Innovation called for in SA’s stud cattle breeding sector

SA’s stud cattle breeding societies and breeders needed to realise that commercial cattle breeders were their most important clients and position themselves accordingly, said to Prof Frikkie Neser, animal scientist at the University of the Free State.

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Speaking at the Bonsmara Red Day in Bothaville recently, Neser said commercial farmers needed easy-care breeding animals that were well-suited to cross-breeding, highly fertile and with top growth rates.

Stud breeding selection criteria therefore needed to be brought in line with commercial breeders’ requirements.

The time had also come for the South African Animal Improvement Act to be amended in order to provide for the compulsory inclusion of commercial cattle in the national cattle database, he said.

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This was needed for more effective management of the national cattle herd, the traceability of locally produced beef, correct statistics and improved disease control, said Neser.

“If we do not start thinking differently about the stud cattle breeding industry in South Africa we might very well end up without one,” said Neser.

He said the time had come for stud breeders’ societies to start considering merging as breeders tended to select for the same traits in different breeds. This would increase gene pools and to divide costs.