The herd started in 1995 with 30 cows which I bought at production and total dispersal sales. It was the same time I lost my father and that’s why I named the stud after him: HANZYL BONSMARAS.
I bought cows from the following herds: Arcadia Bonsmaras, Zinabos Bonsmaras, Robco Bonsmaras, BOK Bonsmaras, Umpukane and a few others. From the outset we mated our heifers for 63 days at 14 months of age and are still following the practise.
Currently the herd consists of about 270 producing cows and 80 replacement heifers. Our official stats supports our breeding objectives ie: AFC = 26 Months, TKP = 367 days and Reproduction Index of 120.
The farm is situated about 100km south east of Bloemfontein and about 25 kilometer from the small town of Dewetsdorp in the Southern Free State. The official carrying capacity is 6ha/LSU. The average rainfall range between 400-600mm per year and the temperature differs from 34-38 Celcius to as low as -8 C during winter.
To live out my God given talents and under the strict guidance of my Heavenly Father to breed cattle that will improve the profitability of my customer’s beef operations.
Profit per hectare will be the main aim. This will be achieved through a zero tolerance policy against infertility and secondly by increasing the stocking rate while caring for andimproving the natural resources.
To breed fertile, well adapted, economically efficient Bonsmara cattle:
This means female animals that fall pregnant at 12-14 months of age (earlier puberty) during a short mating season (63 days) and managed to deliver a calf every year with acceptable growth (doing well in feedlot and as a backgrounder) under natural veld conditions with a strategic lick supplement program.
Futhermore we strive to breed low input genetic’s in sync with nature. All our females must be profitable which we measure with the self develop GPI Index (Global profit index)
My belief is that any studbreeder must first be an effective, profitable commercial breeder. Our cattle must first be outstanding commercial animals before they can breed genetic’s for someone else.
The level of management were decided upon 17 years ago and I stick to it. That was natural veld with a phosphate suppliment in summer and a maintenance lick in winter with the changes of the seasons. I also believe we must increase the stress levels under which the animals must perform to a level that create a 10% fall out. I believe this is the only way by which you can keep the level of your genetic’s improving.
I never up my management level to help poor performers “survive”. Rather find reason to cull than excuses to keep an animal in the herd. Under this management level the HANZYL BONSMARA breeding objectives are simple. A Dividend from every cow (from the age of 2 years) each year either a calve or herself. She must have a retention rate of > 50% after her 4th calf and must have a average GPI > 90. Firstly we cull ALL open cows. We try to identify the cream ASAP and follow a zero tolerance philosphy against infertility.
Considering indivudal traits I mainly concentrate on the economically important once
- Birth DIR EBV = Breed AVE + (to low birth mass leads to to low WM)
- W Dir EBV = Above breed ave and W Mat on breed average or slightly below
- 365 day EBV on breed average
- Restiction on Shoulder height (size)
- FCR EBV below breed ave
If we are brutal on reproduction and as long as we don’t increase the input level nature will show us the ideal size. At the moment the cows that are the best performers regarding reproduction weigh’s around 500-530 kg at weaning. They manage to produce a calf that weigths 48% of their own body in > 370 days.
Manangement of resources
We managed our veld according to Riaan Dames Controlled fodder flow management system. Stocking rate and fertility in a cow/calf operation are the 2 most important aspects of profitability. We only suppliment what we took away by putting up fences. Our stocking rate are currently 30% higher than the old carrying capacity norms for the region with no negative effect on reproduction and our veldt have definetely improved.