Windhoek — Following many years of dedicated stud breeding and performance testing, a Namibian medical doctor together with his team managed to build up a large inventory of semen from the top performing Bonsmara bulls in Namibia and South Africa.
Those bulls range in price from N$100 000 to N$800 000.
Dr Joggie Briedenhann, a Bonsmara breeder who last week handed over frozen bull semen to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said they include a number of bulls that had the biggest influence on the Bonsmara breed worldwide.
The semen inventory he donated to the ministry consists of about 4 000 semen straws and he trust that it will make a significant contribution to the livestock industry in Namibia.
Though relatively a new breed, he noted the Bonsmara breed is one of the locally adapted breeds and is fast becoming popular among cattle farmers in Namibia.
He explained the breed can easily adapt to both communal and commercial farming systems, mainly due to its low maintenance and high fertility.
"So, it is not just semen but rather tested and proven excellent genetic breeding material. As part of the semen inventory, we documented the strong and weak traits for each bull (purely for those traits that will bring more money for the farmer), the production systems recommended for each bull , meaning if it should be used for weaner production, slaughter ox production or for the breeding and selling of replacement heifers," he explained.
Furthermore, he indicated if the bull could be used as a calving ease bull to open heifers or if it should only be used on proven cows.
He said if these recommendations are followed, success with the off-spring is guaranteed.
According to him, Namibia, being predominantly a livestock producing country, is one of the few African countries that still has a wide range of livestock breeds and ecotypes which has given rise to a large genetic pool.
This genetic pool, he said is attributed to concerted efforts by livestock farmers who continue to breed and multiply livestock for sustained livelihood.
Accepting the donation, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Percy Misika thanked Briedenhann's tireless efforts towards the promotion of the Bonsmara breed ,which have contributed immensely towards the popularity of this prolific breed and are thus highly commendable.
Misika said the ministry is grateful for Briedenhann's support and willingness to continue contributing towards the Bonsmara breed by freely donating 4 000 straws of frozen bull semen from 31 Bonsmara bulls valued at N$1.2 million or N$300 per straw.
He said the donation is not for the government but it is for the entire Bonsmara farmers.
"The ministry will certainly make sure that the semen is put to good use so as to ensure quality offsprings that will contribute to the sustainable development of our meat industry by improving the quality of the national herd," he noted.