The ride was filled with expectation as we made our way to De La Vida Boran Farm in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape. This is an annual trip that the University of Fort Hare Animal Breeding class embark on, visiting Mr Jaco van Renbsurg, a Boran stud breeder. The nice weather - not
hot yet not too chilly created the perfect outdoor learning atmosphere.
Meet the Boran Boys
On arrival, we received a warm welcome from Jaco and Joseph (farm care taker) who were our “tour” guides and animal breeding experts for the day. We began learning and exploring at the lowermost end of the farm, where the land has been divided into camps. The first camp had heifers and a very friendly and calm bull. Jaco explained to us the importance of genetic composition for example good structural soundness and feed conversion efficiency of a bull and how it can affect the productivity of a farm. He further demonstrated how genetic composition can physically benefit or disadvantage the animal by showing us the physical attributes of the Boran that are favorable for survival and ultimately the farmer. Fortunately the animals at De La Vida Boran farm are a good testament of how a well-conditioned animal should be.
#Happy lines identification
We then moved to the young bull‘s camp. They were much “cuter” than the older bulls. Jaco explained that he keeps them separate for a while because they tend to break the infrastructure. However, when they grow older, they are mixed with the much older bulls who are expected to “teach them respect and to not destroy the farms’ infrastructure”. #BoysWillBeBoys
The farm is huge with camps for cows, heifers as well as bulls of different ages which of course we could not visit in a day.
Why not dab?
Apart from seeing the Boran cattle camps, we were also treated to a tour around a beautiful fruit orchard that is on the other side of the farm. The garden has apple, orange and guava tress, which, unfortunately, were not in season during our visit. Jaco’s knowledge and insight was all we needed to take that brave step of making a career out of farming. We are always grateful to Jaco and his family for allowing us the opportunity to learn from them.
Finally, we enjoyed lunch at Kelly’s beach, Port Alfred. Where more dabbing and pouting took place, with Prof Muchenje as the commanding pouter.
The pouting continues
Though hard work is inevitable, having fun while we are at it makes it worth all the while.
By Nyeleka Sipokazi (MSc- Animal production)