New beef cattle breed officially in South Africa

The Droughtmaster beef cattle breed was officially introduced to South African stud and commercial beef breeders on 24 April in the Vryburg district.

New beef cattle breed officially in South Africa
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Droughtmasters come from Australia where the breed was developed by crossing Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds. The cross was designed to overcome the perennial problems of drought, ticks, heat, eye cancer and other challenges inhibiting production and profitability, according to the Australian Droughtmaster Breeders’ Society. 

The first genetics were introduced to SA in the 1990s by Vryburg stud Droughtmaster breeder, Johan van der Nest, who came across the breed during a visit to Australia. “I was impressed by the Droughtmasters. They display a high Bos indicus content, are slick coated and the bulls are exceptionally muscular. The animals have solid colour, varying from yellow-gold to a dark red,” Van der Nest said.

In October 2012 the SA Droughtmaster club was founded with 42 members. Plans are afoot to form a breeders’ society and Van der Nest said the biggest challenge was to maintain high breeding standards and selection criteria, and to prevent the importation of sub-standard genetics. “The commercial beef producer in SA can only survive by producing beef more cost efficiently in the long run, by cutting costs, realising top prices and breeding functionally efficient cattle, such as the Droughtmaster. This hardy and exceptionally well adapted breed ensures optimum profits per hectare