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Breeds of Cows Directory: "N": Nagori - Norwegian Red

Information contained here is summarized from many different sources. Please refer to those sources for complete information. Major contributors are Oklahoma State University, Coroba University of Spain, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Domestic Animal Diversity Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Google Images and Wikipedia


Nagori cattle are prevalent in the former Johrpur State, now a part of the State of Rajasthan in India. Nagori cattle are classified into the short-horned white or light gray cattle with a long coffin-shaped skull, orbital arches which do not prominent, and their face is slightly convex in profile. It has been suggested that probably the blood of gray lyre-horned cattle might have entered into the composition of Nagori cattle. Taking into consideration the proximity of the native homes of the Hariana in the north and northeast and Kankrej in the south and southwest, it seems reasonable to suppose that Nagori cattle may have evolved from these two groups. Frequency of famines in its native home has necessitated extensive movements of the cattle to other regions in search of fodder, and this has no doubt led to frequent intermixture.
Generally the Nagori cattle are fine, big, upstanding, active and docile, with white and gray color. They have long, deep and powerful frames, with straight backs and well-developed quarters. There is throughout the Nagori breed a tendency to legginess and lightness of bone, though the feet are strong. It is supposed that this characteristic has given the breed its agility and ease of movement.

The face is long and narrow but the forehead is flat and not so prominent. The eyelids are rather heavy and overhanging and the eyes are small, clear and bright. The ears are large and pendulous. The horns are moderate in size and emerge from the outer angles of the poll in an outward direction and are carried upwards with a gentle curve to turn in at the points. The neck is short and fine, and looks powerful. The dewlap is small and fine. The hump in the bulls is well-developed but not so firm and thus in many cases hangs over. The shoulders and forearms look muscular and powerful. The legs are straight with hooves compact, strong and small. The tail is of moderate length reaching just below the hocks and terminating in a tuft of black hair. The sheath is small. The skin is fine and slightly loose. The cows usually have well-developed udders with large teats.

The Nagori breed is one of the most famous trotting draft breeds of India and is generally appreciated for fast road work. As such, more attention has been paid by the breeders towards producing an agile yet powerful animal with a great deal of endurance.

Nagori cattle are famous as trotters, being used all over Rajputana in light iron-wheeled carts for quick transportation. They are also worked for all agricultural purposes, such as plowing, cultivation drawing water from wells and transportation of field produce to markets.

[Oklahoma State University]
Nanyang, Also known by: Nan'yan
This breed is found in Henan and Northern Hubei in China. Part of the Changzhu group, the breed is primarily used as a draft animal. They are usually red with white or grey spots. Two varieties exist, a mountain and a lowland.[Oklahoma State University]
N'dama, Other Names: Boenca or Boyenca (Guinea-Bissau), Fouta Jallon, Fouta Longhorn, Fouta Malinke, Futa, Malinke, Mandingo (Liberia), N'Dama Petite (Senegal). Incorrect names that are sometimes used: Dama and Ndama.
The N'Dama breed is the most representative "Bos Taurus" breed in West Africa. The origin of this breed is located in the Fouta-Djallon highlands of Guinea (Conakry). From there the N'Dama has spread in the sudanian and guinean regions.

Being , it has been used for large scale dissemination for grazing savannah in Congo, Central Africa, Gabon, Nigeria and Zaire, especially in the regions infested by the tse-tse fly.
The N'Dama is a hardy breed, medium size type (100 cm at shoulder height for cows; 120 cm for bulls) with a large and strong head and with lyre-shaped horns.

Its skin,with short and thin hair, is fawn colored but varies from sand to black color, sometimes spotted.

Cows produce only 2 to 3 liters milk per day during 7 to 8 months. The N'Dama breed is used for meat and the ratio carcass/liveweight is around 50%. The meat has a very good flavor without much fat.

Average liveweight for a mature steer varies between 250 to 300 kg.

In West Africa, to date there are approximately 7 million head of N'Dama.

For the last 65 years, this breed has been developed in Zaire, where large scale herds have been improved by permanent selection practices by a private company named "Compagnie J. VAN LANCKEIC' which owns over 40,000 head of purebred N'Dama.

This company has managed to increase, by selection, the average liveweight by 30 to 50kg without reducing the breed hardiness. This company is collaborating with the I.L.R.I. (International Livestock Research Institute) for an improved genetical analysis and selection of this breed.

