Beefalo is the result of crossing American Bison with domestic cattle, making it a composite breed. The development of this breed was largely carried out in the early 1970's by DC Basolo in California. What Basolo achieved which former bison/cattle cross-breeders couldn't, was a highly fertile bison-bovine hybrid. Initially, cattle bloodlines from Hereford and Charolais breeds were incorporated, now however, numerous cattle breeds are acceptable in the breeding process.
In order to be officially categorised as ‘Beefalo', the animal must include at least 17% bison content. Early on, scientifically determining this fact proved to be difficult and the breed experienced a drop in popularity after the 1970's. When DNA testing became a viable and legitimate means of accounting for Bison content, the breed became better established.
Beefalo meat tends to be low in fat and bad cholesterol, with high protein levels. The meat is also known to be quite flavoursome.
Physical appearance will generally resemble that of the bison. Beefalo cattle have large muscular frames with a dense coat of fine hairs. They can adapt to different climates and calves, although born relatively small, will generally mature quite rapidly. Some suggest that Beefalo cattle are an economical breed since they are adept to converting roughage into weight gain and do not require heavy grains or expensive special finishing rations. They are also conducive to organic, all-natural breeding environments, which is becoming a popular consumer demand in today's beef marketplace.
Today, both the United States and Australia produce Beefalo. In September 2001, the Beefalo Breeders Society of Australia was formed.