In this section of the website we feature ALL the articles written by HARTEBEESTLOOP BONSMARAS, mainly from our Bonsmara stud breeding program. In most of the articles we refer to what works for us at Hartebeestloop and how we do things in our Bonsmara stud. We also have articles done by other authors. If we can learn from you, we certainly will publish your work! This is a very comprehensive part of this website and we hope you enjoy reading and learning here!

CONTACT US: JOGGIE BRIEDENHANN +264 81 231 6169 (jbried@joggie.com.na)

Publication selected in the Archive of 2013:
Farmers’ Catalogue – Here it is!
September 2013

We have worked hard to put together the Farmers’ Catalogue and it is now fully functional! Please check the final version of this catalogue a little further down this document. We also have detailed explanatory notes further down that explains everything in detail.

We have used actual values of 9 Hartebeestloop bulls to check if the table actually WORKS! Finally we also provide a table with descriptions for each of the characteristics (127Kb) that you can download in PDF format (127kb).

Thank you to all the people that responded to our request for help. A lot of useful information came from the farming communities and most of it was used in putting together the Farmers’ Catalogue.

Dr Helena Theron from SA Stud Book visited us in Windhoek for 3 days to help with the final compilation of the catalogue. It’s important to us that the scientific information – as provided by SA Stud Book – is reflected correctly in the Farmers’ Catalogue; Helena helped us tremendously with this very important task! The catalogue was presented to a number of key role players in Namibia and in conjunction with them we arrived at the final product.

The task of compiling the Farmers’ Catalogue is an on-going process and as time passes we expect that it will be refined even more. We believe that this edition of the Farmers’ Catalogue is a good and practical catalogue and we will be using it at future auctions.

We are looking forward to your feedback – please contact Joggie Briedenhann (jbried@joggie.com.na) by either using the COMMENTS section below (click the red link at the bottom of this article to open up instructions on how to use the comments – easy!) or by emailing him directly at jbried@joggie.com.na with your suggestions and questions.


The Farmers’ Catalogue is aimed at the farmer and is a concise summary – in farming language – of the official catalogue of the Bonsmara Breeders Association. It should preferably be used in combination with the official catalogue provided by the Bonsmara Breeders Association.

The catalogue is compiled with data provided by:

  • SA Stud Book for performance measured animals
  • Southern African Veld Bull (VB) as measured during veld bull testing
  • Visual evaluation by the breeder (F)

Unless otherwise indicated by the abbreviations (VB) and (F), all other values have been provided by SA Stud Book. The catalogue describes the bull’s genetic capacity for important productive characteristics:

  • Calving ease
  • Growth potential
  • Maturity type
  • Adaptability
  • Fertility
  • As well as the bull’s mother- and daughters’- achievements

The marks allocated are based on the SA Stud Book Breeding Value Indexes and Southern African Veld Bull data and are awarded as follows:
Breeding value index
> 120

  • 3 and 3+: There is minimal risk in selecting animals with scores of 3 and 3+ as it is close to the breed averages
  • 2 and 4: Scores 2 and 4 can be considered if there are specific characteristics that you want to address in your herd
  • 1 and 5: Scores 1 and 5 tend towards the extreme on both sides of the spectrum

Farmers have to take into consideration that the breeding values of older bulls - with performance tested progeny- is more accurate compared to that of younger bulls. There is thus a higher risk when purchasing younger bulls! Underneath follows a short discussion of each main point and each subdivision as seen on the Farmers Catalogue.


a. Calving ease:
It gives an indication if a bull may give rise to calving problems. Calving ease describes the birth weights of the calves of the bull as well as his daughters’ genetic potential to restrict their calves’ birth weights. The score is calculated from the breeding value index for calving ease. A score of 1 indicates exceptionally, light weight calves, a score of 3 indicates an average birth weight while a score of 5 is a warning that the bull’s calves will be heavy and that the he should not be used on heifers. It is safe to select a bull with a score of 3.

b. Conformation for calving ease:
This score is awarded by the breeder and describes the physical framework of the bull. A score of 3 for framework for calving ease indicates a medium sized bull that can be used on heifers and on cows. A smaller score (e.g. 2) indicates increased calving ease.

c. Birth weight:
This is the true birth weight of the bull. Buyers should take into consideration the environment, cow size and weight, the seasons as well as the feeding conditions. All this will play a BIG role in the birth weight. Birth weight should therefore be considered in context and is not a reliable measurement to predict calving ease.


a. Pre-wean growth:
This indicates the bull’s genetic potential to breed heavy calves. This score is calculated from the breeding value for direct weaning weight.

b. Post-wean growth:
This indicates a bull’s genetic potential to breed heavy oxen that can be marketed from the veld. The score is calculated from the Average Daily Gain (ADG) breeding value.

c. Wean weight:
This is the age-corrected measured wean weight of the bull at 205 days. This ensures conformity amongst calves from different wean ages. There are many environmental and management factors that influence weaning weight. Farmers are urged not to place too much emphasis on wean weight only. The (S) and (W) indicate if the calf was born in summer or winter.


