Unique offering of 7-year old cows sets Vastrap apart

Unique offering of 7-year old cows sets Vastrap apart

The Vastrap Auction is distinguished by the fact that we offer for sale every single one of our own bred pregnant 7-year old cows. Each year these cows represent some of the best animals in the entire Vastrap herd and sometimes, the best in the country. This offers the buyer complete transparency and the opportunity to acquire an established herd matriarch in the prime of her productive life. We are excited to present the 2013 year group at the 2020 Vastrap Auction on Friday 21 August 2020.

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Over the past 8 years the Boran Society has consistently recognised Vastrap Boran as one of the best managed and best performing large herds in South Africa. This is significant, because it means that the value of our 7-year old cows is underpinned not only by their looks and genetics, but also by accurate performance values and progeny on the ground to showcase their quality.

Other breeders have often questioned how the Vastrap herd can survive the loss of the 7-year old group every year? The rationale is as follows. Because of our accurate measurement of performance, we are able to identify our best animals at an early age. These animals will be flushed once to ensure that we have more progeny on the ground by the time they are sold. Our cows have their first calf at 33-35 months so we get natural calves from them in years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Our philosophy is that a cow should breed progeny that are good enough to replace her within 4 years.

All of this underpins the value proposition for the buyer. The cows sold at the Vastrap Auction are offered under the auspices so they have been screened for conformation and are heavily pregnant or with calf. Within 3 and a bit years the buyer should have 4 calves on the ground from a top cow from one of the best herds in the country. All in all, the buyer reaps the  benefit of years of meticulous record keeping, research and top Vastrap genetics.

We are proud to be able to offer this unique opportunity to our clients. It has been heart-warming to see how many of the 7-year olds we have sold over the past 8 years have made their mark as herd matriarchs at their new homes. Here are some of the beauties that have gone under the hammer at past auctions.

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2017 Vastrap Auction: Farewell Mollshoop

2017 Vastrap Auction: Farewell Mollshoop

Thank you to everyone who supported the 2017 Vastrap Auction on Friday, 18 August. In many ways it was an emotional day for us as we bid farewell to the last remaining Mollshoop Boran cows that were the founding matriarchs of the Vastrap herd. Our Boran journey started with these cows and we have them to thank for the consistent quality and character of the Vastrap herd today. We bid farewell to the Mollshoop Jackies, Roses, Odettes, Hopes, Savannas et al and happily start afresh with their Vastrap (VST) offspring still carrying their names. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome as the results on the day surpassed our expectations!

This was our 5th auction and without a doubt the most smoothly run, thanks to the great service we received from the whole team at OVK/CMW led by Johan Scholtz and Paul van Biljon. From the marketing, the setting up, the auction logistics through to the loading and administration, we continuously felt a sense of comfort that everything was being run efficiently and professionally. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the OVK/CMW staff. We can wholeheartedly recommend OVK/CMW service to anyone thinking of holding a livestock auction. Thank you also to Johan van der Nest for bringing his A-game and lifting the auction with his usual unique style!

The organisation of an auction takes a huge physical and emotional toll, but it is all worth it when you see what an effort people make to get here. We were happy to see many repeat customers, but also lots of new faces, not only from the stud industry.

We are proud to be associated with all our guest sellers (Peinke Ranch, Pratos Borane and Heeltevrede Stoetery) who offered exceptional quality animals that did very well on the day. Huge congratulations to Peinke Ranch for having the highest price cow and bull on the day – Shakira PRB 14-21 (R205’000) and Leika PRB 14-18 (R140’000).

2017 Vastrap Auction Results
  Average Price Highest Price
All Bulls (17) R43 000 R140 000
Cows (25) R65 000 R205 000
Heifers (6) R34 000 R55 000

The average price of commercial pregnant cows was about R16’000.

Shakira PRB-14-21 sold for R205’000 to Damina Roberts.

Naledi MHB 11-52 sold for R140’000 to Rory Kockott KKT Boran.

Xany MHB 11-33 sold for R90’000 to Dr Ben Spies.

Rose MHB 06-03 sold for R85’000 to Peinke Ranch.

