The new year has certainly taken off with a start and coming from a relatively dry December and even whispers of drought the heavens opened up and at the end of the quarter we had over 400mm’s of rain already! With all the wet weather, the conditions were perfect for bugs that cause Three Day Stiffness and we had a few cases in our herd. Again this breed proved its worth to us compared to the rest of the herds in our area. Whole herds of other breeds were stricken with this disease and we sympathise with our fellow cattleman who lost stock during this period!
We opted not to medicate our affected animals and rather left them in peace to recover without any additional stress being put on them. On average the symptoms lasted about a day and the next day we saw them running with the herd again, a true testimony to the hardiness and resistance of this breed.
All the rain played havoc with our infrastructure and our roads, corner posts, fences, rivers and dams will require extensive repair and maintenance during winter. We are grateful for the rain as all the dams, rivers and underground water is replenished.
March is usually the month in which we do our annual roundup for branding and inoculations and this year was no different! The whole herd was inoculated for Black quarter, Botulism and Anthrax and extensive ear tag maintenance was done. All calves older than a year were branded and this year our branding exercise was met with mixed results. I changed ovens to the one sold by SA Vet which is a far hotter oven than the one I was used to. Some of the brand marks were too hot resulting in the whole brand peeling off after two weeks. This is sad and not something to be proud of but a warning for the future to rather err on the cooler side!
Despite this most brands came out nicely and it is always a moment of pride to see one’s own brand on your animals!
The Eragrostis that we fertilised in December thrived on all the rain and we had a good yeald of bales from this land. Although we do not feed the animals during winter this is insurance against fire and drought and we are grateful for having these bales at our disposal. We used Omnia’s liquid fertiliser and got a return of 20 round bales per hectare.
Last year we had almost 25% of our calves born in March, but this year we had less as most of the animals are still adapting to their new environment and we are paying the price for their adaptation in ICP! The old adage of cattle taking two ‘green seasons’ to adapt to a new environment would prove painfully true for us!
Now its looking forward to the second quarter and the final preparations for winter!
All the best to the rest of the Nguni breeders and stockmen from all over!
Chris vd Merwe
Film Star Joins ZZZ Nguni Stud
ZZZ Nguni Stud recently added another herd sire to the stud, CS 3 130 from the proven DOAL 84 460 and CS 91 4 bloodlines, but probably more famous for starring in the latest SEAT Ibiza TV ad.