RECORDING FOR PROFITABILITY
- Our sheep studs made a name for themselves not only in South Africa but also overseas, because we don’t only try to breed good looking animals, but also concentrate all our efforts on breeding the most profitable animals. We are doing the same with our Borans.
- We do not record and Performance test our animals because we have to, but because we are absolutely passionate about breeding the most profitable cattle.
- All recording is done on the Beefpro program and the analyzed date intensely studied so as to make the correct decision on selection for our own breeding.
Selection to achieve the following is carefully assessed.
Heifers must calve before 3 years but preferably at 2 ½ years.
All cows must calve naturally each year
Weight of the calf at birth has become very important to us as some Boran bulls definitely have a problem giving too big calves, aspecially on the younger heifers. There is a big variation in the size of calf between the lots of different bulls we have used. Bulls having given a problem will not be used in this stud again as it negatively affects profitability due to los of calves and also more management costs having to continually monitor the cows. We believe a lot can be done to solve the problem amongst certain of the Borans but only if Breeders stop denying the fact, record birth weights and select accordingly.
The mothers weight is also recorded at birth as we select for mothers that don’t lose to much weight between birth and wean as these are the ones usually not conceving to calve the next year.
At seven months (205 days) the calf and mother are again weighed. This is done to determine the efficiency of the cows production. By selecting for this trait we prevent our cows from ever becoming to big. At present our average is 53,4%, well above the breed average.
Heifers and bulls are again weighed at 18 months as we are selecting for early maturing bulls and heifers. A good bull must be spotted at 2 years and not only at 3 or 4 years as some breeders believe.
We believe to much milk and to little milk are both a problem. The first causing cows to lose to much body weight and then failing to conceive, especially when they start getting older and the second to insufficient growth of calf. With all the above data we can carefully asses the cows with just the correct balance as they are always the most profitable.
- Our approach to breeding Borans has always been long term success, rather than short term money making. Y not flushing and doing as much as possible in the natural way commercial farmers, breed cattle for profitability. We hope to be amongst the first Boran breeders to have accurate BLUP values. Again we will then go to great lengths to analyze the maternal values and the terminal values in such a manner that all trends have a upward curve because everything is being selected for in balance.
- When gene testing reaches a stage where we can confidently use it for selection purposes we again hope to be ahead of the other breeders because of the good data we have gathered under the correct conditions.
- We are fully aware of the fact that it is just as important to breed good looking Borans as it is to breed productive Borans. Because of this we evaluate all our cattle according to phenotypical and use the remarks codes we helped draw up for the Society. WE also give them a linear score for condition, general appearance and retention in stud.
- By doing all of this we are again getting the balance just right and breeding not just pretty cattle or productive cattle but PRETTY PRODUCTIVE CATTLE.
REMARKS & CULL FAULT CODES:
We have used remarks & cull fault codes in our sheep studs over many years. With the introduction of our Borans we have imediately introduced the same record keeping procedure as with our sheep stud.
We use these codes for any remarks we wanto make about an animal/s. As the saying goes, “a short pencil is better than a long memory“. We record which ever data about an animal this way so that in the future if a matter arises we can trace back to see, does it come through the generations or is it something new.
NB: It is important to note that these codes are not just cull codes, but for remarks of aswell as GOOD traits of animals.
Below you wil find a short example of what we use, for the full list go to “DOWNLOADS” to download the full chart.