The Gelbvieh breed comes from southern Germany, specifically the districts of Northern Bavariam its origins date back to the late 18th century. ‘Gelbivieh' is a German term that translates to ‘yellow cattle'. It is a fitting title as the Gelbvieh breed was developed from the local ‘Red-Yellow Franconian' cattle. They were traditionally bred for dairy, beef and draft.
In the late 1950's, a strict progeny testing shceme was instituted by the German government. The program aimed to improve productivity, maternal behaviour, fertility, ease of calving and carcase value.
Gelbvieh cattle are well-muscled animals with large frames. Their coats are made up of fine hair that ranges in shades between golden red and black. Black colouring is the result of crossing Gelbvieh with Angus stock. Although they were naturally horned, today most are bred polled. Mature bulls typically weigh up to 1000 kilograms, while mature cows can reach 750 kilograms on average. Gelbvieh reach puberty earlier than any other beef breed, which explains why they are popular in the yearling market. They are also known for their ample milk production, maternal instincts, high fertility, docile temperament, impressive weaning weight per calf, heat and tick tolerance and lean meat.
Gelbvieh cattle have become popular candidates in cross-breeding programs where they are useful in enhancing maternal behaviour and weaner marketability in other breeds.
The Gelbvieh breed was first introduced into Australia in 1979 by Jim Swanee and Greg Lithgow, who used Gelbview semen over Hereford stock. The first graded up purebred was registered some eleven years later. They are now found in all Australian states except the Northern Territory. Today, they are distributed throughout Australia, America, Canada, Africa and Europe. The Australian Gelbveih Association is responsible for preserving and promoting the breed.