Jackie MHB 07-29 sold for R80’000 to Frontier Borans.

PRB 14-18 sold for R140’000 to Rohan & Dylan Meintjies Sterkfontein Borane.

Kingston VST 12-28 sold for R60’000 to Ockert Werner Model Borane.

VST 14-34 sold for R50’000 to Ockert Werner Model Borane.

PT 14-21 sold for R55’000 to Dr Ben Spies.

Vastrap Auction Bulls

Vastrap Auction Bulls

Hi everyone, it’s Quentin here. We are starting to gear up for the 2017 Vastrap Auction, which will be held on Friday, 18 August. This weekend, while taking photos of the new crop of 3 year old bulls that we’ll be offering, I noticed something which highlights the great value for money that can be had at our auction. We pride ourselves in our rigorous selection process for our bulls (see Bull selection & performance testing), offering only the best bulls for sale each year. There is something for everyone, bulls that will be an asset to any herd, stud or commercial, at very affordable prices.

The photos below illustrate how bulls that did not get sold at the auction last year, which I then held back to use in the Vastrap herd, have developed. These bulls could have been snapped up for a steal last year!

Two of the bulls offered at the 2016 Vastrap Auction (full brothers out of a Jackie/Khan mother, VST 13-59 & VST 13-102), which I really liked, did not get a bid. When they were not sold I kept them to use in the Vastrap herd. Another bull – a Goliat son VST 13-36 – was not offered at the auction because he was slightly less developed and I thought there were better Goliat sons in the auction group.

Here are some photos of the three bulls as they look now. I think that they have developed into pretty nice specimens and I am very happy to have them in my herd.

The main reason I wanted to share these photos is to demonstrate the real value for money you can get at the Vastrap Auction: a buyer could have picked these stunning bulls up for R18’000 last year and several others that went for between R20’000 and R25’000. Another reason was to demonstrate that Boran bulls only actually reach their prime at about 5-6 years and that one needs to factor this in when buying bulls. The bulls we sell at the Vastrap Auction are all between two and a half and three years of age and 100% veld raised. They are selected by their performance against each other on veld conditions and they are only made auction ready for the three months after selection.

For the discerning buyer, there are both very good value for money bulls and future herd sires available at reasonable prices. I have sold all my previous herd sires at extremely good prices to fellow breeders after I have used them for 3-4 years. It amazes me these bulls can sell for hundreds of thousands, yet people are not prepared to pay nearly the same for their sons that have been put through a much more rigorous selection process than their fathers and should perform better in the long-run.

We look forward to introducing you to our selection of bulls for the 2017 Vastrap Auction in the weeks ahead! Please let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Gumboots and raincoats at the 2016 Vastrap Auction!

Thank you to everyone who supported the 2016 Vastrap Auction on Friday, 19 August. We had a lovely dinner at Vastrap the night before the auction catching up with people who had travelled from far to be there. The next morning, quite unusually for the Free State at this time of year, we woke up to a huge thunderstorm and it rained on and off throughout the morning. It was cold and wet and muddy, but that didn’t deter the Boran enthusiasts who had travelled from far to attend the auction. We hauled out the gas heaters, lit a bond fire and handed out blankets and sherry in the auction tent to keep everyone warm! The team from OVK/CMW did a fantastic job of running the auction smoothly in challenging weather conditions. By lunch time the sun was shining and everyone enjoyed the steak braai for lunch. The organisation of an auction takes a huge physical and emotional toll, but it is all worth it when you see what an effort people make to get here. We were happy to see many repeat customers, but also lots of new faces.

There was something on offer for everyone, with prices varying from R16’000 to as high as R160’000. Astute buyers, who had done their research and know their genetics, were richly rewarded on the day with real value for money on top quality animals. We are proud to say that every animal that got a bid was sold without any negotiation. Our policy is to sell all animals that are offered on the day and not to quibble over prices. We are proud to be associated with all our guest sellers (Peinke Ranch, Frontier Boran, Brenaissance, Pratos, Kieras & Heeltevrede Stoetery) who offered exceptional quality animals that did very well on the day.

