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BULLS OF DISTINCTION

Buying a bull is a genetic decision and not a financial one.” (Gerhard van Zyl. LBW)

"Visual analysis tells you what an animal appears to be, his pedigree tells you what he should be, his performance and progeny tells you what he actually is."(American Simmental Association)

The Econotech Simmentaler Herd

The Karoo is very kind to those that respect it in all its nuances. Our family on Doornbult-Boven have learnt this lesson time and again the past two centuries.

 

Our herd of Simmentaler is a product of these lessons - farm for profit by adapting your animals to the environment and not the other way round.

 

Fertility, stayability and calving ease are most important when farming in the Karoo. Breeding traits that underpin these characteristics are scrotum circumference (SS), days to calving (DC), moderate milk and cow frame (MCW). The condition status of our herd (as measured by EMA, Rib and Rump Fat and Marbling) help also to raise their fertility. Lastly, one has to stick meticulously to those cows that out-calf and out-last the rest of the herd.

The outcome of this breeding philosophy is that our heifers calf on average at 24 months. This is followed by our cows who calf on average at 352 days (the ICP (Inter Calving Period)).

Growth is, of course, also important. Given our harsh environment we strive to increase growth of our weaners, but without increasing the size of the cows.

 

The attached graph shows how we manage to bend the performance curve thrice. Firstly, by having a higher Calving Ease (CE)/lower milk as well as high scrotum size (SS), secondly, a higher growth at 400 and 600 days, but with an average MCW in comparison to the SA 2022 crop, and, thirdly, an average EMA, but with very high Rib and Rump Fat body condition traits.

Our breeding philosophy is in line with Prof. Bob Weaber’s teachings. During his regular visits to the LRF Stockman School he emphasized the need to fit the cow to its environment. He mentioned various breeding traits that should be in place, such as:

  • Cow frame/weight and milk production determine their nutrient requirements, which again should be in line with the environment; and

  • Body condition of cows have a major influence on their pregnancy rate.

We add to these principles the need to select for a high Scrotal Size (SS)  as well as Calving Ease (CED and CEM). Furthermore, we utilise the findings of Australian research regarding the need to select for the various elements of Body Condition, namely REA (rib eye area)(or EMA, eye muscle area), Rib and Rump Fat as well as IMF (intra muscular fat).

 

Finally, outstanding cattle come from outstanding cows. Our reward from the LRF for the John Deere Simmentaler Cow Group for 2023 underscores this statement.

Our bulls represent the best of our breeding policy. In addition they excel under veld conditions – only the most hardy ones are kept as stud bulls. Furthermore, each of our Class of 2020 Bulls has four or more dams in its pedigree which have performed exceptional regarding all the traits mentioned above.

Econotech Dan S, PJD1743
Senior seedstock sire

 

dan pjd1743 aaril22_edited.jpg

Dan, a son of the exceptional bul, Simberg Zolerz P, has cemented these reproduction traits in our herd. Two of his sons are members of the Class of 2020, namely Kai Kai and Brand
 

The sale of one of our senior stud bulls, Dan, is rather traumatic to us. His most prominent breeding attributes are, however, properly established in our herd. A career at a new herd would increase the accuracy of Dan’s breeding values, which would also add value to our herd.

 

Dan, PJD1743 S, demonstrates his curve bending ability in three different ways. Firstly, Dan surpasses the average SA Simmentaler Herd regarding calving ease (higher) and birth weight (lower). In a similar fashion Dan improves fertility as shown by his EBV’s for scrotal size (SS) (higher), but with solid growth (400 days in top 25%) and a lower cow weight (MCW) (in the lower 35% of the SA 2022 crop). Thirdly, Dan is also tops regarding muscling and condition (measured by its eye muscle area (EMA) and rib and rump fat). The latter attributes help him to maintain his condition under extensive grazing conditions.

 

The accompanying graph shows the ability of Dan to bend growth and fertility curves. Furthermore, Dan’s pedigree includes illustrious sires: two German sires (Eisenherz and Metro) as well as prominent SA sires (Blinkbou Herz, Kalhei and Profeet). The progeny of these sires has been tested across many herds and numerous calves. We have the privilege to see the benefits of these sires in our herd.

