Ampie Rossouw, the chairperson of the Bosveld Brahman Club, says there are a few reasons why the demand for breeding bulls for stud and commercial breeders in their region is limited – this has a direct influence on the prices paid for their animals at auctions.
Strict selection for better bulls
When Lukas Eksteen established the Bufland Bull Test Centre (part of Bufland Boerdery) in the area, it stirred up great interest among Brahman breeders in Limpopo. They seized the opportunity to collect more data that could benefit all breeders. Last year alone, despite the Covid-19 interruptions, 154 Brahman bulls were tested compared to only 60 bulls three years ago.
Once the test has been concluded, trained and knowledgeable selectors from the Brahman Cattle Breeders’ Society classify the bulls according to their genetic performance and phenotypic functional efficiency into A to D classifications. A bull with an A-classification is mainly suited for stud breeding and a D-classification is mostly slaughter bulls. The bulls in-between are mainly for commercial breeding.
Thereafter, senior judges from the breeders’ society may subject the bulls to another round of strict selection where superior bulls can qualify for the B-brand. To be able to bear this brand, bulls must meet the minimum standards of the breed, be older than 24 months, their dams must have an inter calving period of fewer than 520 days, and their weaning weight and scrotum size must meet minimum requirements.
Although the B-brand system is not compulsory, it is one of the tools that breeders from the Bosveld Brahman Club will utilize to offer top-class bulls to buyers at auctions.
Results of the performance test
Another valuable outcome of the performance test is that the carcasses of bulls that had been rejected and slaughtered were analyzed for beneficial meat traits, such as eye-muscle surface area, meat tenderness and percentage of fat marbling in the meat.
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