The average price of bulls sold on the day was R39,000. The top priced bull was VST 13-84 (Jackie MHB 09-20 x Khan MHB 04-27), which sold for R160’000 to Burnie Staal from Bos Blanco. This bull is the son of the top priced cow, Jackie MHB 09-20.

The average price of females was R34’000. The top priced female was a heifer, PT 14-08 (Shakira BA 08-86 x Magnum CI 07-127), which sold for R160’000. The top priced pregnant cow was Jackie MHB 09-20, which sold for R140’000. The top priced 3-in-1 was Faith PRB 12-08 (with a beautiful Zorro bull calf), which sold for R110’000.

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The importance of parentage verification through DNA testing

The importance of parentage verification through DNA testing

At Vastrap Boran, we verify the parentage of every stud animal through DNA testing at Unistel laboratories. This is not only because we use more than one bull in each breeding herd (multi-siring), but also because we believe that it is crucial to establish the parentage of our animals with 100% certainty.

The confirmation of the parentage of stud animals through DNA testing is still not compulsory in most cattle breeds, but there is a strong case that it should be. In our opinion, if the parentage of an animal is not accurate, the animal should no longer be called a stud animal and would be no different from a commercial animal. When buying a stud animal the parentage of that animal determines two out of the three criteria that one looks at to assess its breeding potential, namely genetic make-up and performance data. Even if an animal’s physical attributes are absolutely perfect, that counts for nothing in the world of stud breeding if it’s parentage cannot be verified.

In Quentin’s short time as a stud breeder, he has tried to learn from as many experienced breeders as possible. He has been fortunate to have interactions with many breeders who have much more knowledge about stud breeding than him. These include some of South Africa’s most prominent breeders in their respective breeds, Philip Barnard (Angus), Bernie Staal (Brahman & Boran) and Arthur de Villiers (Bonsmara). In chatting to them about what to look for in a stud bull, the common theme has been to use a balanced approach. A buyer needs to look at the bull’s physical attributes, at the bull’s performance data and at the bull’s genetic make-up (or parents).

Without parent confirmation through DNA testing a breeder/buyer cannot be 100% sure of the parentage of an animal. Errors can occur with allocating the sire of a calf in many ways. There can be errors in record keeping. A female can be accidentally allocated to an incorrect breeding group. The documentation with the pairing data can be lost or damaged. A stray bull can jump a fence while you are away and you are either unaware or your staff do not tell you for various reasons. One may even just plainly forget to write it down timeously. In short, it happens all the time even in the best-managed herds!

According to Dr Munro Marx from Unistel, random testing of stud animals through independent parentage verification tests have found parentage errors as high as 42% in South Africa. That is scary! Extrapolating this to the entire stud herds of any breed, it would render any performance data entirely redundant. Obviously, the high error rate of the independent testing is skewed because of repeat offenders and the fact that only animals that are not already DNA verified are randomly selected for testing. However, it is still important for buyers to be aware of the perils of buying something that is not parentage verified through DNA testing.

If the parentage of an animal turns out to be wrong, then two of the three factors that one considers in buying the animal become redundant and one cannot accurately predict the breeding potential of that animal. Moreover, it is now compulsory for all bulls being used in a stud herd to have their parentage positively verified through DNA testing. A bull whose parentage cannot be positively confirmed is cancelled by the breeder’s society and its offspring cannot be registered!

We have had personal experience with this in our Angus stud herd, when we recently had to deregister 16 stud heifers because we used a bull that could not be parentage verified by DNA. The bull was purchased from a respected stud breeder and it was used immediately before we realised that the DNA had not been verified. Our rush to use the bull at the start of the breeding season and our trust that all was in order on the seller’s side, ended up costing us dearly and this is not a mistake we will make again.

Given the importance of accurate parentage for stud animals, one has to ask whether it is worth taking the risk of buying an animal that is not DNA verified? In order to use a bull in a stud herd, the parentage will have to be verified eventually so why not before the point of sale, leaving the risk with the seller? We would suggest that all animals sold under the auspices of the Boran Society should be DNA verified. How else can the Society give a buyer the assurance of parentage of an auction animal and corresponding accuracy of the performance data? At the very least, the catalogue and opening information page on an animal on Logix should indicate clearly whether both parents have been verified through DNA.

