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Nelore -heifer- Brazil

(most common name)
(transboundary/brand name)

(local/other name):
• Nellore
• Ongole

‘Nelore’ is the South American name for the Indian Ongole — which originated in the Nellore district in the southeast coastal region of what is now Andhra Pradesh state (within which the Ongole administrative area was located).

The Nelore was first imported in 1895 by Rio state in Brazil. Several more imports followed, the largest was in 1906 of 800 animals to Uberaba in Minas Gerais (both sexes but principally bulls). After 1962, further importations were prohibited.

Signalgrass (Brachiaria spp.), a forage grass native to Africa, was introduced and this greatly increased the carrying capacity of the Brazilian savannah ecosystems. This, in turn, led to cattle pasture replacing much of the cerrado scrub forest on the Brazilian central plateau.

Because the Brazilian government supported the spreading of signalgrass and zebus (mostly Nelore) — Brazil is now the world’s second largest beef exporter.

Of note: The Nelore has been selected for relatively small ears; this helps to distinguish it from the Gir which has also been imported by Brazil.

This page was last updated on: 2023-05-19

You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Brazil and read about other Brazilian cattle breeds.

The Cow Wall® A-Z Cattle Breed Picture Reference to see other breeds of cattle in the world.