History and Development of the Heelbo S.A. Braford

The Braford breeding program at Heelbo Farm, in the district of Rosendal, in the picturesque Eastern Free State, was established in 1978 by the late Mr. P.H.N. Bremer.

In 1978, two Brahman bulls were bought from Kanhym Estates. These bulls were used as base animals on Polled Hereford Dams, from the Heelbo Hereford Stud, in the crossbreeding program.

F1 heifers, with a tendency towards the Hereford, were then crossed with Brahman Bulls and those that resembled the Brahman were crossed with Hereford Stud bulls.
During the second or F2 phase, this process was repeated. Strict selection based on different visual criteria was maintained during each phase.

During the original phases a lot of color variations appeared in the animals. Emphasis was placed on pigmentation, hair quality as well as the ability to move comfortably. Reproduction played a major role in selecting females that would continue in the program. The polled factor was regarded as a criteria right from the beginning and no exceptions were made over the last 30 years of crossbreeding. Another highly desired characteristic, was the ability of these animals to carry their meat in the right places. Well enhanced or developed hind quarters were captured through the genetics of the Hereford. Combined with the “hangkruis” of the Brahman, calving ease was established.

The ability of the hardy Brahman to walk long distances in search of food was captured in the breeding program, as was the Brahmans’ resistance to diseases.

With the exceptional ability to mother a calve and to produce enough milk, the combination between Hereford and Brahman ensured a good growth and well being of the calves. Early ripe heifers would then be the aim in the years to come, since the objective should be: to mate these heifers at least 8 months after they have been weaned - in order to obtain optimal productivity.

With the Hereford temperament, management became easier and over 3 decades the herd has offered calves with an average birth weight of 32 kg and an average daily gain of 1.1 kg per day.

Heelbo rounded off al their Brafords and Herefords on natural grazing without the addition of hormones or growth stimulants.

The process of establishing a pure Hereford/Brahman crossing, the Braford herd at Heelbo took almost
3 decades of selecting animals for die right reasons. A well adapted, highly fertile, polled animal that resembled the Braford in different parts of the world, are being marketed today as the S.A. Braford.

Heelbo is proud to be associated with this pioneer breed – THE S.A. BRAFORD


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