In 2000 it was decided to establish a combined herd of 1 500 Beefmaster breeding cows from the Compa Stud in Delmas, the Manjoh Stud in Nigel and the Creative Stud in Sterkstroom. The goal was to use top imported genetics and apply the Lasater Philosophy to supply hardy, veld-reared bulls to satisfied customers, write Gideon Brits and Tony da Costa.
From humble beginnings in 2001, the Beefmaster Alliance has established itself as an incomparable brand among Beefmaster breeders.
In 2007, Compa Stud and Manjoh Stud formed the new company Beefmaster Alliance. Creative Stud still sends its bulls from the Eastern Cape to be tested, and sold on Alliance sales. The cows and heifers are run in Nigel and the bulls in Delmas. This places all the cattle in the same environment to make selection more accurate.
In 2008, 1 000 females including 15- month-old heifers were synchronised and artificially inseminated with imported semen. In total, 1 800 registered females have been bred, making the Beefmaster Alliance one of the largest registered Beefmaster herds in South Africa. Compa Stud was also a founding member of the Beefmaster Breed Society 22 years ago.
Every female must produce a calf every year from the age of 24 months. If she doesn’t produce a good calf with a weaning index above 90, she’s removed from the herd. After eight years the dominant genetics in the Beefmaster Alliance herd are from imported Lasater bloodlines.
After weaning, all animals with an index below 90 or structural defects are culled. The survivor group is normally between 400 and 500 weaner bulls. These are left on pasture with a protein lick at a daily intake of 1kg/day in winter and 500g/day in summer. In October and March the bulls are weighed for yearling and 18-month-old weights. The bulls are screened and those falling below 90 on the index are culled.
Lasater Philosophy principles
The Beefmaster Alliance is committed to applying the Lasater Philosophy together with official performance testing through SA Stud Book and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). Six essentials are hardiness, milk production, conformation, weight, disposition and fertility. Beefmaster Alliance bulls are performance tested on veld grass. Of the screened weaner bulls, those above 100 on the index are short-listed according to dam records for ICP, average weaning weight, maternal instinct, and the most likely to produce good offspring.
The bulls are then scored and the top 50 selected as stud sires. These are put back on pasture and then sold at the National Beefmaster Auction or off the farm. The remainder of the bulls, some 220, are selected and prepared in veld camps for a production sale.
The Beefmaster Alliance has about 200 registered and performance-tested bulls for sale every year. This year’s sale will be held on 6 August with viewing and an open day on 5 August at the auction facility at Manjoh Ranch in Nigel.
Contact Gideon Brits on 082 457 2816.
Six essential characteristics of the Alliance herd
Fertility: Two-year-old stud sires are used in large, multi-sire herds. Females are impregnated by AI and natural service at 12 to 15 months old. All age groups are bred under veld and pasture conditions in a 60- to 75-day breeding season. Every female must conceive and wean a calf with an index above 90.
Hardiness: This is a genetic trait that can only be measured through performance and longevity. A cow must firstly produce a calf every year. The cow YP 88 148 was 18 years old and had produced 15 calves at an average weaning weight of 253kg and an average weaning index of 106.
Weight: All calves are selected based on weaning weight, yearling weight and 18-month-old weight. The data is part of the official ARC National Performance scheme and all calves below 90 on the index are culled.
Disposition: Calves with poor disposition are culled at weaning. Disposition is continually judged thereafter and those with unacceptable behaviour are culled.
Conformation: Muscling and length and width of hindquarters are emphasised in the selection of bulls as potential herd sires. Animals with structural defects are culled.
Milk production: Only bull calves with above 100 on the index are considered as herd sires. These bulls are most likely to sire daughters perpetuating heavy milk yield demonstrated by individual dams. Lightweight calves and cows weaning calves below 90 on the index are culled.