Breeding season has begun!

The first rain of the season heralds the start of our cattle breeding season here in the Eastern Free State. After a good long rest over winter, our bulls have all been tested for fertility and STDs and now they are being put to work with the ladies. Here is group of young heifers, mainly from our previous herd sire Rustin MHB 06-30, who have been joined for the first time by one of our stunning young bulls, Zambucca VST 11-01 (Khan MHB 04-27 x Zelma). He is a very exciting prospect who is a strong contender to take over the role of herd sire at Vastrap. He is already on the job – any of you girls keen for a body slammer?!

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Fun at the 2014 Vastrap Auction!

Here are some photos of the 2014 Vastrap Auction this past Friday. We would really like to thank everyone from near and far who made the effort to be with us. Part of our love for the Boran is the amazing interactions we have had with fellow breeders, many of whom we now count as close friends. Hosting people in our home and on our farm is a crucial part of building these relationships. This year we were also very blessed to have our 7 month old daughter, Livia Lerato with us on auction day. She was fascinated by the animals and loved being passed around from one adoring auntie to another! Thank you to everyone who helped make this a special day. We look forward to doing it all again in 2015!

Please click HERE for more information about the top animal prices.

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Late afternoon contemplation.

Late afternoon contemplation.

Last animals being brought in.

Last animals being brought in.

Pre-auction dinner at Vastrap.

Pre-auction dinner at Vastrap.

Early morning refreshments.

Early morning refreshments.

Little Livia part of the action!

Little Livia de Bruyn part of the action!

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The pens.

The viewing pens.

Buyers looking around.

Buyers looking around.

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The auction ring.

The auction ring.

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

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Support crew!

The support crew!

Farewell Rustin!

We are proud to announce the sale of our primary stud sire, Rustin MHB 06-30 (Marula 25 x KPO 21) to Eloff Muller from Tambaraine Boran. Rustin has been the primary stud sire at Vastrap Boran for the past three years and has left an indelible mark on the herd with his great offspring. He is incredibly virile and has worked tirelessly! In our opinion, Rustin comes very close to being the perfect Boran bull. He has a great head, he is broad in the chest, and he has a perfect topline with well defined rib-eye muscles. He is well muscled with strong forearms and hocks. He weighs 780kg in good condition and has excellent capacity. To round things off he has a perfect sheath and an elegant tail which hangs to the ground. Most importantly he is virile and produces fantastic calves! Good bye our Rustin. We wish Eloff all the greatest success with this magnificent bull!

Rustin MHB 06-30 (Marula 25 x KPO 21)

Rustin MHB 06-30 (Marula 25 x KPO 21)

Rustin MHB 06-30 front view

Showing off his head, broad chest and muscular back (2014).

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Showing off his broad back and rib-eye muscling.

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In 2010 as a young bull with a bright future.

 

Putting our Bulls to the Test

This week we were visited by Siebert and Gerdus from Studbook who took measurements of our bulls for performance testing. Performance tests are an important complement to other criteria in our bull selection. We believe that rigorous selection criteria, which includes performance testing contributes to the betterment of the Boran breed. The tests allow us to rank each bull against its peers using a range of calculations derived from measurements of average daily weight gain (measured over 6 months); fat layering on the rump and rib; marbling on the sirloin and sirloin size; length and height of animal; skin thickness and scrotum circumference.

At the 2014 Vastrap Boran auction we will be offering 20 of our best 2011 bulls. These bulls will go through a three-step process of evaluation. First, inspection by the Boran society. Second, a more detailed inspection and grading  by a group of fellow Boran breeders, and lastly the performance testing. After each evaluation round the poorest performers are slaughtered and only 20 of the top performing bulls from a group of 50 will be offered at the auction. By doing this we endeavour to provide bulls that will be good ambassadors for both Vastrap Boran and the Boran breed as a whole.

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A cluster of Boran

At Vastrap Boran we’ve decided to coin a new collective noun for the Boran – a cluster. We think this perfectly describes the strong herd instinct of the Boran. They always stand together in a tight-knit group, which helps them to ward off predators and defend their young.  This attribute also makes it much easier to manage the herd as illnesses can be spotted quickly and animals are less likely to stray, especially in mountainous or bushy terrain.

The beautiful breeding cluster shown in the photos below is currently running with Rustin MHB 06-30, the main stud sire at Vastrap Boran.

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Losing Hope

There are few things more enjoyable than heading out after a long day on the farm to spend some quality time with our main herd of Boran cows. They are usually very happy to see us and come running in their cluster to say hello. Long before Quentin started his cattle stud he always told me that he loved being a stockman because cows have personalities. I didn’t really understand this until I met the Boran – curious, serene and beautiful animals each with their own little quirks.

The matriarch of our herd is Hope MHB 04-11 (see The HOPE bloodline). She is a beautiful polled white cow with a strong head and the most gorgeous gentle nature (see Hanging with Hope). Importantly, she is a breeder of bulls with three stud sires among her progeny (see Husky MHB 07-09 and Hero MHB 06-13). We are savouring every moment with her as she will be sold at our auction on 16 August. It seems terrible to have to let her go, but we’ve made a commitment to sell every single 9 year and older cow, which includes some of our very best (see 2013 Vastrap Boran Auction). Hope is the front-page girl on our auction brochure which will be released soon. I think she does a great job showcasing the quality of animals that will be on offer!

We’ll miss you Hope, but I think your absence might open the way for some other beauties to reveal their personalities. I can see there are some characters just waiting for an opening! You have left your mark on the Vastrap Boran herd and still have much work to do in your new home, where ever that may be.

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Heifer bonding

We spent Easter Monday morning replenishing salt licks and checking on the animals as our staff had the weekend off. These Boran heifers were weaned a month ago and seem to be doing really well.

Easter 056We have seen from visiting other farms that Boran cattle respond very well to a bit of extra care and attention. When time allows, we make an effort to bond with the animals. It’s a slow process, but eventually the effort will pay off and these little beauties will be comfortable with people and have great temperament.

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