Nelore cow breed: Found in Brazil but has an Indian connection | Know about it

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New Delhi: Recently, a Nelore breed cow, Viatina-19 FIV Mara Imoveis, was sold for Rs 40 crore ($4.8 million) at an auction in Brazil, making it the most expensive cow ever sold. These breeds, though belonging to India, have a connection with India. As the name suggests, Nelore has an Indian connection. The breed is called Bos indicus and traces its origins to Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The breed is derived from the Ongole cattle and is an indigenous cattle that originated in the Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh. Let us learn more about the cattle.

About Nelore Cattle

The origin of the breed dates back over 2000 years. The Aryan people brought the ancestors of this breed to India, and the ancestors were called Ongole. The name was changed to Nelore in Brazil and was used as a synonym for Ongole.

The breed has faced challenging weather conditions, including the harsh lands of Baluchistan, the winters of Punjab, the alluvial lands of Ganga, and the torrid lands by the Bengal Sea.

The Ongole breed with the adaptation genes that are now favourably expressed in the modern Nelore.

In 1868, the Nelore was first acknowledged in Brazil when a ship on its way to England carrying two Ongoles stopped in Salvador, Bahia, and sold the animals.

In another ten years, a breeder from Rio de Janeiro bought a couple from the Hamburg Zoo in Germany. In 1875, the Nelore breed started to expand gradually. First, it spread to Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, then to Minas Gerais and Uberaba.

Twenty animals were imported in 1960, and in 1962, 84 Ongoles were imported (they were the last and most relevant purchase of live animals from India authorised by the Brazilian Government).

The Brazilian herd has significantly expanded in the last 30 years, from 56 million in 1965 to 160 million in 1995. Of these, 100 million are of the Nelore breed.


The Nelore breed is usually white and has black skin, muzzle, and tail. These breeds have comparatively long legs, which help them walk in water while grazing.

They have the shortest ears and are horned. The horns are thick, brown, and pointed up, but the breed also has a naturally polled strain.

This Nelore breed has sweat glands that are twice as big and 30 per cent more numerous as compared to European breeds.

Nelores have a slow metabolism that creates less heat and enables them to feed less often, which can lead to high resistance bloating.

Nelores have long, deep bodies with clear underlines, keeping vulnerable parts out of infection.

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