|Well-known Breeders at Central Select Auction
The Central Select Auction has proved to be a popular event in Agra’s auction calendar for the past seven years. On the 12th of September, four of the country’s most popular breeders in breeds such as the Brahman, Limousin, Simentaler and Simbra, will again join forces to offer animals for sale at the Agra/Standard Bank Ring.
Breeders that have made an indelible impression on the Namibian stud industry and will offer animals at the auction are:
Simbra breeder Diethelm’s love for farming was nurtured by his parents in the 1960s who then farmed with Manso Brahmans. As a student in the United States in the 1980s, Diethelm completed his practical training on a Santa Gertrudis and Brangus stud ranch in Texas. It was during this time that he worked intensively with cattle and was eventually responsible for the management of both herds. Regular contact with the Texas A&M Information Services, which acted in an advisory capacity, not only served to increase his knowledge but also greatly stimulated his interest in breeding.
Upon his return to Namibia, Diethelm deemed it important to engage in a farming activity that would prove challenging, be economically viable and add value to the farm. Whilst the decision fell with breeding, the choice had to be made regarding breed. Synthetic breeds were the answer in terms of easier herd management, targeted marketing and the Simbra Breeders Association was newly established at the time. Diethelm opted for the Simbra breed due to the following three reasons: His parents bred with Brahmans and had cross-bred with Simmentalers for a number of years; the two breeds representing the largest gene pool in Southern Africa, which implied that the right interventions would enable genetic advances.
Although Diethelm takes his clients’ needs and preferences into consideration in the application of his breeding policy, the most important aspect remains the productivity of cows (paired with criteria such as first calving, conception and between-calf period). The Simmentaler and Simbra Breeders Association made Simbradex available, which can be used to gauge the productivity of every cow in the herd. It is furthermore important that cows produce calves suitable for economic production and that bulls, which are produced not only for the local but also Southern African markets, have the ability to adapt to a number of environments.
The exceptional quality of Diethelm’s stud bulls is reflected in his stud’s “T-line”. Amongst others, Makam Teufel sired Metsibra Tingeling, Metsibra Tundra and Metsiba Triple V, all three of which have won championships in Windhoek, Gobabis or Pretoria. Kamab Tarzan, the bull sold for N$ 62,000 at the Central Select Auction last year, and Kamab Toronto, nominated the Reserve Interbreed Meat Breed Champion at the Windhoek Show last year, are sired from Tingeling.
Tundra, in turn, has sired such well-known bulls including Metsibra Timon (twice a Reserve Interbreed Champion at the Windhoek Show), Metsibra Pumba (Interbreed Meat Breed Champion at the Windhoek Show) and Metsibra Texas.
Toronto is currently still used in Diethelm’s herd, whilst the other abovementioned bulls are used as sires in Namibian and South African herds.
In addition to these achievements, the Kamab Simbra herd has won various bull, cow, heifer and group championships. It is truly remarkable that the herd won the 2004 Pick ‘n Pay Landbou Weekblad Stud Bull of the Year Competition, a second place in the Cow Group of the Year Competition and a third place in the Stud Breeder of the Year Competition.
Diethelm will offer 14 of his top bulls for sale at the Central Select Auction. In his own words, he lays great value on providing excellent service to his buyers. This includes, amongst others, providing assistance in ensuring that the right bull is selected for the buyer’s given circumstances and that value for money is received.
Stephan Voigts’ family has been involved with Simmentalers since 1895 when Stephan’s great-grandfather imported the first Simmentalers to Namibia. Stephan gained a great deal of first-hand experience by managing his mother’s herd of 80 cows for a number of years before buying Mrs. Rusch’s herd, Ruschberg Simmentaler, in 1997.
His preference for the Simmentaler is not founded in tradition, rather because the breed delivers the best results for him. According to Stephan, over the last 110 years the Simmentaler has proved that it can reproduce in even extreme circumstances. He has high expectations from his animals: cows must calf early for the first time and regularly thereafter; wean heavy calves (good milk characteristics); and deliver an optimum slaughter carcass. In addition to meeting all economic characteristics under the current grading system the Simmentaler has a calm temperament.
Voigtland Simmentaler Stud believes that easy calving is vital in our varied circumstances and that animals must be structurally sound with well-balanced breed values. A mid-term goal is to breed animals with good pigmentation. The applied breeding policy consistently takes the client’s considerations into account and strives to meet these needs. At between 16 and 18 months, heifers are paired with a bull for 45 days and are taken into the cow herd after the first calving. Two mating seasons are used and all animals are weighed regularly. All female progeny is scanned for carcass characteristics.
Stephan used a number of AI bulls in the stud in the last few years and was pleased with the results delivered. The bull Kykso Haped delivered the best offspring, which have in turn performed exceptionally well. Ascribing to the principle of assuring quality by using only the best bulls, the last couple of years have regularly seen bulls bought and used with great success from J. Pretorius’ Jacat Stud. Currently approximately 200 cows are served by a bull and the following bulls are used: JAP023 from Jaap Pretorius, GV03213 a self-bred Haped offspring, E0356 a new strong medium-frame bull, GV0352 a self-bred Jim offspring and GV03214 exhibiting exceptional breed values and strong characteristics required by the commercial market.
For Stephan the best form of recognition for the high quality animals he offers at auctions is received when a buyer returns to purchase a second animal from Voigtland. Over the years the stud has proved itself as one with which to be reckoned, highlights including: awarding of the Queens Cup in 1993 to a 13-year old cow that had produced 11 calves and was showed for the first time. In 2003, the herd attained a third place in the Pick ‘n Pay Breedplan Breeder of the Year Competition for Southern Africa and a second place in the 2004 Simdex (Fertility) competition.
