Joined Oct 11 2010
41 years old
Our farm is situated close to Burgersdorp in the Northern part of the Eastern-Cape province. The Stormberg mountain range forms a large part of our district, and thus our climate is prone to extremes. Our summers are hot, and winters are very cold with temperatures dropping below freezing on a regular basis. The average annual rainfall tends to be 450 mm, although the summer can be dry until late December. The area is known to be a cross-over zone between the Karoo and Free State province, thus our veldt consists of mixed grass and “bossieveld.”
It has taken a few years of research, and a couple of experiments, to decide upon which cattle breed would perform best in our region. Cattle breeding is a long staircase to climb. It takes time and we wanted to be certain that we climbed the correct one. We were looking for a breed of cattle, not only popular at present, but one that would be able to perform as markets and farming methods kept on changing.
People have become more health-conscious than ever before and there is a tendency in other countries for people to insist on organically produced “grass fed beef.” Input costs are rising and farmers need to diversify more, thus reducing the amount of time that they have to devote to their cattle. It was also important to find a breed that would be popular in the current feedlot market system, yet preferably be rounded off from veldt conditions. In this sense, we realised that it would have to be a breed with a finer bone structure, which could produce meat at a faster rate, be able to gain fat mass, as well as having a good muscle-to-bone ratio; a very important factor from a butcher’s point of view.
We also wanted to save on time, labour, and additional processing costs in order to reduce the input costs. This made us realise that it would have to be a breed which could deliver small calves at birth, yet be able to display rapid growth. On top of that, it also had to be a polled breed, hardened against diseases transferred by parasites, therefore an indigenous breed.
If one analyzes all the breeds, one will realise that it is difficult to find all these attributes in one breed, thus we were rather disappointed, until a friend and cattle expert, Stefan van Wyk, introduced us to the Tuli. On his recommendation, we purchased twenty female animals and the bull HWP 99 250 at the clearance stock sale of Mr Wallace Potgieter, who brought his farming enterprise to a halt.
We exposed the Tulis, as well as other breeds, to the same circumstances over a period of two years, and we saw that the twenty Tuli cows were in calf during both years, and that it wasn’t even necessary to assist during one birth, or burn one calf’s horns. On top of that, the cows weaned an average of 54% of their own weight.
In 2004, we joined the Tuli Society, and acquired additional female animals from Koot and Jan van der Walt of Rits Tuli’s, Russel Clark of HBH Tuli’s, Cornelius and Albie Rautenbach of Nonnie & Langlyf stud, Dave Mullins of Avondale stud, and finally from the stock clearance sale of Piet Smit and Hercu van Niekerk. We are very excited about the progress our Tulis have made, and look forward to each year’s calf produce.
It is our goal to strive towards breeding animals that can deliver marketable meat of great quality from the veldt, at the lowest cost, and least effort required. The Tuli perfectly fits into this picture, and we believe that they will balance more farmers’ books in the years to come.
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