Below is an example of one of the 20 three year old Boran bulls that will be sold at the 2016 Vastrap Auction, VST 13-102. This bull’s DNA animal information page on Logix, shows that his DNA and parentage have been verified. We can assure you that this is the case with all the animals we sell as is clearly printed in our Vastrap Auction checklist. The 4th Vastrap Auction will be held on Friday, 19 August @ 11h00.

VST 13-102

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Final bull selection for the 2016 Vastrap Auction

Final bull selection for the 2016 Vastrap Auction

Every year as part of our efforts to ensure that only the best 3-year old bulls are offered at the annual Vastrap Boran Auction, some independent fellow Boran breeders help us to do a visual evaluation of our bulls. It was one of the coldest mornings of the year, but seeing how far the bulls have come made it all worthwhile. We had two visitors from Botswana watching the proceedings and we made sure they were bundled up in warm jackets and beanies!

Stompie Olivier (Hotspot Boran) has been showing with cattle ever since he could walk and we highly respect his knowledge and eye. Due to his “showing” experience, he has an excellent eye for conformity and correctness of both females and bulls. Oom Theo van Zyl (Faurzyl Boran) has been a stud breeder for 30 years and is very strict and picky in his selection of animals. He know what commercial and stud breeders are looking for and which type of bulls breed well. Rikus Stander (Mount Kenya Boran) has a very keen eye for detail and does not miss faults like small testes, bad hooves and leg conformation. He was unfortunately not able to attend our selection day this year. These breeders and cattlemen have knowledge and experience way in excess of ours. They are also not emotionally involved with our cattle and their opinions are not biased due to sentimental attachment to certain dams or sires. We are grateful for their time, effort and the honest opinions and critique they give. As a stud breeder, Quentin believes that one should continuously learn from those more knowledgeable than yourself, continue to grow, ask questions and take constructive criticism.  The path to becoming a better breeder is a journey and not a destination.

All breeders place slightly different importance on certain attributes and each bull is discussed to reach consensus. The evaluations are based purely on phenotype (not genetics). Structural correctness and meat attributes are used to give bulls a rating of A+ for herd sires, A for stud sires, B+ for top commercial , B for average but passable and C for cull.  It is quite important to note that these bulls are all fully registered SP Boran bulls, having passed inspection by the Boran Society of South Africa. They have also been selected against each other based on their performance in a phase-D veld performance test (see Bull selection and Performance testing).  Of the original 70, that started the year, 43 were left over for this physical inspection by the independent breeders. Typically there are about 5 bulls that get an A+ rating, 15-20 that get a A- or A rating, 15-20 that get a B+ rating and about 10 that are B or C.  The B’s and C’s are all culled even though they performed well in the veld test, have been passed by the Boran Society, but are not deemed worthy of the Vastrap Boran brand and will not be good ambassadors for the Boran breed.

Only 20 of our best 3-year old bulls will be offered at the 2016 Vastrap Auction (Friday, 19 August 2016). These 20 have been selected using a combination of their phase-D veld test performance and their physical evaluation with genetic diversity playing a smaller role. Vastrap bulls not only encompass the best genetic combinations from proven lines, but have also gone through far more rigorous selection than their fathers ever did. Watch this space to see which bulls made the grade in our final selection!

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3rd Vastrap Auction done and dusted!

3rd Vastrap Auction done and dusted!

We enjoyed a fantastic day at the 3rd Vastrap Boran Auction on Friday, 14 August. So much time and effort goes into planning the auction and there is always a lot of stress about how things are going to turn out. It is such a blessing when we wake up to a beautiful, windless blue-sky day and know that there’s nothing more to do but enjoy it. As much as we love our cattle, the people involved with the Boran are very special too and we really enjoy the interaction we have with everyone around the auction. It is wonderful to see people coming back each year, but even better to see new faces and to have the opportunity to build new relationships. We are incredibly grateful for the effort that people make to travel from far to visit our little corner of the Eastern Free State to view and buy our animals. All the hard work really is worth it when the end result is so much fun! Thank you to our partners in the auction, Frontier Borans, Peinke Ranch, Bos Blanco and Heeltevrede Boran Stoetery for contributing to the success of the day.

