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Cattle breeds: Bonsmara

Cattle breeds: Bonsmara


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Origin and diffusion area

Bonsmara is a breed of cattle known for its high quality meat and resistance to local diseases. Originating in South Africa as a scientific experiment by Professor Jan Bonsma, the Bonsmara was created after many cross breeds and return crossings.
In 1937 it was noted that British breeds generally did not have the necessary resistance to subtropical hot climates and that Afrikaner did not behave the same in terms of regularity at birth. Professor Jan Bonsma decided to test different breed combinations at the Messina Zootechnical Research Station. Five British cattle breeds were used on Afrikaner cattle and the offspring were then tested. After the pilot tests it was decided to continue only with the crossings of Hereford and Shorthorn with the best performances. Eventually three quarters of Afrikaners were mated to half-breeds to obtain offspring with five eighths from Afrikaner, three sixteenths from Hereford and three sixteenths from Shorthorn. the selection work lasted about 20 years.
The name Bonsmara derives from Bonsma, the man who played an important role in the development of the breed, and Mara, the farm where the animals were raised.
It quickly became the most bred breed in South Africa. This breed is mainly bred in Africa, where there are 60,000 registered females. The total number of animals is around 4 million. Much used in crossbreeds. It has recently been exported to North America and Australia.

Morphological characteristics

It has a red coat. They have horns but are scorned to conform to the breed standard.

Productive characteristics

High quality beef breed. They are animals suitable for the subtropical climate.
Fertile, they present ease in childbirth. Of calm temperament.


Bonsmara cow and calf (photo https://cattleinternationalseries.weebly.com)


Bonsmara breed bull (photo https://cattleinternationalseries.weebly.com)


Bonsmara breed bull (photo http://www.bonsmara.org.au)


Video: Emerging Farmers Frontier Bonsmaras (July 2022).


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