Econotech Simmentaler on Doornbult-Boven, a family farm since 1831

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We, the Du Toit family, have raised cattle and sheep since 1831; nearly two centuries of experience in livestock farming under extreme conditions on Doornbult-Boven in the Karoo.
 

Farming started in a rather subsistence manner in the 1830's. By the turn of the 19th century our family bred horses for the Cape market and provided fresh milk to the newly established city of Kimberley. In the 1920's Merino sheep were added and became eventually the main branch of farming. From the late 1960's our Friesland herd were upgraded to Simmentaler. Our present seed stock came, thus, from cattle that had been adapted to the harsh Karoo environment over almost a century. Econotech Simmentaler was registered as a seed stock operation in 1990. 

 

Economic viability within a sustainable natural environment is ingrained into the DNA of  Econotech Simmentaler. This means that we aim to use the latest technology and genetics in order to improve our seed stock, but always taking our natural environment into account.

 

We at Doornbult-Boven are in the middle of a perfect storm created by Climate Change. Not only do we experience rising extreme heat, but we also need to cope with a variable rainfall pattern. This is illustrated by the following graphs: one on the rise in temperature in South Africa over the last century (Source: Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia) and, secondly, the rainfall pattern as a % of the average mean of our farm, Doornbult-Boven (327 mm p annum), over the period 2000 to 2022.

 

The only tools available to us for coping with this storm are regenerative farming methods and genetics. The appropriate genetics to our situation are explained by the following graphs developed by prof. Bob Weaber of the USA. Furthermore, a graph of the relevant breeding values of our herd shows how our genetic profile assist us to breed adaptive cattle for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breeding is to us a journey towards even more sustainable profits. We invite our clients, beef farmers, to join us on this journey.

Read more on our journey of genetic progress. As background to our journey you may also read various associated articles, namely Hook on birth weight, UK article on cow weight, Pitchford condition and fertility and Basarab on feed efficiency.  More information is also available on the USA Simmental breed, graphs on the genetic progress of our own herd and the composition of economic indexes.

Michael Bradfield of the LRF introduced us to the lectures of Prof Bob Weaber, Director of BIF (Beef Improvement Federation) (formerly at Kansas State University. Three of his slides as shown above underline our own experience regarding adapting our herd to our harsh environment. See also a graph on how we have applied Bob Weaber's guidelines regarding reproduction under severe climate conditions to our herd.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slide 1: Body weight and Milk on Reproduction
Slide 1: Body weight and Milk on Reproduction

Bob Weaber on reproduction as influenced by body weight and milk production

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Slide 3: Adapt cows to climate
Slide 3: Adapt cows to climate

Bob Weaber: Cow mass and milk to adapt to Climate

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Slide 2: Body condition on Pregnancy
Slide 2: Body condition on Pregnancy

Bob Weaber: Reproduction (pregnancy) as influenced by body condition

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Our heifers calf at 22-25 months.This heifer PJD 1721 is a good example. Born 21 August 2017, her first calf was born on 27 September 2019.

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Her mother PJD 0719 was a outstanding cow. Born 4 October 2007, her first calf was born 22 November 2009, and she had12 calves at a ICP of 367 days.

Simmentalers as Breed of Choice for Cross-Breeding

The power of cross-breeding is firstly demonstrated by extra growth of crossbred weaners. However, more benefit will be received by using cross-bred cows (F1) in your weaner operation. This twofold benefit is explained in the following graph from Prof. Bob Weaber (Director of BIF (Beef Improvement Federation, USA)). As he stated it, more than half of the benefit comes from using crossbred cows. 

Our Simmentaler bulls have distinct advantages when used for cross-breeding, especially when breeding F1 cows. Apart from having strong growth traits, our bulls are also high on calving ease and fertility. Their economic selection indexes for cross-breeding, the Simmentaler Profit Index (SPI), are therefore in the top 5% of the SA 2020 crop.

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Jim P, sold to Flip Louw of Kraankuil
Jim P, sold to Flip Louw of Kraankuil

Jim P, PJD1616, son of Chad PP and grandson to Hugo PP)USA)

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pjd 1950_edited
pjd 1950_edited

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Gert P, sold to Johan Styger
Gert P, sold to Johan Styger

Gert P, PJD1836, son of Kalant P

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Satisfied clients: our ultimate breeding objective

Econotech Simmentaler provides genetic material well adapted to commercial conditions. You get what you see.​