Meet the Bonsmara: A versatile beef cattle breed

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Adaptability is the most important characteristic to look for when selecting a functionally efficient herd. It is the ability of animals to survive, produce, and reproduce in a new or difficult environment.

When an animal is in a new environment, its priority is to survive. If it cannot adapt to the new environment, survival will not be possible. Only after the necessary adaptation has taken place can the animal regain condition and begin to reproduce.

Fertility and adaptability go hand-in-hand. Animals that cannot adapt to a new environment will not be able to reproduce. As a cattle producer, your goal is to have a herd in which every female animal produces a calf each year.

The Bonsmara breed is highly sought after, not only in South Africa but also throughout Africa. Countries such as Namibia have already established a society with more than 10 000 registered animals. In South America, the breed has grown to almost 30 000 animals registered with SA Stud Book and societies in Argentina and Brazil. This is testament to the breed’s ability to adapt to any environment in the world.

Read more about the success of Gelibar Bonsmaras here.

Growth efficiency is key

In a country where 70% of the meat consumed comes from feedlots, it is crucial to have livestock with good growth. Animals must have above-average daily gain and weight gain that is economically viable. That is why selection for animals with better feed conversion ratios has increased over the past two decades.

To be functionally efficient in feedlots, fast-growing animals are needed that can achieve growth while maintaining a good feed conversion ratio.

Bonsmara breeders are industry leaders in testing growth and feed conversion ratios. Each year, as much as 8 000 male animals are tested in on-farm growth tests and increasingly more bulls are being tested at central testing stations. In recent years, Bonsmara breeders have invested in private testing stations; there currently are six working stations throughout the country operated by Bonsmara breeders.

Only the best carcasses will do

The product of cattle is the meat consumers purchase. It is also the reason why any breed claiming to be functionally efficient must be able to deliver cattle that can reproduce while alive and produce a carcass that is acceptable to the consumer.

The Bonsmara is the irrefutable winner when it comes to the quality of carcasses produced. In the National Carcass Competition, Bonsmara has for the past 12 years produced the winners in the single carcass competition.

Read more about how Piet Mothepu achieved success with Bonsmara cattle.

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