Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Breeding Beef Cattle for Unfavorable Environments. A Sympo-
sium Presented at the King Ranch Centennial Conference.
Edited by Albert O. Rhoad. Austin (University of Texas
Press), 1955. Pp. xiv+248. $4.75-
Man strives to do things better. This book records several suc-
cessful attempts to produce better cattle that will use the more
unfavorable ranges. It correlates the one-hundred year develop-
ment of the King Ranch and their Santa Gertrudis cattle with
the development of modern genetic methods. The volume con-
tains a series of articles by leading authorities in the field on
breeding methods, nutrition (both native and imported grasses
and use of fertilizers), and the physiological adjustments neces-
sary to produce good beef under adverse conditions in the United
States, Brazil, and the British Commonwealth.
Of interest to all of us is the history of the improvement of
animals and land conditions exemplified by the development of
the huge King Ranch which is recorded in several chapters. The
program illustrates the importance attached to the use of scientific
methods in rapidly improving food resources for mankind.
It is noteworthy that these papers were presented as part of the
centennial celebration of the King Ranch. This period covers the
development of modern ranching from its beginnings-the time
of the open range, wild mustangs, and longhorn cattle. The history
of the ranch included fencing the ranges, insuring adequate per-
manent water, removing detrimental plants, enriching the soil,
and originating their own breed of quarter horses and the Santa
Gertrudis cattle. The rapid evolution of a better adapted and
more productive food supply is illustrated in the history of the
development of the Santa Gertrudis cattle. When the better
European breeds of cattle were found to be less productive in
hot areas such as South Texas, the owners of the King Ranch
tested crosses between several types of cattle. The crosses between
the Brahman and the English Shorthorn were most productive
and a long program of selective crossing over a number of years
established the Santa Gertrudis breed. The methods which were
used to establish this new breed are discussed. The procedures
used may be compared to those given in the several papers on
genetic methods and the one on the quality of the best beef.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed September 30, 2014.