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 2016 Vastrap Boran Auction we will be offering 20 of our best 3-year old 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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Vastrap Boran Auction: Johnnie Walker Whisky Tasting

We had a fantastic time hosting guests from all over the country at the first annual Vastrap Boran auction. We were even able to tempt Boran lovers from Namibia to join us for the event – thank you Hermanus and Marlene Biewenga for travelling such a long way! People who stayed at guest houses in Ladybrand on Thursday night also joined us at Vastrap for a special whisky tasting evening sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Thanks to the lure of good whisky, neighbours from as far as Thaba Nchu even braved the cold to socialise with us! The tasting of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve and Johnnie Walker Blue Label was led by Derek Cuthbert, a whisky expert from Brandhouse in Johannesburg. Johnnie Walker Red, Black and Double Black was also available for comparison. During the tasting it was revealed that the buyers of the most expensive animals on the auction would each receive a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label – an exceptional treat indeed!

The menu was especially chosen to complement the whisky: smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis, chicken liver patè, mushroom patè, home made sausage rolls, a large steak and guinness pie, a decadent cheese board and mini chocolate cupcakes. A large outside fire pit helped to keep the smokers warm, while our Aga stove and Morsø fire contributed to a cozy atmosphere indoors. The revelry carried on late into the night, with some of the last guests only arriving at midnight! Thank you to everyone who made the effort to join us. We hope you had a great time and we would love to see you again next year!

Last minute food preparations.

Last minute food preparations.

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Hayley Breytenbach from Brenaissance Stud with her decadent cheese board.

Hayley Breytenbach from Brenaissance Stud with her decadent cheese board creation.

Stephen & Debbie Johnson from Frontier Borans, partners in the auction.

Stephen & Debbie Johnson from Frontier Borans, partners in the auction.

Rob Hamilton from Cambrai Stud getting to know Tumi & Patch.

Rob Hamilton from Cambrai Stud getting to know Tumi & Patch.

Derek Cuthbert with Jarren & Simeon Hurwitz from B. Hurwitz Farming.

Derek Cuthbert with Jarren & Simeon Hurwitz from B. Hurwitz Farming.

Albert & Karen van Zyl (Meander Boran) and Hanlie & Ockert Werner (Model Boran).

Marisa with Karen & Albert van Zyl (Meander Borane) and Hanlie & Ockert Werner (Model Borane).

Quentin with Ockert Werner & Hendy Mathews.

Quentin with Ockert Werner & Hendy Mathews.

Derek fielding questions.

Derek fielding questions.

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Braving the cold!

Keith & Karen Peinke from Peinke Ranch, partners in the auction.

Keith & Karen Peinke from Peinke Ranch, partners in the auction.

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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Auction Countdown

With only two months to go before the inaugural Vastrap Boran auction on 16 August, we’ve been very busy getting things ready on the farm (see 2013 Vastrap Boran Auction). Our cattle facilities have undergone a major upgrade over the past few months and the building is almost complete. The original cattle crush at Vastrap was not built to accommodate the needs of stud cattle, particularly AI and embryo flushing so we thought it was high time for an upgrade.

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Original crush more suited to commercial cattle.

We have moved an old unused shed from another part of the farm and it is now covering part of the new cattle crush, which Quentin designed. There is an enclosed area, which includes storage facilities, an embryo lab and kitchen and toilet facilities. All of these will come in very handy in the auction set-up. Lots of the windows and fittings have been recycled from other parts of the farm to reduce wastage. We also have great new loading facilities close to our house, which will save a lot of time and effort, because we previously used facilities on a neighbouring farm.

We’re on track to have everything ready at the start of August. In the meantime, visitors are very welcome at Vastrap any time to view our animals. We look forward to welcoming you at the auction on 16 August – don’t miss it!

The shed going up.

The shed going up.

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Loading facilities under construction.

The crush and loading facilities under construction.

Making progress with the walls.

Making progress with the walls.

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Loading facilities already in use.

Loading facilities already in use.

