Brangus Cattle Farming at Firth Group in Wolmaransstad, South Africa

brangus cattle

Brangus cattle farming has a relatively short history in South Africa, as the breed was only introduced in the country in the late 1960s. The breed is a cross between Angus and Brahman cattle and was developed in the United States in the early 20th century. The Angus breed is known for its meat quality, while the Brahman breed is known for its adaptability to harsh environments and resistance to diseases. The Brangus breed was developed to combine these desirable traits.

In the 1940s, the first Brangus cattle were bred in South Africa, and the breed became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s due to its adaptability to the country’s hot and dry climate.

Brangus in Wolmaransstad

In the Wolmaransstad region of South Africa, Brangus cattle farming began to gain popularity in the 1980s. The breed was particularly attractive to farmers in the region due to its adaptability to hot and dry conditions, which are common in this part of the country.

At the Firth Group, its Brangus Stud started in 2011 upon the purchase of 50 heifers from Allan Green, whose father imported the first Brangus animals into the country from America. The Brangus breed was decided upon for its favourable medium size animal, being naturally polled, coupled with the breed’s ease of calving and good carcase quality.

Brangus qualities

Brangus cattle are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in harsh environments, which has made them a popular choice for farmers in South Africa. In addition, the breed is known for its good meat quality and high fertility rates, which has made it a profitable choice for commercial farmers.

Today, Brangus cattle farming is a significant industry in the Wolmaransstad region and is a major contributor to the local economy. The breed is also popular in other regions of South Africa and has been exported to other countries in Africa and around the world.

Challenges of Brangus cattle farming in South Africa

One of the main challenges of Brangus cattle farming in South Africa is the limited availability of suitable grazing land. The country is largely semi-arid, with low rainfall, and this makes it difficult for farmers to provide enough feed for their animals. Additionally, the Brangus breed requires high-quality feed to maintain its meat quality, which further exacerbates the problem.

Another challenge is the prevalence of diseases such as tick-borne fever and foot-and-mouth disease, which can have devastating effects on Brangus cattle. Farmers must invest in preventative measures such as vaccinations and tick control to protect their animals.

Firth Group’s Brangus — Firth Red Brangus

Despite these challenges, Brangus cattle farming continues to thrive in South Africa, with the breed being well-suited to the country’s harsh environment. 

At the Firth Group, the Brangus breeding policy has been to buy semen from the best local and international bulls for artificial insemination and then use top-quality local bulls as “pick-up” bulls. 

A couple of outstanding cows were also bought, which were super-ovulated and flushed and the embryos inserted into surrogate cows. All animals bought are not only selected on their phenotype but also on their EBV’s (genotype).

Firth Red Brangus have won several awards for its superior breed quality—including the Silver Medal in the Brangus ‘Champion Of The World’ Competition, the Brangus Four Star Award for Completeness in Breedplan (for the 2022 season) as well as the coveted Brangus National Show 2022 Supreme Champion Bull award.

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About the Author
Adrian Baillie-Stewart

Adrian Baillie-Stewart

On a part-time basis, Adrian serves as lead digital communications consultant for the Firth Group of farms. This includes Firth Red Brangus, Firth Wagyu, Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts and Highlands Cycads. A communications specialist at Content Strategics (Pty) Ltd., Adrian helps small to medium enterprises achieve their primary operational goals by maximising the commercial impact of their media content published across multiple online digital platforms.

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