“A bad attitude is like a flattire. You can’t go very far until you change it.”
Having a Bonsmara stud in Mozambique has got it’s unique challenges, but we face a similar mountain breeder in other countries face. Bush-bulls vs B-branded (Performance tested) Bulls I read an article the other day where the writer really hit the mark. He said that buying untested bulls are for people who have money to burn. And I can’t agree more! Why? Using a bull that has no performance test data in your herd will have a negative impact on wean weights, the quality of your replacement heifers and on calving ease. In the long and the short run, it would be much cheaper to buy a bull that went through a tough, unbiased selection process and who has breeding values known to the buyer. A cow has 1 calf a year, but 1 bull up to 40…. So, is it wise to buy something you don’t know anything about? Or to use that calf that looks nice? What is a Bush-bull? A bull that wasn’t subject to any performance test. So, there are no breeding values known or growth data available on this animal. It’s like closing your eyes and jumping off a cliff and hope you hit water. A Bonsmara, B-Branded bull, is a bull that went through extensive evaluation and testing all through his life and, also the lives of its parents: This animal has got parents that went through testing themselves and met all the pre-requisites. The calf had to pass it’s wean tests, meaning it must have an index of 90 or above. Then the animal is subject to some form of performance test, (Phase B, C or D) where all kinds of measurements and growth are recorded. If a bull passed its Preformance test, it is inspected by two senior inspectors from the Bonsmara society and the animal is judged on functional efficiency. There is a whole book full of rejection reasons on why bulls should be rejected as Stud bulls, the result is that only excellent animals get the B-brand on the right shoulder. Which it the marking so that the buyer knows: This is Quality Furthermore, this animal has got Breeding values available, aiding the breeder with values like birth weight and GROWTH AFTER WEAN (very important for the ox system) You know what to expect form a B-branded bull, which is not the case with Bush-bulls.
As a cattle farmer one of your aims should be to better the average of each generation. You can only reach this outcome by buying better females (very expensive) or buying a trust worthy bull. 50% of your herds genetics are determined by the bull you use. If you choose to use a bull with unknown breeding values, you are more likely to lower your herd average and you will have these replacement animals in your herd for the next 10 years. We had a lot of enquiries for bulls here in Mozambique and some’s reaction was that they cannot afford to buy a stud bull. But honestly, you cannot afford not to. The damage that a Bush-bull cause in your herd is far more expensive that the price of a registered Bonsmara bull.