A clear-sky cold Free State morning!

A blue-sky cold morning in the Freeze State!

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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Introducing the 2013 Vastrap Boran Sale

We’ve been very busy finalising our plans for the inaugural Vastrap Boran Sale, which will take place on 16 August at our farm near Ladybrand in the Eastern Free State (click HERE to see where we are located). There is so much to plan and organise, but we are very excited to welcome fellow cattle farmers and stud breeders to Vastrap later in the year for our sale.

We have been working hard to come up with a concept that makes the Vastrap Boran auction special, one that stands out from the crowd and becomes one of the must-attend auctions of the year. To do this, we are introducing a new sale concept, which will guarantee that we consistently deliver top quality aminals to the market in an open and transparent manner. This year we will be selling all of our registered and pregnant 2004 and older females (no exceptions) and all of our 4 year old bulls. This includes some of the most famous Mollshoop cows such as Hope MHB 04-11 (see The Hope bloodline), Kelly MHB 04-24 (see The Kelly bloodline), Cindy MHB 04-06 and her full sister 04-04 (see The Cindy bloodline). There are also some very rare genetics such as a FE 93-66 daughter and grand-daughter. By placing all of our pregnant 2004 and older cows on auction you can be guaranteed that we are not being selective.

The timing of the sale in mid-August also lends itself to bull sales and again we are not being selective – every single 2009 bull is for sale.

This is our first annual auction and we want it to be a success. We will be serious sellers of every animal at the auction so that buyers return in 2014.

We are having the sale in partnership with Paul Pienaar (Bar Circle), Bernie Staal (Bos Blanco), Keith Peinke (Peinke Ranch) and Stephen Johnson (Frontier) in order to offer more animals, a wider range of genetics and younger female animals (particularly heifers).

We look forward to seeing you there. You will not want to miss out on this one!!

Hope Scene (2013)Kelly 04-24Cindy MHBGinger MHB 04-07EVE TLM 02-43Group of bulls

Touring with the Free State Boran Club

The Free State Boran Club organised a tour to Stompie Olivier (Hotspot Boran), Quentin de Bruyn (Vastrap Boran) and Makena Scheepers (Letselaskraal Boran). This was followed by a Boran stud breeders’ course held at Rikus Stander’s farm near Marquard (Mount Kenya Boran).

The tour was extremely well supported by 21 fellow Boran breeders. It was an awesome opportunity to showcase our Boran herd to fellow breeders and we really enjoyed the opportunity to see great quality animals in other herds. There was also plenty of time for socialising. Great thanks to our sponsors, OVK, Voermol and Embryo Plus, which enabled us to have an amazing evening at Oranje Guest Farm near Fouriesburg where we were treated to fantastic hospitality by Makena and Mona Scheepers.

Cindy MHB 07-10 - one of the cows seen at Vastrap Boran.

Cindy MHB 07-10 – one of the cows seen at Vastrap Boran.

At Makena and Mona Scheepers.

Free State Boran club members at Letselaskraal Boran with Makena and Mona Scheepers.

A cluster of beautiful Boran at the magnificent Letselaskraal.

A cluster of beautiful Boran at the magnificent Letselaskraal.

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Contemplating beauty.

Oranje Guest Farm near Fouriesburg.

Oranje Guest Farm near Fouriesburg.

Albert van Zyl and Rikus Stander.

Albert van Zyl and Rikus Stander.

The two day Boran breeders’ course was presented by Mario du Preez and Stefan Buys. The course is a must for both aspiring and current breeders with a focus on the tools needed to run a stud successfully and to create common goals for the Boran breed in South Africa. Again, we need to thank both Rikus Stander and Willie Anderson for allowing us to use their facilities and their animals to judge and for being so generous with their time.

The new committee of the Free State Club have started the year brilliantly with great communication, enthusiasm and delivery. The success of both the tour and the course can be squarely attributed to Albert van Zyl (Meander Boran), Rikus Stander and Stompie Olivier. Well done guys! Click here to see the new Free State Boran Club website.