For a full run-down of auction results please click HERE.

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Quentin's new Massey Ferguson tractor - the performance of the tractor and service from OVK their new agent in the Eastern Free State has been magnificent!

Quentin’s new Massey Ferguson tractor – the performance of the tractor and service from OVK their new agent in the Eastern Free State has been magnificent!

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Thank you to Fanie Els (Vleissentraal) and our auctioneer Johan van der Nest for their hard work and support.

Thank you to Fanie Els (Vleissentraal) and our auctioneer Johan van der Nest for their hard work and support.

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Our daughter Livia loving the attention from the Biewenga clan from Gobabis in Namibia!

Our daughter Livia loving the attention from the Biewenga clan from Gobabis in Namibia!

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Our boerboel puppy, Duma was also part of the action!

Our boerboel puppy, Duma was also part of the action!

Quentin in the ring with Beauty MHB 08-17.

Quentin in the ring with Beauty MHB 08-17.

Beautiful 'flowers' once again done by very talented Debbie Johnson!

Beautiful table arrangements once again done by very talented Debbie Johnson!

Hoof trimming demonstration by Jaco de Bruin and Renier from DairySmit.

Hoof trimming demonstration by Jaco de Bruin and Renier de Villiers from Dairy-Smid.

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(Top) Stompie & Elri Olivier, Makena & Mona Scheepers, Werner Steinhobel. (Bottom) Quentin Oosthuizen, Stephen Johnson & Henry Stretton.

(Top) Stompie & Elri Olivier, Makena & Mona Scheepers, Werner Steinhobel. (Bottom) Quentin Oosthuizen, Stephen Johnson & Henry Stretton.

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Guest sellers Wilco du Toit, Nils & Annerie Pieterse from Pratos Borane.

Guest sellers Wilco du Toit, Nils & Annerie Pieterse from Pratos Borane.

Tinus Bessinger, Evan de Jager & Lou de Jager from Groenland Borane.

Tinus Bessinger, Evan de Jager & Lou de Jager from Groenland Borane.

 

Learning from the Best

Learning from the Best

Vastrap Boran was very proud to be a part of the inaugural Boran Expo held on 13 March 2015 at Kroonboma. We had such a great time and really believe that this is a fantastic initiative set to become a highlight on the Boran calendar. Not only was it great to network and chat to other breeders in an informal and relaxed setting without the usual nerves and jitters brought on by an auction, but we also learned so much from the judging of the animals by Burnie Staal from Bos Blanco, who is a qualified cattle judge and a cattleman of huge experience and stature. The way he methodically assessed each animal on a set list of criteria was extremely enlightening and it just shows that there is always something new to learn. Some of the animals that we picked as our top three had weaknesses that we initially missed, while others like the cow who was eventually named Champion of the Yard, Jackie MHB 07-31, were significantly underrated by the general audience. Burnie has been a judge at the World Brahman Congress so he certainly knows a good animal when he sees one and we were honoured to have our animals judged by him.

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The day also brought unexpected success for Vastrap, with the winners in each category – best heifer, best young bull, best bull over 3 years old and best cow – all from our genetics! Groenland Borane, who were huge supporters of the 2014 Vastrap Auction, were well rewarded for their support by winning best older bull with Goliat MHB 06-47, best cow and Champion of the Yard with Jackie MHB 07-31 (Jackie MHB 05-06 x Khan MHB 04-27). We could not be prouder of this achievement especially since that Jackie was our personal pick of last year’s auction (see The Jackie Bloodline).

Jackie MHB 07-31 – Judged Best Cow and Champion of the Yard at the 2015 Boran Expo

Goliat MHB 06-47 – Judged Best Bull over 3 years old.

The happy team from Groenland Borane!

The happy team from Groenland Borane!

The winner of the best young bull was Jaguar VST 12-18 (Jackie MHB 05-08 x Co-Jack CI 08-30) who is definitely a rising star at Vastrap! His mother was one of the first cows that we bought for R500’000, a huge gamble that has certainly paid off many fold. The best heifer was Ginger TZ  13-05 (Ginger MHB 06-48 x Khan MHB 04-27) who is the result of an embryo that our neighbour Theo van Zyl (Faurzyl) bought from us. We are extremely proud that our young animals are doing so well!

