Mentor-Breeder's Strategy For Profitable Beef Farming
Farmer's Weekly|November 20, 2020
Johan Erasmus, who farms near Derby in North West, is one of the pioneers of the Boran cattle breed in South Africa. He uses his experience as a stud breeder and a commercial crop farmer to assist and mentor new farmers in a number of Southern African countries. Pieter Dempsey reports.
Pieter Dempsey

Johan Erasmus, who owns and runs the Jeras Boran stud on the farm Wolvengat near Derby in North West, has been farming for 37 years. A founding member of the Boran Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa (Boran SA), he helped write the society’s constitution and remains involved in the promotion of the Boran breed. This year, he was named the Farmer’s Weekly/SA Stud Book Elite Mentor Breeder of the Year.

The award recognises the remarkable and ongoing mentorship that Erasmus has provided to emerging and commercial farmers, as well as fellow stud breeders. This includes the following:

• He mentors two groups of breeders in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

• Since 2013, he has helped a number of communal farmers in Namibia, especially in the Ovamboland, where the Boran breed has achieved great success.

• He is involved in a project on the farm Rayton in Mpumalanga, providing assistance and mentorship to a community livestock farming project. This involves a local church, which supports, among others, a local orphanage with food donations. In addition, he provides practical training in herd management and other skills for students from the universities of Mpumalanga and Pretoria.

• He is part of a joint venture providing training to emerging cattle farmers in North West that will enable the farmers to own and manage their own Boran herds within the next few years.

• He is involved in a project run by Boran SA in which registered Boran bulls are donated to selected farmers, giving them access to better genetics for improving their own herds. He follows up with these farmers and provides regular mentoring.

As a result of his involvement in this project, he was asked by the Potchefstroom Agricultural College to present a course on cattle farming and, specifically, on the Boran breed.

This course teaches aspiring cattle farmers about the characteristics of the Boran and the advantages of farming this breed.

Erasmus also assists breeders who cannot afford to buy stud bulls, hiring his bulls out to farmers to improve the genetics of their own herds.

A PIONEER

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