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Droughtmaster breeders have finally obtained their status as a recognised and registered breed in South Africa which has been gazetted, approved and signed off by the registrar, Joel Mamabolo, and the minister of agriculture, Thoko Didiza. According to Simeon Hurwitz of Hurwitz Farming, this follows a struggle of more than a dozen years to get the Droughtmaster breed registered and recognised in South Africa.
As a result, the breed is undergoing a rebirth and rebranding exercise in South Africa. The name, Africa Droughtmasters, has been changed to Droughtmaster SA and the breed now falls fully under SA Stud Book.
How does the rebranding process work?
According to Stompie Olivier, president of the society, the registration was an extremely cumbersome process. Impact studies had to be done to prove that this breed really has something to bring to the table. These impact studies have to be approved by the registrar, then they have to be signed off by the minister of agriculture.
SA Studbook is the registration authority chosen to handle the registrations and performance testing. Droughtmaster SA is now registered on INTERGIS.
Johan van der Nest, who can be seen as the father of the breed in South Africa, toured Australia and noticed the Droughtmaster breed – cattle that are hardy and can bring good qualities to the beef cattle industry in South Africa. He then imported semen from Australia with the help of the Beefmaster Society.
Van der Nest founded a Droughtmaster club in South Africa 12 years ago. “We then searched for a registration authority in South Africa and at that stage, it was difficult to register the breed in the country. We then approached the Namibian Stud Breeders Association, which then accommodated the club in terms of registration. For the past 12 years, we have been legalising the animals through the association.”
There are currently 65 registered Droughtmaster breeders in South Africa and just over 10 000 animals. The breed’s popularity is growing rapidly.
What does the registration mean for the industry?
According to Olivier, they are now able to import new genetics from Australia. “We can legally import embryos and semen from Australia directly to South Africa, which will bring forth a big change on a practical level.” – Elmarie Helberg, AgriOrbit