Hurwitz Studs consists of a Boran Stud, registered with the Boran Society of South Africa. Over 3500 head of cattle exist today on the farms in Mpumalanga, the base of which was originally established in 1993 by the late Dr Barney Hurwitz. Also run as an intensive Stud herd are Droughtmaster cattle, registered with the Droughtmasters Society of South Africa. The largest concentration of the cattle department is the Boran herd which incorporates our commercial herd by way of recipients for embryo flushing programs and transfers.
Hurwitz Boran Cattle
One of the pioneers of the Boran breed in South Africa, Hurwitz Farming has been associated with this breed of cattle for almost 30 years. The herd was originally established in 1993 with the importation of embryos from the rare Mafundzalo herd in Zambia, and has developed into the largest registered herd of Boran cattle in the world.
The Boran herd provides the backbone of the entire organization and pivots around the annual auctions, which usually take place on the first weekend of August and the second week of October. Cattle are also sold throughout the year to both the stud and commercial markets. Hurwitz Farming will pay a premium price for the progeny of Boran bulls bought from us and these calves are then fed in our feedlot beef division.
Hurwitz Farming is proud of its association with the breed and prides itself on its genetic diversity within the herd, its strength in quantity with the overriding objective placed on quality, where only the very best cattle survive the stringent selection criteria and eventually make the grade to breeding stock, backed by DNA verification.
Boran’s ability to generate maximum hybrid vigor (heterosis) when crossed with other breeds is unmatched in today’s beef industry.
The result is the best of both worlds:
Enhanced performance and profit potential.
Mating Boran bulls with European or English breed cows is fast becoming one of the most popular crossbreeding practices in S.A. The resulting Boran F-1 calf is in high demand by cattlemen for replacement females or feeders in the feedlot.
Years of crossbreeding research have consistently shown that farmers get higher levels of heterosis when crossing a Boran with a British or Continental breed, compared to breeding British or Continental breeds to each other.
Because of this, Boran cattle are often referred to as, “Crossbreeding’s Common Denominator.”
Perhaps the Boran breed’s greatest trademark is its ability to adapt and thrive in any given environment.
Structurally, Boran have dark skin pigmentation that filters the sun’s intense rays and keeps the breed free of cancer eye. Boran are also known for their ability to use and maximize lower-quality feed, travel longer distances for feed and water, and resist insects and external parasites — all while withstanding vast climactic differences.
Boran females have proven that environment does not limit their ability to reproduce. Even in stressful conditions, they adapt and make the best of what’s available.
Because of these benefits, it’s easy to see why Boran are highly sought after for crossbreeding. They complement in areas where no other breed can compete.
The Boran’s skin is genetically equipped to withstand temperature extremes, which makes them more heat tolerant than any other breed.
How? The Boran’s short, thick, glossy hair coat reflects much of the sun’s rays, allowing them to graze in midday sun. Also an abundance of loose skin, characteristic of the breed, increases the body surface area exposed to cooling. Another special feature is the Boran’s ability to sweat freely, which contributes greatly to their heat tolerance.
What about in cooler climates? Borans grow a protective covering of long, coarse hair beneath which a dense, downy, fur-like undercoat can be found. In colder weather skin is contracted, increasing the hide thickness and hair density, which aids in retaining body heat.
Gain Efficiency & Carcass Quality
The Boran breed performs well beyond the pasture and into the feedlot.
Hybrid calves and those out of Boran F-1 cows are known for fast gains. Research has shown Boran-influenced calves have the potential to consistently produce more weight per day of age than most other breed contemporaries.
Boran-cross calves are also more desirable to feed in many parts of the country during hot and humid months, when the feed efficiency of European and British calves and crosses decreases.
Their ability to finish strong is a definite economic advantage. While efficiency is an important quality of the Boran and its crosses, carcasses are also known for their high cutability, which results in a high-yielding carcass with limited fat.
Hurwitz Droughtmaster Cattle
Although not yet recognised and registered as a breed in South Africa, their Droughtmaster herd is registered with the Droughtmasters Society of South Africa which is placed under the registration of the Namibian Stud Breeders Association.
The Hurwitz Droughtmaster stud was originally formed on the best available genetics from the Considerata Droughtmaster herd with a view of continuous improvements by way of embryo flushing and transfers of the best genetic material available. The herd comprises a well-balanced mixture of both Australian and African Droughtmaster genetics.
Although an emerging herd, the Droughtmaster stud has the ability to satisfy the growing market trends and requirements amongst cattle farmers in South Africa with the same level of quality pedigreed breeding stock as has become the trend at Hurwitz Farming. Our cattle run under tough conditions, where summer is short and hot, winter is long and harsh, grazing is sour and pampering of cattle is non-existent. The cattle also run under both “red water” and “gall sickness” conditions, making our cattle hardy, tough, and suitable for almost all farming conditions within South Africa. They will therefore have the added advantage of being able to adapt easier and more efficiently than most other cattle farmed in other areas of the country. Cattle farmed in the harsh sour veld conditions of the Mpumalanga Highveld adapt anywhere in South Africa and thrive in their new environments.
Hurwitz Commercial Cattle
The commercial cattle at Hurwitz Farming have a dual purpose. They are used primarily as embryo recipients in the further enhancement of our stud farming and secondly, they provide for replacement heifers and weaner calves for the feedlot.
The commercial herd comprises mixed, large framed cattle mainly simmentaler, simbra, and brahman cross type animals. Ever more though, the increased influence of Boran cross animals can be found in our commercial herds.
Their cattle run under tough conditions, where summer is short and hot, winter is long and harsh, grazing is sour and pampering of cattle is non-existent. The cattle also run under both “red water” and “gall sickness” conditions, making their cattle hardy, tough, and suitable for almost all farming conditions within South Africa. They will therefore have the added advantage of being able to adapt easier than most other cattle coming from other areas.