Hartebeestloop

Production Systems

Namibian logic:

“If a breed does not survive and perform well under commercial farming conditions, it has no right to continued existence in Namibia”.


There are 2 main production systems in Namibia:


This is probably the most practiced production system in Namibia. By far the majority of Namibian weaners find their way to South African feedlots.

At Hartebeestloop we take note of the requirements by the South African feedlots for the “ideal” weaner to maximize profits. We believe strongly in a win-win situation along the production chain and the requirements of our clients and their clients are taken into consideration in our breeding objectives.

Research has shown that weaners between 220 – 250 kg were constantly the best paid for during 2012 at different locations by various feedlot buyers.

The table underneath shows Hartebeestloop Bonsmara weaner weights (corrected to 205 days) for the last 5 years. We are right on target with our breeding objectives to produce weaners that will meet the optimum market price range at the right weight.


YEAR OF BIRTH

AVERAGE WEANING WEIGHTS (kg)

2007 (male & female)

238

2008 (male & female)

218

2009 (male & female)

230

2010 (male & female)

251

2011 (male & female)

242



The marketing of oxen in Namibia is done mainly by the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco). They are geared towards the high end markets like Woolworths in the Republic of South Africa and other niche markets in Europe as well as Norway and Denmark.



Meatco has specific carcass quality requirements to qualify for the maximum premiums paid by them.

Ox producers try to meet the carcass requirements because it means extra money in the pocket! At Hartebeestloop we have identified the most important traits necessary in our bulls to produce progeny that will meet the Meatco carcass requirements for maximum price.


  1. Above average post-weaning growth under extensive veld conditions. All Hartebeestloop bulls are subject to an extensive growth test of 270 days (9 months) under extensive veld conditions with strategic lick and mineral supplements. The testing is done under the auspice and direct control of the National Beef Cattle Recording and Improvement Scheme of the Agricultural Research Centre in the RSA and the Performance Testing Office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Namibia. We pride ourselves that we have never sold any bull that was not growth tested as part of the comprehensive Bonsmara performance testing system.
  2. Superb muscling because of the financial advantage of more meat and higher mass. Hartebeestloop bulls are scored for muscling based on visual appearance. Furthermore all bulls are subject to Real Time Ultrasonic (RTU) scanning for measurement of eye muscle area (in effect muscling). It can be measured to a high degree of accuracy with RTU and is also highly correlated to Retail Meat Yield. Eye muscle area is moderately to highly heritable and thus we can select for animals with good muscling. Our system is currently so well developed that our visual appearance scores and RTU scores for eye muscle area is highly correlated. Hartebeestloop bulls come with enough muscling and potential Retail Meat Yields to meet the requirements set by Meatco for maximum premiums and price.
  3. Early fat deposition to take advantage of the Meatco grading system. Meatco requires a thin fat layer to qualify for maximum premium price. Real Time Ultrasound (RTU) scanning is currently the most effective method to assess early fat deposition. All Hartebeestloop bulls are subject to RTU scanning to assess early fat deposition. Fat deposition is moderately to highly heritable and we use it as a selection tool to identify animals with sufficient early fat deposition.


The Hartebeestloop system of identifying and breeding bulls whose progeny will meet the Meatco premium price structure is most advanced and very reliable. Specific genetic lines of animals have been identified and we constantly strive to strengthen and improve these characteristics in those genetic lines.

HARTEBEESTLOOP BULLS (38) slaughtered at MEATCO

38 BULLS BONSMARA BREED AVERAGE(BLUP value)

AGE (mths)

30

GROWTH RATE PHASE D (g/day)

579

WEIGHT ON FARM (kg)

566

LIVE WEIGHT (kg)

543

SLAUGHTERED WEIGHT (kg)

325

DRESSING %

59.7

EYE MUSCLE AREA (cm2)

70

MEAT YIELD (BLUP value)

2.54 1.70


COMPARISON IN AVERAGE DAILY GAIN (ADG) between MEATCO EKWATHO SCHEME (EKW) ANIMALS & HARTEBEESTLOOP BONSMARA HERD (HART)

ANIMALS (2009/2010) No ADG (g/day) No ADG (g/day) DIFF
EWK EWK HART HART ADG (g/day)

HEIFERS

311

525

214

Winter 2053 258 81 407

149

Summer 1910 367 108 614

247

BULLS

374

679

305

Winter 18933 315 124 645

330

Summer 17861 437 134 711

274







The good rainfall in Namibia over the last couple of years has created a high demand for quality female animals. The market is especially interested in young pregnant Bonsmara heifers and the prices are at an all time high.

Hartebeestloop is proud to be associated with some of the commercial farmers that have entered the market for selling pregnant heifers. Our Hartebeestloop bulls have done outstandingly well and confirm our breeding philosophy of breeding “ALL ROUNDER” bulls for the commercial markets. Calving ease is and will always be one of our main breeding objectives. A great number of heifers sold (especially in the south of Namibia) are pregnant by Hartebeestloop bulls and we have received very positive feedback.

We encourage farmers to continue with the production of heifers. The Namibian beef industry can only benefit with the improvement of the national cow herd. The serious commercial farmers have recognized the superieur mothering abilities of the Bonsmara cow. The Bonsmara as a motherline breed gains rapid momentum in Southern Africa.


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