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History of the Belgian Blue Beef Breed


CalfAs the name implies, Belgian Blue Cattle originated in the small European country of Belgium. While today Belgian Blue cattle are their own fullblood registered breed, their roots can be tracked back well over a century to a crossing of Durham Shorthorns and Friesian cattle.

Initially the Belgian Blue was developed, as most European cattle are, for their use as a dual purpose breed or, more simply, for both milk production and meat production. For most of the early to middle 1900s the breed tried to exist in the dual role. However, even at this early stage of breed development there was an increasing movement among many breeders to develop cattle of a more ‘meaty type’. Following the second world war, a liberated European economy quickly demanded an increased quality and quantity of meat, particularly those cuts of high retail value. This economic demand accelerated the development of Belgian Blue cattle in a more heavily muscled direction.

Finally, in 1974, the breed was divided into two branches, one for continued use as a dual purpose animal and the other exclusively for meat production. The vast majority of breeders concentrated their efforts on breeding the Belgian Blue for beef production. Today we see the result of the 150 years of work in the modern Belgian Blue. An animal that is structurally correct and sound, docile in temperament, fertile in breeding, and above all the ultimate beef machine.
All Lined Up
Photo: Craig Philips

 

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