THE BONSMARA INSPECTION SYSTEM
Farmer's Weekly|June 5 & 12, 2020
Louis Steyl, CEO of the Bonsmara Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa, writes that the society’s strict double-inspection process ensures that only top animals are available for sale.
Louis Steyl

When Prof Jan Bonsma started experimenting with various breed crosses that eventually led to the development of the Bonsmara, he made one element the cornerstone of selection: observation. Bonsma was a firm believer that a stockman should be able to study an animal and identify the presence and absence of the right qualities.

His years of observation, as well as measuring each animal and comparing data, paid off; today South Africa is home to more Bonsmara cattle than those of any other registered breed. Since the establishment of the Bonsmara Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa (Bonsmara SA) 55 years ago, breeders have been required to submit for inspection every animal they wish to be registered in their stud.

The first hurdle that the animal must overcome is to qualify against a set of minimum breed standards. If it fails, it is culled automatically.

While the beef industry has made considerable progress in terms of economic breeding values, as well as making performance testing compulsory, Bonsmara breeders know that breeding values using only genetic information are not enough to determine whether an animal can qualify as a stud animal. Observation is therefore critical in selection.

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