the rear of an animal. A bison has a very sloped hind quarter and a very big hump on its neck. The neck produces chuck and ground beef. But we want prime cuts from our Beefalo. So by doing the cross between bison and a beef breed, you “push down the hump and fill out the rump”. Now you have an animal that has all of the health benefits of the bison, with marbling found in our traditional beef and a full rump where you can get prime cuts.