High-quality female animals are a key element in a commercial breeding herd.
Although it is expensive to buy stud cows for a commercial concern, the animals that do not make the cut for stud breeding are a viable option for commercial breeders.
The economic realities of beef cattle production mean that commercial breeders can no longer afford to retain poor performers.
Willem Botha, who owns the Tendele Simmentalers stud near Senekal in the Free State, explains that South Africa’s beef cattle sector comprises stud breeders, commercial beef producers and weaner producers, the buyers and sellers of the beef, and finally, the consumer.
All seek maximum returns on investment and/or value for money. It is therefore the stud breeder’s responsibility to provide commercial producers with optimally performing seed stock that makes it possible for them to market fastgrowing and well-developed weaners. This pertains mainly to bulls and, occasionally, female animals, for the commercial sector.
The value of a top-performing commercial cow should never be underestimated, says Botha. It makes little sense to keep a breeding herd of substandard female animals, as not even the best bulls can cancel out the effects of poor-performing cows.
Nevertheless, because of the costs involved, Botha does not advise commercial breeders to consider buying stud cows. “A good alternative is to consider breeding female animals that did not make the cut for a stud or to make sure you acquire them from reputable commercial breeders. Whatever route you take, investment in the best possible heifers and cows will stand you in good stead for generations to come,” he says.
Female animals that were earmarked for the stud but disqualified are usually accompanied by a track record that includes performance and breeding values. This makes it easy for a commercial breeder to determine the value that such an animal could add to the herd. A good cow drops and raises a calf every year and produces weaners of optimal growth and weight that are marketable early on.
A top-performing adult cow that is of real worth to a commercial herd should have all the traits of economic value.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EBVS
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Growing Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts attract their fair share of pests. Here’s how to identify and control the important species.
Cutworms and thrips are major threats to onion plants, and must be dealt with timeously to save your crop, says Bill Kerr.
Higher milk production, lower carbon footprint
Pressure is mounting on dairy farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. The good news is that research shows it is not only possible, but can be done in a way that increases productivity. Lindi Botha reports.
Improving seed import/export regulations in Rwanda
Increasing sugar tax will cost more jobs – industry
With the ending of the moratorium on increases to the Health Promotion Levy (HPL), or so-called sugar tax, in 2022, renewed calls to double the levy could cost the sugar industry millions of rands.
Saving Southern Africa's smallest wild cat
Marion and Richard Holmes, who live near Cradock in the Eastern Cape, have made it their life’s ambition to conserve the vulnerable black-footed cat and African wildcat. They spoke to Annelie Coleman about the methods they employ.
There was a period in South Africa’s past when a well-kept tennis court was as much a part of a prosperous farm as a vegetable garden or a tractor. And this applied in the dusty Karoo as well as in the lush Lowveld, says Graham Jooste.
Meet the ‘Barbarians'
A display of part of farmer Herman Dewing‘s huge collection of barbed wire. FW ARCHIVE
Watch out for glyphosate contamination
The repeated use of the herbicide glyphosate has been found to compromise fruit production. James Dick, co-owner of production consultancy DNS Crop Institute, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about this problem.
Fire and regenerative rangeland management
Fire is a management tool and, like a hammer, it can have good or bad consequences, depending on how and when it is used. This requires careful consideration of a farm’s conditions, writes Colin Nott, a regenerative agricultural consultant based in Namibia.
WHERE THE PAST IS ALWAYS PRESENT
IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS’ MUNDA REGION, THE REACH OF HISTORY IS FELT EVERYWHERE, FROM UNTOUCHED WRECKS BELOW TO PROUD VILLAGES ABOVE, AND WONDERS NATURAL AND MAN-MADE COMPETE WITH ISLANDERS’ WARM SMILES TO WIN DIVERS’ HEARTS
SHOCK AS CHARITY CHIEF IS FOUND DEAD AT HOME
68-yr-old Bothar founder’s death a ‘personal tragedy’
Feedlot + silage = a formidable combination
As in most industries, it is becoming increasingly difficult for an agricultural enterprise to remain profitable. Therefore producers need to be resourceful when adding value to their products. Ian Brown and his son Gordon are cattle producers in the Tlhakgameng region north of Vryburg, and are not ones to shy away from challenges. In fact, they see a challenge as an opportunity to expand their farming enterprise.
BEEFY'S RIGHT, STOKES IS BEST WE'VE EVER HAD
A crack of Ben Stokes’ bat on the ball; a nanosecond of hush, an eruption of noise from the Headingley crowd almost matched by a roar from the man himself and the completion of England’s highest run chase in Test cricket in one of the greatest matches ever played, let alone in an Ashes series.
Investigating the meat quality of Boran cattle
Boran cattle have been subject to prolonged natural selection under harsh environmental conditions for centuries and are now considered an early maturing medium-frame animal. The Boran breed is known for its low production costs and the ability to produce an excellent carcass that can be marketed off the veld.
Action needed against municipalities
South Africa’s rural areas are buckling – and some have already fallen over – as corrupt officials suck the life out of municipal service delivery. This needs to stop.
Big Ben's Heroics Even Surpass Botham's Of ‘81
Peter Hayter chats to Mike Brearley, who compares Ben Stokes’ Headingley salvo with Sir Ian Botham’s 38 years earlier – a game in which he captained
Stokes Is The ‘Special One' For England
I intend to call him that for the rest of his career: Botham