The Bonsmara breed is unique in the world because it was developed through an intensive systematic process by the world-acclaimed scientist from the University of South Africa, Professor Jan Bonsma. Professor Jan Bonsma, the father of the Bonsmara breed has contributed so much to cattle breeding, the outcome of this scientific experiment is a breed of cattle that incorporates the Afrikaner, crossed with a European breed of Hereford, Shorthorn, called Bonsmara from professor Bonsma and the research station Mara. Any cattle breed can survive and produce under ideal conditions, it is when drought strikes that fertility and growth is influenced putting the animal under pressure. The Bonsmara was bred for meat quality and to excel in harsh African conditions, such as the dry climate, parasite-related illnesses and diseases.
Professor Jan Bonsma
G. R. Chapman of Amarillo, Texas has pioneered the importation of the Bonsmara breed of cattle into North America. Mr. Chapman imported embryo recipients that calved January-March, 1997. These full-blood calves embody the total North American population. Professor Bonsma converted his unique vision into a unique breed of cattle that holds the promise of accomplishing for North America something attained by no other breed: productivity in hostile, subtropical climates while producing beef preferred by markets in North America and the Pacific Rim.
It all started in August 2001 when Mr Ingo Halberstadt sent off 39 of his oldest Bonsmara stud cows to Wagner. This afforded us, Ben and Corlia Mouton, the opportunity to acquire top breeding material at slaughter price (for the cows) and weaning price (for the calves). At that stage, we had already bought 26 commercial Bonsmara heifers and decided to venture into the field of stud farming. Financing was a problem, but Bank Windhoek assisted us with the necessary funding to purchase stud cows. In 2002 the transaction was finalised and we also purchased two stud bulls from Mr Jörg Sigwart. We managed, by trial and error, to do the first selection and approval of our stud cows in 2003 and added a total of nine new females to the stud. An additional number of twelve stud heifers were purchased at athe Bonsmara National auction in 2002. Some of the stud cows we had bought from Ingo were born in 1989. We therefore had to take quick action to replace some of the older cows. We consequently purchased an additional number of 18 stud cows and heifers from Mrs E. M. Arnold. In 2004, the annual Bonsmara breeders’ day was held at Wagner Bonsmaras for the first time. It was a huge success. We were honoured by the presence of six senior selectors to judge, select and approve our stud animals. This is especially important, since it follows that, the stricter the selection, the higher the standard that is being set.The first two bulls from our stud were sold at the Bonsmara National auction in 2005. We also started with an artificial insemination programme in the same year in an effort to acquire good breeding material from various breeders in southern Africa. A Bonsmara promotional day was held on the farm Wagner in 2006. The day was attended by approximately 120 interested people. It is especially encouraging that about 60 emerging farmers also attended the promotional day. Another feature of the promotional day was the launch of a bull breeding project for emerging farmers. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry officiated at the launch of the project. Wagner Bonsmaras once again sold off two bulls at the national auction: the one a graded bull, and the other a Studbook Propper bull. As the youngest breeders at the auction we achieved a remarkable distinction by getting the fourth highest price at the auction (out of 13 breeders). The graded bull was sold for N$ 32 000, a new record price for Namibia. The year 2006 also saw the total sale of two of the most established Bonsmara breeders’ stud animals. Wagner Bonsmaras bought the “top 20” female animals of both studs in view of the scarcity of good genetic material. We are convinced that the addition of the aforementioned breeding material will make a significant contribution to the total improvement of the quality of livestock in Namibia.Wagner Bonsmaras had evolved from its humble beginnings in 2002 to an extremely competitive Bonsmara stud that is currently able to provide first class genetic material to farmers in Namibia. We approach each day fully conscious of our dependence on our Heavenly Father. It is by His grace that we are able, in our lives, to give full meaning to the maxim “today’s success is tomorrow’s benchmark.”
The following persons deserve special mention:
“Grandpa” Corrie Mouton for his knowledge and wisdom.
Ingo Halberstadt for giving us the opportunity to build on and realise his ideals.
Kiep Lepen, Willie Grobler and other experts who are always ready to assist us with advice.
All our farm workers who have taken ownership (of this venture) and are taking care of everything.
North-west Phosphate for offering technical advice on the feeding programmes of the stud.
Ben, Corlia, Juliandri, Herman and Corné Mouton