VASTRAP BORAN (VST) is a Boran cattle stud owned by Quentin and Marisa de Bruyn. We are based on Vastrap Farm near Ladybrand in the Eastern Free State of South Africa. The “de Bruyn” family has farmed at Vastrap for four generations since 1870. After attaining degrees in civil engineering, business science and a masters in management, Quentin spent three years as a management consultant in Johannesburg. He eventually returned to his roots and took over the family farm from his father, Bill de Bruyn in 2000. He married Marisa in 2010 and convinced her to leave her life in Johannesburg, where she worked as an economist for the National Treasury.
From the start, Quentin was passionate about the cattle side of the business, in contrast to his father who spent much more time on crop farming. He made vast improvements to Vastrap’s commercial cattle business, which at the time comprised mainly Sussex and Angus breeds. After a decade of hands-on commercial farming, he was ready for a new challenge and instantly knew what this would be when he was first introduced to the Boran by a friend in 2010.
He purchased his first bull at the Boran National auction in June 2010 and soon after visited Kenya to experience first-hand what the breed had to offer (see Visiting the Boran in Kenya). He returned home more convinced than ever of the benefits of the Boran, particularly their indigenous traits and their amazing cross-breeding potential (see The Boran: God’s Gift to Cattlemen and Why the Boran?).
He bought his first SP cow, Eve TLM 02-43, in September 2010 and in January 2011, he made his first major purchase of JACKIE MHB 05-08 (see The JACKIE bloodline) from Mollshoop Boran for an all-Africa record cow price of R500 000. His passion for the Boran was so strong that he even took Marisa to Kenya on honeymoon in February 2011! By the end of that year we committed ourselves fully to the breed by acquiring the entire Mollshoop stud, which was originally established by from Jacques Moll in 1999. Now there was no turning back!
We felt incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to take over such an amazing group of animals from Mollshoop. Having the herd at Vastrap added a totally new dimension to daily life and created a big responsibility to maintain the quality of the herd and slowly build our own reputation as stud breeders. We hope that through hard work and dedication, combined with our enthuisiasm and love for the breed we will be able to grow and improve our animals. Above all, we wish to be good ambassadors for the Boran breed and to build lasting relationships with fellow breeders and our clients.
In 2013, the inaugural Vastrap Boran auction was held on the farm in partnership with Peinke Ranch, Frontier Boran, Bos Blanco and Bar Circle. Our aim was to deliver top quality animals to the market in an open, honest and transparent manner. We did this by offering all of our 2004 and older pregnant cows, which included some of the most famous Mollshoop cows, and all of our 4 year old bulls.
In 2013 we started performance testing all of our bulls (see Putting our Bulls to the Test) and introduced new criteria for bull selection to ensure that we sell only our best quality bulls, ones that will be good ambassadors for both Vastrap Boran and the Boran breed as a whole. In order to assure people that we are prepared to offer our very best animals at the Vastrap Auction each year we will offer all of our pregnant 7-year old females (no exceptions!) and all of our 3-year old performance tested bulls. In 2014 we presented all our 2007 cows, some of which were in the top ten of the whole Vastrap herd. Ever since we have continued with our transparent policy of offered every single own-bred 7-year old pregnant cow, together with 20 of our top 3-year old bulls and a selection of heifers on our annual sale. Our annual auction is our primary sales event and remains the best place to acquire the best Vastrap genetics.
We were very blessed for our hard work to be recognised by the breed society in 2015 when we were awarded the David Green Memorial trophy for the best managed medium-sized Boran herd in South Africa. Since then we have been recognised annually with a top 3 award at the Annual Boran awards ceremony and we have also received an Elite Silver and 2 Elite Gold certificates from Studbook for excellence in cattle breeding. In 2018 we were awarded a top 10 Elite Gold award for the Free State and Northern Cape.
Quentin reiterated his passion for the breed with the following remarks which still hold true today:
“The Boran breed continues to dominate my life. I cannot recall what my days entailed before I started farming with this amazing breed of cattle. Thanks to the Boran, I love what I do and I am more enthusiastic about life and about farming than I have ever been before. The fact that Marisa is able to share this journey with me also plays a major role. I enjoy travelling through the country visiting fellow breeders and many have become close friends.”