[Oklahoma State University]


The Nelore is of the species Bos indicus (Zebu), and has great dissimilarities to breeds of the Bos taurus (European) species, like the Angus, Hereford, Charolais and others. Their most distinctive characteristic is the presence of a prominent “hump” behind their neck, but there are many other fundamental differences between the Nelore and the European breeds.

There has never existed in India a breed called Nelore. This name corresponds to a district of the old Presidency of Madrás, now belonging to the new State of Andra, by the Bengal Sea. It was in Brazil that some authors started to use the name Nellore as a synonym to Ongole, the Indian breed that contributed most to the creation of the Nelore. The history of the Ongole dates back 2,000 years before Christian times. It was the Aryan people that brought the ancestors of the Nelore to India, where they were submitted to extreme weather conditions. The arid lands of Belushistan, the cold winters of Punjab, the alluvial lands of Ganges and the torrid lands by the Bengal sea provided the Ongole breed with the adaptation genes that are now favorably expressed in the modern Nelore.

Brazil has become the largest breeder of Nelore, and from there the breed was exported to Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Central America, Mexico, United States and many other countries. In all those places, the contribution of the Nelore was remarkable, whether through purebred selection within the breed or through crosses with local breeds, many times of European origin.

The Nelore was first acknowledged in Brazil in 1868, when a ship on its way to England carrying two Ongoles stopped in Salvador, Bahia, and the animals were there sold. Ten years later, a breeder from Rio de Janeiro, named Manoel Ubelhart Lemgruber, bought another couple from the Hamburg Zoo in Germany. Then the Nelore breed expanded gradually, first in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, then in Minas Gerais, having reached Uberaba in 1875.

The creation of the Nelore Herd Book and the definition of the breed standards in Uberaba, 1938, was of great relevance in the formation of the Nelore. In 1960, 20 animals were imported, and in 1962, the last and most relevant purchase of live animals from India authorized by the Brazilian Government, 84 Ongoles were imported. These became founders of important breeding lines like Godahvari, Karvadi and Taj Mahal, and were decisive to the great expansion of the Brazilian herd in the last 30 years, going from 56 million in 1965 to 160 million in 1995, 100 million of which are Nelore.
Distinguishing Characteristics
It is said that there is no ideal breed, and that every breed has strong points and none is better for all important economic traits, the Nelore is certainly the best alternative for economic beef production in the tropics, which are responsible for 65% of the world’s bovine population.

1. Hardiness. The main advantage that the Nelore has over other breeds of beef cattle is its hardiness. Calves are alert, with an active behavior, standing up and suckling soon after they are born, without any need for constant human intervention. The Nelore has notable physical strength and is unexcelled in its ability to thrive under harsh climatic, nutritional and sanitary conditions, frequent in the tropics. Because of their hardiness and rustling ability, Nelores surpass all other breeds under conditions of poor range and drought.

2. Heat and Insect Resistance. The Nelore has a loose skin with sweat glands that are twice as big and 30% more numerous than those of the European breeds. The Nelore’s black skin, covered by a white or light gray coat helps filtering and reflecting harmful sun rays. Its low level of metabolism also contributes to heat resistance, as the Nelore feeds less but often, generating less internal heat. Nelores possess natural resistance to various insects, as its skin has a dense texture, making it difficult for blood sucking insects to penetrate. Nelores also have a well developed subcutaneous muscle layer which enables them to remove insects simply by shaking their coat.

3. Metabolic Efficiency. The Nelore can efficiently convert poor quality forages into beef, and withstand long periods without water. Due to their habit of feeding lightly but frequently, Nelore and Nelore hybrid cattle are highly resistant to bloating, and death losses rarely occur from this cause. Excellent feed conversion ratio and good disposition allow the Nelore to be early finished in feedlots, with highly positive results.

4. Meat Quality. While the beef of some breeds have excessive marbling, or intra-muscular fat, beef from Nelore cattle have enough fat to be highly palatable. The Nelore matches the recent shift in the beef industry towards a low calorie, leaner meat diet, without compromising taste. This was demonstrated at the 1991 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, when a purebred Nelore steer won the “Best Overall in Taste” contest, competing against dozens of hybrid and European steers.

5. Reproductive Efficiency. Nelores have long, deep bodies with clear underlines, keeping vulnerable parts out of the way of infection. Cows have small udders and short teats, while bulls' sheaths are also short. These characteristics contribute to the breed’s reproductive efficiency. Nelore dams have a long and prolific reproductive life, pronounced mothering ability, and plenty of milk for their calves. The Nelore cows calve very easily due to their greater frame, wide pelvic opening and larger birth canal, which reduces the incidence of distocia.

