Firth Group’s Firth Red Brangus receives Brangus Four Star Award

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 Hillcrest Game Estates, 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.

The Firth Group’s cattle division, Firth Red Brangus, is honoured to be awarded a Brangus Four Star Award. This coveted award is the SA Brangus Cattle Society’s accolade afforded to those stud breeders that comply with an exceptional degree of Breedplan completeness. In addition, the Firth Red Brangus farming division was also recognised for achieving an average intercalving period (ICP) under 400 days (category: medium-sized herd). Intercalving denotes the period in a cow’s life between the birth of one calf and her next calf.

SA Brangus Society's Four Star Award for Breedplan Completeness
SA Brangus Society's Recognition (medium-sized herd category) for achieving an average intercalving period under 400 days

Breedplan—What is it?

Breedplan is the software platform/suite that all Brangus stud breeders use to record full details of all cattle in their herd/s. The platform offers a modern genetic evaluation system for beef cattle. BREEDPLAN uses the world’s most advanced genetic evaluation system (based on Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) technology) to produce Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) of recorded cattle for a range of important production traits (e.g. weight, carcase, fertility). More than 14 countries worldwide currently make use of Breedplan.

Click here for more detailed information about Breedplan.

Breedplan completeness—Qualifying criteria

To qualify for these annual recognition awards, a breeder must comply with a comprehensive range of qualifying variables relating to the management of the Red Brangus cattle stud/herd belonging to them. For example, measuring gestation periods for cows, all calves’ birth weights being duly documented, scrotal size measurements, and so forth. These rather intensive administrative aspects would not normally be done for a standard (non-stud) cattle herd. On an annual basis, an assessment/audit is conducted on all information and data that breeders have captured on the Breedplan system—this includes an in-depth analysis of a whole range of measurements (see Figure 3) that should ideally be routinely captured on the Breedplan platform. Once the full assessment/audit has been done, a final ‘completeness score’ is obtained for the period under review—usually for 1 year at a time.

Click here for more in-depth information.

An assessment/audit is conducted on all information and data that breeders have captured on the Breedplan system—this includes an in-depth analysis of a whole range of measurements Once a full audit has been done, a ‘completeness score’ is obtained.

SA Brangus Society and breed background/history

In 1986, the management of the South African Stud Book Association decided to accept the constitution and breeding methods of the Brangus Breeders’ Society of South Africa.  

There are currently about 158 members with 40 000 registered Brangus cattle, which make Brangus one of the few growing breeds in SA and are currently the 4th largest breed in SA.[2]

The SA Brangus Breeders Society states that[3]:

The Brangus [breed] was originally bred in the United States of America since 1940. During July 1949 the American Brangus Breeders’ Society was established. In 1956 the name was changed to the International Brangus Breeders Society by 1978 there were already 150 000 registered Brangus animals in the USA and the Breeders’ Society had more than 1 800 active members. Other countries where the Brangus is to be found are Argentina, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Botswana, Brazil, Guatemala, Iran, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Paraguay Swaziland, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. In South Africa the oldest stud is that of Mr. Raymond Green of Ladysmith, Natal. He started breeding Brangus in the Republic of South Africa in 1963. The first Brangus Club was established in 1976 in order to gain recognition for the breed. During 1986 the management of the South African Stud Book Association decided to accept the constitution and breeding methods of the Brangus breeders’ society of South Africa. Recognition, which at that time was jest a formality, became a reality late in 1986 when the Brangus breed was afforded official recognition by the registrar of livestock improvement and the South African stud book and livestock improvement association. There are currently about 158 members with 40 000 registered Brangus cattle, which make Brangus one of the few growing breeds in SA and are currently the 4th largest breed in SA.

Firth Group CEO extends special thanks and congratulations to Firth Group staff

John Firth, group CEO (together with his father, Doctor Ian Firth) extended their special thanks and congratulations to the entire team at Firth Red Brangus who made this superb achievement possible—particularly to Maryke Groenewald (Administration Manager), Jan Lubbe (Firth Red Brangus Cattle Division Manager) and Piet Botma (Firth Group General Manager).

Well done to all! 👏🏻

Further Reading

[1] Source: SA Brangus Journal 2021

[2] https://brangus.org.za/

[3 Brangus Journal 2021, Pg. 26  (http://brangus.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Brangus-Joernaal-Journal-layout-2021-DIGI.pdf)

[4] Now known as International Angus Breeders Association (IBBA)

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