Like many other parts of the country, Vastrap has been affected by a severe drought this year. By last week the veld was looking very desert-like with no roughage or green shoots for the animals. Things were so bad that we started grazing animals in the road and calling in favours to get extra feed bales from the Cape. Worse than that, most of our earth dams had run dry. In the 16 years on the farm, I cannot remember it ever looking worse. Thankfully, a huge storm rolled through our district on Friday providing massive relief. It will take a week or two for the veld to rejuvenate, but at least there is some water in our dams now.
We were starting to get very worried about the impact of the drought on our annual embryo programme in December given the importance of environmental factors for fertility. Embryo flushing still forms an important part of Vastrap Boran’s breeding strategy. We flush only our best (5-7%) animals and only once a year. Hopefully, the rain has come just in time to salvage this year’s programme.
Flushing enables us to multiply our best genetics, thereby systematically improving our herd more rapidly than natural breeding. It also enables us to test different combinations of cows and bulls and to introduce new bull genetics with bought semen. Although there is some experimentation, 80% of the combinations we use in flushes are ones that have already proven themselves. Below are photos of some of the stunning cows we will be flushing next month.
4 thoughts on “At Nature’s Mercy”
Wishing you the very best as you traverse this rain season which certainly will not be so rainy and hoping your bulling and breeding season gets right! We seem to be similarly affected in a Zambia.You magnificent cattle always inspire me to keep on improving my boran herd and I hope to acquire some of your genetics in future.
Thank you so much Chimuka. Great to hear from you. Our animals have weathered the drought relatively well but we really hope things get better from here. All the best for your season too. Come and visit us soon!
Born weaners how do they perform on feedlots.
Please see the article we wrote recently about the performance of Boran cross-bred animals in a feedlot trial.