6. Maternal Instinct and Disposition. Nelore dams have highly developed maternal instinct throughout the whole milking period, which is of great importance for extensive breeding systems. They lick their newborn, put them to suckle and look for a safe place to hide them from predators. The active and vivid disposition of the Nelore is largely responsible for their unusual thriftiness, hardiness and adaptability to a wide range of feed and climate. Nelores like affection and quickly respond to kind handling methods, becoming extremely docile.

A lot of genetic variation exists among all breeds, and the selection within a breed is almost as important as the choice of the breed itself. Generation after generation, during thousands of years favoring the survival of the strongest and better prepared to withstand the intense heat, the lack of forages, the prolonged dry season and the many diseases has shaped anatomically and physiologically the ancestors of the modern Nelore with a common denominator: hardiness, fertility and longevity.

Once in Brazil, this natural selection base was then managed and redirected for beef production. The result was encouraging. In a few decades, the Brazilian Nelore became an impressive biotype in terms of uniformity, conformation and quality, still preserving the attributes of hardiness and vivid disposition. Once the ethnic purity was consolidated, the Brazilian Nelore breeders have been selected for body size and muscular development, as well as skeletal soundness.

Each and every registered Nelore sire is the outcome of a complex process of selection. Breeders receive assistance from a nationwide association, the Associação Brasileira dos Criadores de Zebu or ABCZ. Birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, scrotal circumference, are some of the traits measured. Research centers and universities calculate EPDs (Expected Progeny Difference) through complex mathematical models and powerful super-computers, making the results available to breeders to support their selection decisions.
Genetics and Breeding
Today, the number of purebred registered Nelore is above 5 million. The challenge faced by selection is to multiply the genetic gains to a much larger population. To multiply the genetic potential of Nelore sires, Artificial Insemination is being used in large scale since the 60’s. Sales of Nelore semen represent 65% of the AI market of all beef breeds in Brazil. The leading Nelore sire there produced and sold 34,000 straws of semen in 1995, followed by another Nelore that sold 30,000, which means that both sires must have bred more than 20,000 cows.

Effort is also being made to multiply the genetic potential of Nelore dams through the use of embryo transfer. With more than 50,000 embryos transferred per year, a great part of which are Nelores, Brazil is already the 3rd country in this technology, after the United States and France. Work is also well under way with frozen embryos, embryo splitting and In Vitro Fertilization of Nelores.

The Polled Nelore
There is a worldwide tendency for the elimination of horns in all cattle breeds through the use of naturally polled animals. The advent of the Polled Nelore, some 50 years ago, has presented the beef cattle industry with an option to avoid the mechanical removal of horns, a common practice, especially in feedlots. This dehorning method is expensive, time consuming and painful for the animal, causing stress and weight loss, besides exposing the steers to various infections. If horns were necessary for defense purpose in a wild environment, today a naturally polled animal brings many advantages.

Management of polled herds is easy and friendly, as herds are more homogeneous and it is possible to gather more animals at one time in the corral or in a truck for transportation. The polled Nelore also presents less injuries from fights, preserving their coats for the leather industry. As a result of these advantages, the number of genetically polled steers in commercial herds is rapidly increasing.

Since the polled type is genetically dominant over the horned type, when a horned dam is bred to a polled sire or a polled dam is bred by a horned sire, approximately 85-90% of the offspring will be genetically polled. That is of great importance to the polled Nelore selection, as breeders have access to both the polled and the horned Nelore genetic banks. It also allows breeders of the horned type to easily start a polled herd simply by using a polled sire on their dams.
There is a universal trend toward meat production through crossbreeding. Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is the biological phenomenon in which the performance of the offspring is greater than the average of the parents. The more distantly related the parents are, the greater is the hybrid vigor response in their progeny. Classic scientists like Linneo and Darwin supported the idea of Bos Indicus (Nelore) and Bos Taurus (European) to be considered separate species due to the differences they presented from the adaptation to environments diametrically opposites in latitude. In beef cattle, maximum hybrid vigor results from crossbreeding these two historically unrelated species.

Hybrid vigor in beef cattle is expressed in heavier weaning weights, increased milk production, greater calf vitality, higher fertility and increased resistance to disease. In addition to increased weight for age and greater carcass efficiency, the hybrid animal inherits to a great extent many economic characteristics of its Nelore parent, such as drought resistance, heat tolerance, disease resistance and increased longevity.

