10 October 2023
By: Lloyd Phillips
South Africa’s Brahman cattle breed continues to thrive. However, individual breeders have been urged to start sharing more of their registered animals’ performance data to enhance the national herd.
All 378 registered members of the Brahman Cattle Breeders Society of South Africa have been asked to regularly provide comprehensive performance data of their registered animals.
The data is crucial to keep the breed relevant amid continuously changing market and environmental conditions.
At Brahman SA’s 2023 annual meeting in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, breed director Sietze Smit said only 60% of registered breeders voluntarily submit performance data in addition to mandatory birth weight data.
The additional data includes weaning weight, final weight, adult cow weight, scrotum circumference, days to calving, body condition, hip height, sheath/udder scoring, docility, and the results of phase C and phase D tests.
Wayne Porter, president of Brahman SA, said: “The breed has made significant progress in keeping up with scientific developments vital to the breed. I encourage you to continue submitting weaning weights and performance data. Also, samples for genotyping of herd sires and influential female animals.”
South Africa has 57 140 registered Brahman cattle: 39 521 females and 17 619 males.
Smit said one of the many benefits of having diverse performance data is that the offspring of a single bull whose semen is used by different breeders in various production environments can be closely monitored. These offspring’s individual performances can be used to generate more accurate breeding values for the bull.
Brahman SA’s regional representatives reported that demand and prices for Brahman cattle have varied from fair to high over the past year. This was promising, considering beef prices were on a downward spiral until recently, and in the context of various disease outbreaks.
“Exports to China and the Arab countries are increasing, which is beneficial for the local red meat industry. As prices improve, the demand for breeding animals will increase. We hope for good prices and that the demand for our breed will persist,” said Stephan Coetzee, Brahman SA’s council member in the North West region.
Michael French, representing the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape region, said three-day sickness and malignant catarrhal fever, commonly known as “snotsiekte”, made conditions challenging for Brahman and other cattle farmers. However, Brahman auctions in his region over the past 12 months yielded good results. “The 2023-24 rainy season is upon us, and I trust it will bring much-needed relief and benefits to farmers all over South Africa,” said French.
Ting Braithwaite, Brahman SA’s council representative for KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, said there were a series of breed promotion, training and education opportunities over the past 12 months. Livestock information days for developing cattle farmers, a cattle assessment course for beginners, farmer days for commercial farmers, and consumer education exhibitions at agricultural shows were offered.
“The Brahman breed has a strong position in the beef cattle market. We must work together to ensure that we grow this market and not allow obstacles to deter us,” Braithwaite said.