Florida is known for agriculture like strawberries and tomatoes, but not many people think of cattle as a hallmark of our farming industry. In fact, cattle have been a part of Florida’s economy for 500 years and nearly one-half of Florida’s agricultural land is dedicated to cattle production. At Riverbend Ranch we are proud to be part of this legacy. Our cattle are a species called Brangus, a hybrid of Angus and Brahman breeds. The Brangus are just the perfect species to handle Florida’s weather and to provide a great quality cut of beef.
Environmental Warriors—Florida’s climate can be hot, humid, and sometimes uncomfortable in the summer months. Not all cattle breeds are adaptable to the heat. The Brahman and its Brangus offspring are an exception. The Brahman, which are indigenous to India, are an incredibly hardy breed. These cows are known for their extreme heat tolerance and are even resistant to certain types of insects due to their thick skin, which is beneficial in a state like Florida where insects are a constant presence. That’s not to say that the Brahman can’t survive colder temperatures. This breed is well equipped to handle those February temperature dips. The Brahman genetics hold strong in our Brangus herd for a breed uniquely suited to our area.
Angus and Brahman Beef Quality—The other half of our herd’s genetics supplies exceptional marbling for a top quality cut of beef. Black Angus is known for the marbling of its meat, where the fat is dispersed thinly and uniformly. A well-marbled cut is more tender and flavorful than other beef. This marbling also keeps the meat moist when its cooking.
But what about the Brahman? How does its meat stack up? The Brahman may not have as much notoriety as the Angus breed for meat quality but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold up its side of the gene pool. Breeders have been effectively cultivating quality marbling in the Brahman for generations. The American Brahman Breeders Association has been scientifically studying the meat’s tenderness using the Warner-Bratzler Shear-Force Test. A recent study showed that Brahman not only met, but significantly exceeded, tenderness ratings for restaurant quality steak. Studies like these show that Brahman can be cultivated to produce superior quality meat, something researchers at major agricultural universities are vigorously studying.
The Brangus Advantage— The Brangus seem to get the best of both worlds. Not only do they thrive in the climate of the Southern United States, but they also surpass the meat quality to its pure Angus parent. Studies have shown that Brangus meat has high tenderness and marbling character, outscoring pure Angus at 97% to 94%. It’s also demonstrated that the Brangus meat is lean, maintaining the tenderness and flavor of quality beef without excess fat.
When we began Riverbend Ranch, we knew that Brangus cattle would be instrumental in developing the quality meat we desired for our customers and for ourselves. The genetic history of the Brangus proves its adaptability for our state and for our cuisine. This beautiful animal will be a mainstay for our cattle ranch for years to come.
Riverbend Cattle Company is a cattle ranch located on the shores of the Withlacoochee River and Bonnet Lake, just outside historic Floral City, Florida. We raise cattle in a compassionate and sustainable manner so that the beef tastes amazing. Our mission is to carry on the rich Florida farming history by offering and supporting local families and their recipes, handed down for generations.