We practice strict selection for economic qualities to uphold the breed standards.
Because of these strict selection standards we have contributed to the fact that Bonsmara could succeed in growing into the strongest and most professionally administrated cattle breed in South Africa in less than 25 years
Zinabos Bonsmara continually strives to produce a top quality product, by keeping these breeding objectives:
FERTILITY:The ideal bull is very fertile, produces quick growing calves, is docile to handle and is easy to maintain physically. This means the bull should be healthy and should require a moderate amount of feed to maintain a good weight. Reproduction and calf survival rates are the most important factors that determine the efficiency of our herd. In spite of the importance of reproduction it is generally accepted that in South Africa the calf crop averages between 60 and 65% per annum . Conception rates of cow herds are influenced by a number of interacting factors such as plane of nutrition of bulls and cows, the age of the breeding animals, herd health, libido and semen quality of bulls as well as the ability of cows to conceive and maintain pregnancy .We test our semen quality every year .
Bonsmara are renowned for their adaptability characteristic, and produce superb results in an extensive cattle operation. Cow must be able to provide the calf with enough milk to be healthy and strong. One piece that is crucial is the ability of a cow in the herd is not to only give birth to a healthy calf every year, but also look after it well enough so that it develops into a strong weaner calf.
The Natural resistance and immunity are good in our herd.
A cow should be able to provide her calf with strong immunity to diseases and a natural tolerance to ticks.
This is passed on to the calf through the cow’s colostrum in the first few hours and days after birth.
With Bonsmara cattle thriving in our areas notorious for their tick populations and disease, it is evident that our cows adapt to these harsh environments, and this characteristic is passed on to the calf. Our cows are ideal for use in crossbreeding programmes as they are excellent mother with low maintenance requirements.
MUSCLING:Everything starts with the animal’s skeletal framework. If the framework is correct then there is a good chance that the muscles, bones, ligaments and other anatomical structures that are attached to the frame, it will make it more acceptable. Correct placement of the thurl, pin bones and hip bones, as well as adequate width, capacity and excellent depth through the forequarter are important benchmarks that are used during the judging process. We emphasized the following traits:
- The length of hindquarter muscles and attachment low down the hock area.
- Sufficient width over the hock for the attachment of associated muscles.
- Length and meatiness of the rump and loin areas.
- General muscling with emphasis on the hindquarters, forearms and eye muscle areas.
With Bonsmara cattle thriving in harsh areas notorious for their tick populations and disease, it is evident that our cows adapt to these harsh environments, and this characteristic is passed on to the calf. We breed for this objective potential to build a strong long lasting herd. With all this we select with all 3 objectives in mind MUSCLING, ADAPTIBILITY and FERTILITY
- 2 seasons June-July (winter) and November –January (summer)
- November –January are the cheapest because our grazing are at its best during that time – good early summer grazing in a summer rainfall area then at its best for good milk production
- June –July the winter cows are still in good condition for conceiving and their heifer calves are also better ready for breeding next summer and at higher puberty
- 18 month heifers(summer calf) are at right weight naturally for Winter breeding
- 18 month heifer(winter calf) are ready for summer breeding
- Grazing in winter June –September mainly consists of maize stover
- Keep 1st calvers apart for the first season and see to it that they get the best grazing