PJD2059 P Brand seun van Dan_edited.jpg

Econotech Simmentaler Bulls: Class of 2020

 

Reproduction traits, which excel under various veld conditions, are the main profit drivers of cattle farming. Our Class of 2020 Bulls are prime examples of these breeding objectives. Everyone excels, therefore, in Calving Ease, Fertility and Body Condition.

A sorting excercise with emphasis on calving ease and reproduction was done on all the active Simmentaler bulls (January 2024). The criteria were based on the top 10% ebv for CED, Birth Weight, SS, DC, Rib and Rump Fat and, lastly, SBI (Selection Breeders Index). Ranking was according to the ebv for 200 days. Thirty four bulls were ranked. Ten of these bulls were from Econotech Simmentaler, namely 2 from the 2019 class, 3 (2020), 2 (2021) and two from the 2023 class.

The attached table gives more details on every bull. More information on the pedigree, breeding traits according to ebv’s as well as the status of each bull versus the SA 2022 crop, follow below.

 

Econotech Kai Kai, PJD2015 P (SOLD)

A good bull comes from a good cow family. Four of Kai Kai’s female ancestors had eight or more calves and two had six or more calves in their respective lifetimes. His mother, PJD1456 P, produced another stud sire as well.

Kai Kai excels for its high calving ease (and low birth weight) and high reproduction traits such as Scrotal Size and Days to Calving. He has moderate ebv’s for growth coupled to a moderate body frame (MCW). His ebv’s for body condition rank in the top 5% of the SA 2022 crop. In summary, his economic selection indexes are in the top 5% (SBI) and 1% (SPI) respectively.

 

Kai Kai is truly a double curve bender, regarding reproduction and growth traits. He ranks 24th out of 34 bulls in the sorting exercise mentioned above.

Econotech Brand, PJD2059 P

 

Brand, like all the other members of the 2020 Class, exhibits a strong fertile dam lineage. Five dams had eight or more calves in their respective lifetimes. His dam, PJD179 P, had to date five calves with an ICP of 345 days.

 

Brand is a triple curve bender regarding calving ease, reproduction and growth traits. For calving ease he boasts with a top 1% (CED) as well as a top 1% for birth weight. His reproduction traits consist of a low milk ebv (lower 25%) and top 10% for scrotal size (SS) and Days to Calving (DC) in regard to the SA 2022 crop. His growth parameters are rather moderate with his 400 days growth ebv being in the top 40% and his MCW in the bottom 25%. Reproduction is also about body condition with Brand ranking in the top 5% for Rib and Rump Fat respectively. In summary, his economic selection indexes are in the top 5% and 1% respectively.

Brand ranks 26th out of the 34 bulls in the above-mentioned sorting exercise.

 

Bulls: high REPRODUCTION and high GROWTH plus FEED EFFICIENCY

(sired by Kalant)

Econotech Siya, PJD2024 P

Siya is ranked 13th out of 34 bulls according to its 200 days growth ebv in the above-mentioned sorting exercise, which is based on various calving ease and reproduction traits. He has also strong body condition traits which makes him very adaptable to a range of climatic conditions.

 

His economic selection indexes are in the top 5% to 1% for SBI and SP respectively. Again, Siya should also inherit the feed-efficiency genes of his sire, Kalant.

His dam, PJD1633, has produced three stud bulls to date. Her dam, on the other hand, was one of our most fertile cows ever with 11 calves and an ICP of 364 days. 

Having two polled parents, Siya has a 25% chance of being double polled (homozygous polled). If Siya is homozygous polled all his offspring will be polled.

 

Econotech Pieter-Steph, PJD2028 S

 

Three of Pieter-Steph’s sires have very high ebv’s for feed-efficiency, namely Kalant (NFI-P = -0.12), his grandfather Jimsu (NFI-P = -0.22) and his great grandfather Kalhei (NFI-P = -0.13). He has, most probably, inherited these genes, which could translate into PS being very feed-efficient as well. Furthermore, Pieter-Steph hails from a very fertile mother lineage. Four of the females in his pedigree had nine or more calves in their respective lives, whereas the other three had six calves each.

PS has great length of body, are well balanced and with a show of manliness. He possesses moderate to high calving ease and reproduction traits, together with moderate growth ebv’s. According to the economic selection indexes he ranks in the top 10% for the breeders’ index, SBI as well as the cross-breeding index SPI of the SA 2022 crop.

 

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