Ina recent research done by the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, the Nelore F1s showed the largest percentage of unassisted calving, the highest weaning percentage, and their offspring calves were 2nd in 200-day weaning weight of the 11 breeds evaluated. These results combined placed the Nelore F1s as the most productive dams, with an impressive 115.0 ratio.

[Oklahoma State University]
The breed from the past for the future
Nguni cattle are a sub-type of the African Sanga cattle associated with the pastrolist cattle culture of the Negro/Bantu people of Africa. Protein analyses indicate that they have characteristics of both Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus cattle.

Physiologically they have charateristics that place them apart from both types. What is certain is that they have been shaped by natural selection in the African environment for thousands of years.

The ancestors of the present day Nguni of South Africa were brought into the country by the southward migration of the Khoi people from the central lakes area of Africa. These cattle are still found wherever the decendants of the original groups of the Nguni tribe settled, namely Swaziland, Zululand and Mozambique.

The Nguni was originally, and indeed still is, a draft animal. Under sound management conditions it is becoming increasingly popular as a beef breed.

The areas where Nguni cattle occur are climatically the most harsh and disease-ridden tracts of Africa. These areas are prone to droughts and other realities that mother nature can throw at us from time to time.

Nguni cattle have the following qualities, characteristics and traits:

1. They are not large cattle with bulls weighing 500-700kg (~1100-1550 lbs.) and cows weighing 320-440kg (~700-975 lbs.). Calves wean at approximately 175kg (~385 lbs.) and grow at 0.70 kg (~1.55 lbs) per day until weaning.

2. The bulls have well developed, rounded cervio-thoracic humps which are muscular rather than fatty. The cows have small almost non existant humps.

3. The cattle are heat and light tolerant and have thick pigmented skins covered with fine short hair of different mixtures of colour (Black, white, red, brown, cream and dun).

4. They have long productive lives, cows will produce 10 or more calves calving regularly. The cows show great efficiency and often wean calves that weigh 45-50% of their body mass.

5. Nguni cattle are less prone to dystocia, this being ascribed to their sloping rumps, small uterus and low birth mass.

6. They develop excellent resistance to ticks and immunity to tick borne diseases. Disease incidence and mortality are low.

7. They are excellent foragers and will graze and browse on steep slopes and in thick bush alike.

8. Finished carcasses dress out at roughly 180-220 kg (~400-500 lbs). Marbling is good with a thin covering of fat.

9. Nguni fatten well on natural grazing as well as in the feedlot.

10. The historical development of the Nguni has resulted in a breed with good temperament and mothering ability.

Apart from the area where the Nguni occur naturally there are some 140 registered breeders owning 1,400 registered cattle.

Nimari cattle show a mixture of Gir and Khillari (Tapi Valley strain) breeds. The breed has taken the coloration from the Gir as well as its massiveness of frame and the convexity of the forehead. It has acquired the hardiness, agility and temper of the Khillari with the formation of feet and occasional carroty color of the muzzle and hooves. Starting from Barwani and Khargone districts of Madhyabarat, the breed spreads into Khandwa, and parts of Harda of Madhya Pradesh. It is also bred in adjacent parts of Bombay State. In the Satpura ranges of Madhya Pradesh there is a strain of cattle known as Khamla, which is much smaller in size but very akin to the Nimari. In addition, the Khamgaon strain found in Berar may be an offshoot of the Nimari. This breed of cattle is prized for draft work, though few animals show evidence of fair milking qualities.
The animals are well-proportioned and compact in appearance. In general they are red in color with large splashes of white on various parts of the body. In the Khamgaon strain the color is occasionally black or light red and white. In the Khamla strain it is red with a violet tinge and white or yellow and white.

The head is moderately long with a somewhat bulging forehead, it is carried alertly and gives the animals a graceful appearance. The horns usually emerge in a backward direction from the outer angles of the poll, somewhat in the same manner as in Gir cattle, turning upwards and outwards and finally backwards at the points. Occasionally, the horns are also like the Khillaris in size and shape, with copper color and pointed. The ears are moderately long and wide and are not pendulous. the muzzle in many animals is either copper-colored or amber-colored.

The body is long, with a straight back and moderately arched ribs with the quarters usually drooping to some extent. There is a tendency to prominent hips common to the Gir. The dewlap and sheath are moderately developed, though the sheath is apt to be pendulous. The hump in bulls is well-developed and apt to be hanging at times. The limbs are straight and clean and the tail is long and thin with a black switch reaching to the ground. Hooves of the animals are strong and can stand rough wear on stony ground. The skin is fine and slightly loose. The cows usually have well-developed udders.

