Afrikaner Cattle

The Africander cattle, also known as the Afrikaner is a native South African Cattle breed. It belongs to the Sanga type and is used primarily for meat production. 

What Is The History Of Afrikaner Cattle Breed?

Afrikaner cattle, were developed from the native Khoi-Khoi cattle of the Cape of Good Hope which are thought to have arisen from the longhorned Zebu and the Egyptian longhorn and is a native South African Cattle breed.

The Afrikaner belongs to the Sanga type. Sanga type cattle, in huge herds, were owned by the Hottentots when the Dutch established the Cape Colony in 1652. The animals were obtained by the colonists who improved them for use as draft animals.

It was Afrikaner oxen that drew the wagons which carried Boer farmers and families on the Great Trek of 1835-36 from the Cape of Good Hope to the Orange Free State, Natal and the Transvaal to escape British rule.

The breed was almost exterminated when huge numbers died of rinderpest (viral disease of cattle) or were destroyed during the South African War. Since then the breed has been developed into a competitive beef breed and was the first indigenous South African Cattle breed to form a breed society in 1912. Nowadays it is probably the most popular indigenous cattle breed in South Africa.

What Is The Characteristics Of Afrikaner Cattle?

  • The breed is typically red which can vary from light tan to deep cherry red .
  • They have long lateral horns of a flesh to creamy white in colour with amber tips. A polled type has also been developed.
  • Africander cattle exhibit good resistance to heat, a high level of tick resistance, quiet temperament and a satisfactorily high level of fertility under harsh conditions.
  • It is a heavy beef-type animal and has good meat quality but show lactational anoestrus in times of environmental stress.
  • They have loose skin and large drooping ears.
  • The Afrikaner bulls have the the hump of muscle and fat on the neck which can rise to 7cm or more above the topline similar to the Zebu.
  • There is considerable variation in the performance of pure Afrikaner cattle, especially in weaning weight and growth rate to slaughter age; but in general they tend to be slow maturing with comparatively low fat cover.
  • The Afrikaner has a thick skin with strong subcutaneous muscles which give excellent protection against crawling and flying ectoparasites.
  • The Afrikaner is very hardy and can maintain a reasonable condition in prolonged drought times by not only eating grass, but also eating leaves.
  • The Afrikaner has a good temperament and breeds progeny that are easy to work with.
  • The breed can easily serve (and be served) up to 12 years and its good teeth enable them to still maintain their condition even at an elderly age.
  • The Afrikaner cattle has good temperament and excellent mothering ability (protects calves and looks after them) and milk production.
  • Low calf mortality, ease of calving - because of the roofy rump, the Afrikaner’s birth canal is spacious.
  • Afrikaner cattle can survive without water for as long as 48-72 hours.
  • These cattle have outstanding walking and climbing abilities in mountainous areas. 

What is the weight of Afrikaner Cattle?

Mature Afrikaner cows are of a medium size weighing approximately 500 to 620 kg and Afrikaner bulls weigh 700 to 1000 kg. The Afrikaner gives a light calf at birth (30-35 kg) and facilitates the birthing process, especially in heifers.

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