Farmer donates to government N$1.2 million worth of bull semen

Part-time farmer, Dr. Joggie Briedenhann has handed to government, 4000 straws of frozen bull semen from 31 Bonsmara bulls valued at N$1,200, 000.00 or N$300.00 per straw.

Although the breed is quite new in Namibia, it has become one of the most locally adopted and is fast becoming popular among cattle farmers in Namibia, said the agriculture Permanent Secretary, Percy Misika.

“The breed can easily adapt to both communal and commercial farming systems, mainly due to its low maintenance and high fertility to mention but a few,” he said while receiving the gift at the ministry’s head office.

He also commended Briedenfann’s tireless efforts towards the promotion of the Bonsmara breed which he said has contributed immensely towards the popularity of this prolific breed.

He said the donation was not for the government but for the entire Bonsmara farmers.

“The Ministry will certainly make sure that the semen is put to good use so as to ensure quality off-springs that will contribute to the sustainable development of our meat industry by improving the quality of national herd.”

“The semen has to be administered through an artificial insemination (AI) process, which is a delicate and expensive process. Therefore, the process requires very good infrastructure, herd management as well as proper control over female animals for it to be successful,” he said.

He cautioned that skill and qualified inseminators were essential for better results saying that the ministry would do everything in ensure that the good quality semen was not wasted.

Speaking to The Villager, Briedenhann said donating the semen to government was the only reasonable way instead of private individual hands.

“I work extensively amongst all the different levels of farmers in Namibia - from the communal farmer all the way to the top stud breeders. I have noticed 2 points of importance - firstly the enthusiasm to breed and farm successfully is exactly the same, although the means to do so may differ and secondly the huge negative effects of constant inbreeding and the use of poor genetic material.”

“In short, using bulls that are not performance tested and where the bull is used on his relatives mostly daughters and granddaughters. This has a direct impact on the economically important traits like weaning weight, post wean growth, fertility and many others. It is the cause of a huge drop in income for the farmer,” he said.

He said that over many years of dedicated stud breeding and performance testing, his team had built up a large inventory of semen from the top performing Bonsmara bulls in Namibia and South Africa.

He added that the bulls range in price from N$ 100 000.00 to N$ 800 000.00 and include a number of bulls that had the biggest influence on the Bonsmara breed world-wide.

“As part of the semen inventory, we documented the strong and weak traits for each bull (purely for those traits that will bring more money for the farmer), the production systems recommended for each bull – meaning if it should be used for weaner production, slaughter ox production or for the breeding and selling of replacement heifers.”

“Furthermore, we indicated if the bull could be used as a calving ease bull to open heifers or if it should only be used on proven cows. If these recommendations are followed, success with the off-spring is guaranteed,” he said.