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Jaguar VST 12-18 (Jackie MHB 05-08 x Co-Jack CI 08-30) – Judged Best Young Bull

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Ginger TZ 13-05 (Faurzyl) – Judged Best Heifer

What one learns very quickly in this game is that there is always something to learn and the best way to do so it to have as much input as possible from outsiders with fresh eyes. It is so easy to overlook mistakes, especially in animals that one has a soft spot for. We are so privileged to have two exceptional stockmen in Stompie Olivier (Hotspot) and Theo van Zyl (Faurzyl) who are part of the team we call in to help us every year with our cattle selection. Oom Theo certainly has a great eye because he picked Ginger TZ 13-05 as his best heifer and personally chose Jaguar VST 12-18 out of a group of 50 bulls as his favourite. He and Stompie have also had huge success in the animals they have bred and selected together, like HOT 13-01 (Bianca HOT 07-08 x Buffel TLM 02-01) who was judged the second best young bull by the breeders at the Expo. The heifer that was placed second, BUL 13-01 (Bullseye Borane), was also Hotspot genetics.

We feel truly blessed and the Expo could not have gone better for us personally. It’s great to know that we’re on the right track and we have renewed energy to keep on improving!

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Burnie Staal with Theo van Zyl from Faurzyl Borane.

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Honoured to be judged by Burnie Staal!

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Burnie Staal with Elrie and Stompie Olivier (Hotspot)

Busy, busy, Boran!

It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks here at Vastrap with non-stop cattle work on the go. We were notified very late that our 2013 heifers and 2012 bulls would be inspected by the Boran Society yesterday. Before animals can be inspected they need to be branded so Quentin took a full three days working 60 bulls and 100 heifers in heatwave conditions! On Friday, Gideon Botha came to do our inspections, which all went very well.

In the meantime, we had booked the vet to do pregnancy tests on all our stud animals, which took a whole morning. Fortunately, we have been blessed with a very good year and a conception rate of 94%, which is well above last year. Nothing has changed in our cattle management so it’s amazing to see how sensitive fertility can be to weather and grazing conditions.

Another morning was taken up by the annual evaluation and grading of our pregnant heifers and 3-year old bulls by our panel of independent breeders: Stompie Olivier, Theo van Zyl and Rikus Stander. They also helped us chose the animals we will take to the Boran Expo at Kroon Boma on 13 March. The selection process for the bulls that will be sold at the 2015 Vastrap Auction is now complete since all the performance testing was done last year. We are very excited to see which bulls make the final cut, with only 15-20 out of an original group of 50 going on sale.

In between all of this we’ve been visited by three different groups of breeders interested in seeing our animals. This is the part of cattle breeding that we love, meeting new people and sharing our passion for the Boran. We were particularly happy to meet CJ van Rhyn and Christo Germishuys of Luca Boran in Mpumalanga for the first time. They came to buy six pregnant 2012 heifers and left with a beautiful parcel of animals. The selection process was open and transparent. We took all of our 2012 heifers and sorted them into age groups and breeding lines. Quentin then removed ten of his favourite heifers that were not for sale. CJ and Christo then had the pick of the rest and in all honesty, there was very little separating the six that they finally chose and the ten that we kept. After spending some quality time with our herds and staying the night with us at Vastrap, they left very happy and satisfied customers.

One of the other visits, by Tinus Bessinger and Evan de Jager of Groenland Borane culminated in the sale of one of our stud sires, Goliat MHB 06-47. It was great to have them visit for two days so that they could thoroughly inspect Goliat’s offspring and the impact he has had on the Vastrap Boran herd. Farewell Goliat, we hope you will work very hard and make a big impression at your new home!

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Six stunning 2012 heifers chosen by Luca Borane.

Six stunning 2012 heifers chosen by Luca Borane.

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Ginger VST 12-31 (Ginger MHB 04-07 x Khan)

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Heading back to Mpumalanga!