a. Frame size:
Frame size is an indication of the physical size of the animal. Bigger sized animals have better growth potential but also higher maintenance requirements. Farmers in better environments may consider bigger sized animals while smaller sized animals will perform better in more harsh environments. The score is calculated from the shoulder height breeding value index. It is safe to select animals with a medium sized frame.

b. Muscularity:
Muscularity refers to meat and the farmer is awarded for meat in the form of weight. Farmers have to guard against excessive muscling and the concomitant negative consequences thereof. This score is calculated from the general overall muscling evaluation that is done during veld bull testing.

c. Carcass yield:
Carcass yield is an indication of the quantity of meat and is calculated by SA Stud Book. Carcass yield should not be confused with carcass classification confirmation 5 that is used by the abattoirs


For the following 3 characteristics farmers can consider higher scores as these characteristics are not correlated with unfavourable influences on other characteristics.

a. Condition:
This is an indication of the bull’s genetic potential to maintain condition in the veld. The condition score is awarded to the bull during the veld bull test.

b. Veld growth:
Veld growth is an indication of the bull’s genetic potential to convert grass to meat and is calculated from the growth test data of SA Stud Book (Kleiber relationship).

c. Coat quality:
It is well known that animals with short, smooth hair adapt better to heat compared to animals with long, woolly hair. The score for coat quality is awarded during the Southern African Veld Bull test.


a. Fertility:
This is an indication of the fertility of the bull’s daughters and takes into consideration the age of first calving as well as the ICP. It is a breeding value from SA Stud Book.

b. Pelvis size:
Pelvis size is an indication of the calving ease of the bull’s daughters. It is measured during the veld bull test.

c. Scrotum circumference:
It is the measured scrotum circumference done by the veterinary surgeon during the fertility examination. Avoid too small or too large scrotums.


a. First calve age:
It is the actual age at which the bull’s mother calved for the first time and is an indication of her fertility.

b. ICP and number of calves:
It is the ICP value of the mother as well as the number of calves that she has already produced.

c. Milk:
It is an indication of the milk production ability of the bull’s daughters and it also indicates the mother’s contribution to the wean weight of the calf. It is based on the maternal wean breeding value as provided by SA Stud Book.


Notes from the breeder that want to highlight certain characteristics. The environment (grass-, stony- and sandy environment) from where the bull comes from can also be indicated with the following signs.

Farmers table

Reflected in the table are real values of 9 Hartebeestloop bulls. It was necessary to do this exercise so that we could see if this table can work.

ID HART 10-219 HART 10-238 HART 10-239 HART10-251 HART 10-256 HART 10-257 HART 10-258 HART 10-279 HART 10-283
Birthday 10-10-10 20-10-10 20-10-10 25-10-10 27-10-10 27-10-10 28-10-10 04-11-10 08-11-10
Calving ease 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 5 3+ 3+ 1
Conformation Calving
ease (F))
3 3 4 3 3 5 3 4 4
Birth weight 35 kg 35 kg 34 kg 38 kg 35 kg 36 kg 36 kg 39 kg 39 kg
Pre-wean growth 3 3+ 4 3 3 5 2 3+ 3
Post-wean growth 4 3 4 3 3+ 5 3+ 4 2
Wean weight (S) 247 kg 245 Kg 284 Kg 286 kg 260 Kg 280 Kg 231 Kg 292 Kg 297 Kg
Frame size 4 1 3 3+ 1 4 3 4 1
Muscling (VB) 3 3 4 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3 4
Carcass yield 3 2 3 3 2 3+ 2 5 1
Condition (VB) 3 3 3+ 3+ 3 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+
Veld growth 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 3+ 4 3+ 4 1
Coat quality (VB) 3 5 5 3+ 4 5 3+ 5 5
Fertility 2 3 3 3 2 3 2 3 3
Pelvis size 3+ 3 3 3+ 3 3 3+ 3 3
Scrotum circumference 34 cm 38 cm 39 cm 42 cm 34 cm 37 cm 36 cm 35 cm 35 cm
Age 1st calf 29 29 26 30 30 27 23 28 26
ICP/Number of calves 361 d/3k 360 d/3k 341 d/4k 378 d/3k 0 d/1k 363 d/3k 0 d/1k 374 d/5k 377 d/7k
Milk 4 3+ 3 5 4 3+ 3 4 3+
HART 10-219: Bigger frame sized bull for ox production. Good post-wean growth potential.
HART 10-238: Top bull for production of weaners and oxen. Good growth potential.
HART 10-251: Bull with stud potential that continuously show above average performance.
HART 10-256: Smaller frame bull with good growth-, muscling- and plenty of milk.
HART 10-257: Very good growth, bigger frame and only for use on cows.
HART 10-258: Excellent adaptability, medium frame and a top heifer’s first calf.
HART 10-279:From top mother line. Very good growth, high carcass yield for oxen producer.
HART 10-283: Easy calving bull to open young heifers; excellent adaptability.

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