[Oklahoma State University]
he Normande breed has its origin in cattle that were brought to Normandy by the Viking conquerors in the 9th and 10th centuries. For over a thousand years these cattle evolved into a dual purpose breed to meet the milk and meat needs of the residents of northwestern France. The present herd book in France was started in 1883. Though the breed was decimated by the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, there are currently 3 million Normandes in France. Their present role in France is to provide rich milk for the cheese industry while maintaining their excellent carcass quality.

Normandes have been exported world-wide but have received their greatest acceptance in South America where they were introduced in the 1890's. The cattle have thrived there as one of the world's best dual purpose breeds. Total numbers there now exceed 4 million purebreds plus countless Normande crossbreds. Columbia alone has 1.6 million purebreds with the rest mainly in Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. They are a highly adaptable and hardy breed and have done well in beef operations in the Andes Mountains at elevations up to 13,000 feet. The Normande cow with her sound feet and legs can travel great distances over rough terrain to economically convert native roughages.

Carcass Quality
Because of the breed's high muscle mass to bone ratio and their small heads, the Normande has a high percentage yield at slaughter. The carcass is very lean but marbles readily and purebred Normande steers will easily grade choice at 1,250 lbs. The Normande breed won’t produce bulging rear quarters of cheap ground round but will increase the length and width of the top priced loin area cuts. In the 1990 and 1991 Montana 4-H Steer of Merit Carcass Contests, three 7/8 Normande steers placed in the top 10 out of the 1,000 steers entered annually including crossbreds. A 1991 Normande steer had a 16.2 in. rib eye, a 0.15 in. backfat, and a yield grade of 0.99! Feedlots in the U.S. and South America have proved that Normande cross steers and heifers will grade and yield with the best while maintaining moderate carcass size.

Body Type

Normandes are a medium frame size breed with most cows weighing 1,200 to 1,500 lbs. and bulls 2,000 to 2,400 lbs. They possess excellent body depth and spring of rib while maintaining exceptional body length. This characteristic high capacity body type probably explains their ability to perform on high roughage diets. The cattle are also very clean fronted and carry a strong topline. If you've lost volume and depth of body in your commercial cows, Normandes will definitely replace it.

Maternal Traits

Normande females reach sexual maturity early and have good fertility, mammary conformation, mothering ability and production longevity. They have large pelvic areas and calve easily with calves showing excellent vigor and most birth weights in the 70 to 95 lb. range. In France, milk production averages 14,000 lbs. per lactation with 4.2 % butterfat and 3.5 % protein. You won't find more productive females anywhere and half blood Normande cows are exceptional commercial beef cows when crossed with almost any beef breed.

Growth Rates

With their rich milk, Normande purebred and crossbred cows produce calves with rapid growth rates with no need to creep feed. Weaning weights will be in the 500 to 700 lb. range. Recent bull tests have shown that this rapid growth rate will continue on high roughage feed. Normande bulls have topped the St. Croix Valley Bull Test at River Falls, Wisconsin in both years that they've been entered. In 1991 a Normande bull set an all time station record 4.93 lb. ADG and also had a 3.64 lb. WDA. The second place bull that year was also a Normande. In the 1992 test a Normande bull again topped the field with a 4.68 lb. ADG and a 3.49 lb. WDA. The 140 day test annually features 100 bulls from 8 to 10 different beef breeds fed a corn silage based high roughage ration. Studies in France have documented 5.0 feed conversion rates on the same type of diet.

[Oklahoma State University]
Norwegian Red, Also Know By: Norsk rødt fe (Norway)
This breed designation originated in 1961 when the Norwegian Red-and-White, Red Trondheim and the Red Polled Østland. Later in 1963 the Døle was also absorbed into the designation and in 1968 South and West Norwegians were added. Others breeds which have been said to contribute to the gene pool include Ayshires, Swedish Red-and-Whites, Friesians and Holsteins. By 1975, 98% of the Norwegian national herd belonged to this designation. Using the classical definition the Norwegian Red cannot be considered a breed. It is an amalgamation to develop superior strain of dual-purpose cattle. With time and selection this designation may develop into a breed but this is not the case yet.

Cows are selected for milking potential, rate of milk flow and fertility, while bulls are selected on the basis of performance in a rate-of-growth test. Norwegian Red cattle do not express the external uniformity seen in true breed, although they are red or red-pied for the most part. Cows weigh about 495 kg; bulls about 900 kg. Milk yields average 5,804 kg per lactation.

[Oklahoma State University]
Norwegian Red Polled see Red Polled Østland



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