Voigtland Stud will offer 18 bulls at this year’s Central Select Auction. The bulls are an average of 34 months old and sired by various bulls. The bulls were at pasture until 31 months of age and received only phosphate lick. To ensure showing to their full potential, they were rounded off in the veld 90 days before the auction.
Sigi von Lüttwitz
Well-known Brahman breeder Sigi von Lüttwitz has been involved in stud breeding since 1975 whilst working as a farm manager and his dream to own a herd of red cattle was realized in 1995 when he started farming with his own herd. His choice fell in with the Brahman due to its prime suitability to the Namibian environment.
Fertility is the keyword in the Onjati Brahman Stud and it is aimed to breed bulls from cows that can wean a calf a year. Performance testing and BLUP values are important components of selection to ensure that bulls of the correct phenotype with the ability to make a positive genetic contribution to the improvement of certain selection goals can be offered.
A bull that delivered excellent results was Omatako Quatro EI22-90. He delivered quality muscular, medium frame animals with good udders. Currently there is no cow in the herd without the bull in her genealogy.
The stud can be proud of the fact that its bulls are distributed throughout the country - from the Mangetti across the Owambo and Kamanjab areas to the Khomas Hochland and Omaheke Region – and that positive feedback is received regularly from buyers. Other achievements include receipt of the Queens Cup and that the Onjati herd twice received the Breed Championship at the Windhoek Show. In addition, the herd currently boasts the best between-calf-period of all Brahman herds in the country.
The stud’s Brahman offering at the Central Select Auction entails 5 bulls of which three are half-red. BLUP and breed values clearly indicate that in terms of meat production the red Brahman is in no way weaker than the white Brahman and that such perceptions are often cultivated by irresponsible rumours spread by meat producers in Namibia and South Africa. The bulls are approximately three years old and were fed for the first time during the rounding off period for the show.
The Wilkens family started breeding with Pinzgauers in the 1960s and Sigi joined his father in farming after completing his studies in the 70s. In time Sigi however realized that the Pinzgauer was not a breed suited to Namibia and had to make the decision whether to continue breeding or phase it out gradually and switch over to another breed. The family visited Austria in 1996 and had the opportunity to view the Limousin from close quarters. It was here that the bulls greatly impressed Sigi with their incredible musculature and yet fine bone structure. Local farmers also provided the assurance that they did not experience calving problems, which, due to intensive feeding, is a larger problem amongst their Austrian counterparts.
With the decision to switch to another breed approximately 5 years ago, Sigi fell in with the Limousin, not only because it was relatively unknown but also because he had a predilection for the breed. A main reason for the choice was calving considerations. In Namibia in particular, with its extreme conditions and numerous predators, calving must take place easily. Experts ascertain that bigger, thicker bones, which do not give way as flesh does, prolong the birthing process. Limousins are small at birth and grow rapidly; they have the best Bone:Meat ratio, which in turn means that they produce more sellable meat. Limousins also boast a good slaughter percentage, which means more money-in-pocket for the farmer, a characteristic Sigi feels farmers need to be made aware of.
Omateva Limousin Stud’s breeding policy strives to produce animals that are suited to Namibia i.e. renew their coats after winter, have small births and a good temperament. It is furthermore aimed to breed a medium-framed Limousin with good walking ability and to improve udder development, which is not as good as that of Pinzgauers. Bulls with poor testicular development are slaughtered.
Sigi bought his first bull, Limerik 96-0064VB in South Africa to help achieve these goals. Limerik, a bull with high potency, laid an excellent foundation for the herd and Sigi has many satisfied buyers of his offspring. The stud has since acquired other bulls that have yielded promising offspring: Gustav 00-0059EL from Ruben Vermaak, Knot 99-0039VG from Pierre van Niekerk and Devlan 98-0088DK from John Devenport.
The stud will offer ten bulls, of which three are descended from Limerik and the rest from the well-muscled bull Devlan 98-0088DK, at the Central Select Auction this year. Dr. C. Lichtenberg has tested the bulls for fertility and blood tests for BVD and EBL have been taken. What now remain are stringent inspection by officials and finally the most difficult task by buyers in making their choice.
Although Sigi has bred Limousins for a relatively short period, he has already made a name for himself with his high quality stock not only as a member of the Limousin Breeders Association, which is also a member of the Namibian Stud Breeders Association, but also a participant of the BLUP system. With his vision to become one of the best Namibian Limousin breeders and to make a valuable contribution to the Namibian meat industry, he is already starting to reap the benefits through positive feedback from satisfied breeders.
This year’s Central Select Auction’s offering is the cream of the crop, the result of intensive selection by the applied by these four breeders. To ensure that the best possible quality is offered to buyers, fertility is consistently regarded as the most important characteristic and selection criteria applied in these herds. The Central Select Auction this year furthermore provides sellers subsidized transport as a token of gratitude for their support of and participation at the auction. This means that each bull sold will be subsidized according to the seller’s farm’s distance from Windhoek. Within a radius of 0 –149 km from Windhoek each bull will be subsidized with N$ 250, from 150 – 299 km with N$ 500 and 300 km and more with N$ 750.
Agra Stud Services is proud to be associated with these established, well-known breeders who have supported Agra actively for so long. We wish each breeder a successful auction and trust that the animals will fetch prime prices.